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Updated: 27 Jan 2022

JP Morgan Chase launches new UK bank account - is it any good?

It offers unlimited cashback on spending and 5% AER interest on the change you save

JP Morgan Chase has launched a new app-only UK bank account called Chase.

Chase is the largest consumer bank in the United States, but this is the first time it's branched out into the UK banking market.

The current account is fee-free, and offers cashback rewards on debit card spending - but is it worth switching for?

Here, Which? reveals what a current account with Chase has to offer.

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What does a Chase bank account offer?

The challenger bank account market is a competitive place - but Chase does have several competitive features.

1% debit card cashback for 12 months

Virtually everything you spend on a Chase debit card for the first 12 months from opening the account will earn 1% cashback. This includes spending you do in person and online, at home or abroad.

There is no spending cap for this, although there are some things you won't earn cashback on. These include things such as purchases of cryptocurrencies, gambling transactions, purchases from art dealers and galleries, deposits and tax payments.

Cashback is rounded to the nearest penny, and will be credited to your rewards balance once the debit card payment has cleared. You can then transfer some or all your rewards balance to a Chase account and spend it however you like.

Chase says customers will receive the cashback rewards without needing to switch their banking provider, commit to a minimum account balance or set up direct debits.

Fee-free spending abroad

There are no fees for spending abroad on a Chase debit card, including making ATM cash withdrawals.

Numberless debit card

That long debit card number written across your debit card? Chase doesn't have it. Instead, your card details are stored in the app - which is supposed to give greater security.

If you need to access your card number, you'll need to log in to the Chase app. While this is good if you lose your debit card, or have it stolen, it may be tricky if you lose your phone, or need to access your card details when your phone isn't on you.

Interest-earning round-ups

Like many other bank accounts, you'll soon be able to use Chase's round-up feature to save money without realising it.

Purchases on your debit card will be rounded up to the nearest pound, and the difference is automatically transferred to a separate savings pot. Unlike many banks, these round-ups will earn 5% AER variable interest.

Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. You can access your round-up savings whenever you like, but after a year whatever's in the pot will be automatically transferred to your chosen Chase current account.

This means the balance of your round-ups pot won't be able to grow particularly big, and you won't receive the 5% interest on a large balance - but it's still a good way to make your spare change work harder than it usually would.

You can only hold one round-up account at any time.

Additional current accounts for budgeting

While bank accounts such as Monzo allow you to open 'pots' to split your cash, Chase lets you set up multiple current accounts to help you budget.

You could set up different accounts that are for household bills, shopping or a holiday, for instance, and as each current account has its own account number you know you can't overspend on a shopping spree, or have money set aside for bills get mixed up with your other transactions.

If you don't need an account anymore, you can transfer the balance to an account you want to keep, and then close it.

Chase says more banking products and additional current account features are set to be launched in the future, along with savings, investments and lending products.

How does a Chase current account compare?

There is currently a waiting list to sign up to Chase. If the cashback element of the account is the main appeal, it can be beaten by other accounts - depending on how much you spend.

For instance, with Barclays Blue Rewards you can earn up to £18 a month, plus 3% when you take out or renew Barclays home insurance - this would require spending of at least £1,800 a month with Chase's cashback offer. And the Barclays option doesn't have the 12-month restriction that comes with the Chase account.

However, there are a lot of caveats to earning this much with Barclays Blue Rewards - and it also costs £4 a month. You can earn £7 a month for two direct debits (£3.50 each), plus £5 a month for a Barclays mortgage, £5 a month for life insurance with critical illness cover and £1 a month for a personal loan.

Elsewhere, there's the Santander 123 account, where you can earn up to £15 cashback a month on selected household bills and Santander financial products. You can also earn up to 15% cashback when you spend on your debit card with selected retailers. While this account costs £4 a month, it also does not have the 12-month restriction that comes with the Chase account.

If you want to make money from your bank account instantly, you could consider an account that offers a switching bonus. You can currently get up to £150 for switching - we recently wrote about new incentives launched by Santander, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank. To get the equivalent of the £150 switching deal via Chase's cashback offer, you'd have to spend £15,000.

Is your money safe?

A UK-led customer support team will be part of the Chasebanking experience.

Chase is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which means up to £85,000 of your money would be eligible for compensation should the bank go bust.

If you have deposits with JP Morgan Europe Limited, these will be included in the £85,000 total.

We asked JP Morgan Chase what fraud prevention measures it has in place to protect its customers. It told us Confirmation of Payee - a security check that lets you know if are paying the right person or firm when you transfer money - will be implemented in the coming months.

It does have 24/7 fraud monitoring, instant notifications of account activity and the ability to freeze your card if you need to.

Any customers who lose their card or have it stolen can change their card details in the app, and then get immediate access to their new card details to use online while they wait for their replacement card.

We also asked about the principles it has to support victims of authorised push payment (APP) fraud and whether it would be joining the voluntary code set up to protect victims of scams. It says it is considering joining and is already operating in a way that advances the objectives of the code, committing to reimbursing APP scam victims who have taken reasonable steps and lost money through no fault of their own.

Should you switch to a Chase account?

As with most current accounts, you'll need to consider how you like to manage your account.

With Chase, you must open and manage your account through the app as it doesn't have any bank branches. It also doesn't issue cheque books.

If you regularly make debit card payments over the phone, this may prove difficult as you'll need to use your phone to log in to the app to access your debit card details.

Chase does not currently allow overdrafts, so it may not be the right fit for those who like to use one to manage their money. If you spend more than what's in your account, you'll have to pay back the remainder immediately. In most cases, the payment that exceeds what's left in your account will be declined.

You'll also have to fulfil the eligibility criteria, which states you must be over the age of 18, be a resident of the UK, have a smartphone and a UK mobile number, and be a UK tax resident.

Chase is not currently signed up to the Current Account Switch Service (CASS), but it says it plans to roll out this feature in a couple of months.

This story was updated on 23 September 2021 with extra details provided by JP Morgan Chase about what the Chase bank account will offer.