Investors and savers alike prefer money market accounts for their better-than-savings account rates of return and the ease of which the accounts can be opened, closed, and liquidated. We’ll compare the pros and cons of a money market account, and see how Chase money market accounts stand up against the rest of the money market accounts available.
Minimum account amount – Chase requires that savers open a money market account with an initial funding of at least $25, an amount significantly lower than other money market accounts. Most banks have a minimum balance of $1500.
Monthly fees – Unfortunately, the low minimum account balance for Chase’s money market accounts is affected by the monthly fees. Chase charges monthly fees of $12 for all accounts with less than $1500 in assets. However, past $1500, the money market account fees are waived entirely. So, to be truthful, those seeking to open a Chase money market account would be wise to deposit no less than $1,500 to avoid the high $12 per month, or $144 per year, in fees. The national average for no-fee accounts is just over $3,000.
ATMs – This is where Chase money market accounts shine in comparison to other money market accounts. The JP Morgan Chase network has over 16,100 ATMs around the United States, all of which are free to use by any Chase banking customer. No other bank boasts an ATM network as large as JP Morgan Chase, which means that you’ll be able to access your money no matter where you travel within the United States. In larger markets like New York or San Diego, Chase ATM fees are easily found, but rural markets may still require a few miles of travel in between each ATM.
Yields – Unfortunately, Chase money market accounts are some of the lowest yielding accounts in the business. At the time of writing, money market accounts held at Chase are met with a .01% yield, which is the legal minimum for “interest yielding accounts.”
Not for investing, savings
The JP Morgan Chase money market account is too high-fee and with too low of yields to be considered an investment. Instead, you should use Chase’s money market account only if you’re looking to access a bank which can be used anywhere around the country. For frequent travelers, or even the homebody saver, Chase’s ATM network is large enough that you won’t ever have to go too far out of your way to access your money.
Ideally, one would open a Chase account in tandem with a money market account at another bank, and use Chase’s money market account for immediate savings and spending money, where the money market account elsewhere would be used to get the highest yield.
Even with rates at record lows, online banks and credit unions without a wide ATM network are offering to their members annual yields of .50-1% per year, well above the rate of interest Chase pays on its own money market account. Consider opening an account elsewhere, but then funding a Chase account with the $1500 minimum plus some extra money for immediate spending money.
To transfer between your online money market account to your Chase money market account, you can simply write a check to yourself from the online account for deposit into Chase’s ATM service whenever you might need the cash. Be careful to mind the terms of service for Chase, which requires a $1,500 account balance to avoid $12 in monthly fees, and has a overdraft fee of more than $30. Other fees include a bank wire fee of $15 and $2 fees for the use of non-Chase ATMs.
All told, those who have enough money to meet two minimum balances—Chase’s and another bank’s minimum—should open both. Those who cannot meet minimums at two should pick one, and decide whether they want 1) more yields or 2) better access to their money. For higher yields, Chase won’t be your first pick—it might be your last! However, for ATM access, no other bank comes close in ATM access!