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Updated on Monday, February 11, 2019
The Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card is backed by the strength of the largest banks in the United States. Although known for its credit cards and high-level banking operations, Chase also offers a competitive product in the prepaid card space. Perhaps surprisingly for those familiar with the workings of larger banks, the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card is relatively fee-free.
Like all prepaid cards, the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card is neither a checking account nor a credit card. However, it does provide banking services that overlap these more commonly used financial instruments. For example, with the Chase Liquid® Prepaid card, you can make purchases, similar to a credit card, and you can access cash at ATMs, just like you could with a checking account or debit card.
While overall the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card doesn’t nickel-and-dime customers with a boatload of fees, there are costs to using the card, and they can add up over time. Each individual cardholder will have to determine if the features and benefits offered by the card outweigh the costs.
Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card features
Pay bills online. You can use Chase Online Bill Pay at merchant sites that accept Visa debit cards.
No cash withdrawal fees at Chase ATMs and branches. You’ll never pay an ATM withdrawal fee if you stick with Chase ATMs; a nice added perk is that you can also withdraw money out of a Chase branch, free-of-charge.
No fees to reload. Unlike many other prepaid debit cards, Chase doesn’t charge you to reload the card, no matter how you choose to do it.
Spend or shop anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. You can use the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card to make purchases anywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted, including online retailers.
Zero liability protection. Assuming you notify Chase promptly, you won’t have to worry about being responsible for any unauthorized charges on your Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card.
Starbucks-affiliated card available. If you so desire, you can open the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card instead, which offers you Starbucks Rewards Stars everywhere you shop.
Free Chase Mobile® app. Access your Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card account 24/7, just as if you had a traditional bank account.
Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card fees and fine print
The Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card has a monthly service fee, but beyond that, there aren’t a lot of annoying per-transaction costs. Most of the additional fees attached to the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card are for less-common scenarios, like if you need to request a replacement card.
|Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card Fees|
|Card purchase fee||$0|
|Monthly fee||$4.95 per month||Fee waived if linked to a qualifying Chase checking account.|
|Online bill pay||$0|
|Bill pay using your 16-digit card number||$0||Individual merchants may assess their own fees.|
|Chase QuickPay with Zelle||$0||This service allows you to send or receive money using an email or mobile phone number.|
|Money order||$5||Up to $1,000|
|Cashier’s check||$8||No restriction on amount|
|Withdrawals from Chase ATMs or Chase branches||$0|
|Non-Chase ATM withdrawals||$2.50||Individual ATM operators may charge their own additional fees.|
|Non-Chase branch withdrawals||$0||Individual banks may assess their own fees.|
|Non-Chase ATM balance inquiry||$2.50||Additional ATM owner fees may apply.|
|International ATM cash withdrawal or balance inquiry||$2.50||Additional ATM owner fees may apply.|
|Foreign exchange rate adjustment||3%|
|Chase telephone banking customer service||$0|
|Card replacement -- rush request||$5||Avoid this fee by requesting standard delivery.|
|Non-Chase ATM transfer||$2.50||Additional ATM owner fees may apply.|
|Return of deposit item or cashed check||$12|
|Legal processing||$75 per order||For the processing of any garnishment, tax levy or other court order|
|Wire transfers (incoming and outgoing)||N/A|
|Using your account number to pay third parties||N/A||For this type of transaction, use your card number, not your account number.|
Unless you have an attached, qualifying Chase checking account, you’ll pay $59.40 per year in monthly fees. However, this fee includes all of your purchase transactions and cash reloads, in addition to cash withdrawals at Chase ATMs and Chase branches.
The only additional fee that most cardholders might commonly face is the non-Chase ATM withdrawal fee of $2.50, on top of any operator surcharges. International travelers might also get dinged by the 3% foreign transaction surcharge.
In the prepaid card world, a $4.95 monthly fee is somewhat in the middle of the road. Some prepaid cards charge monthly fees in the $10 range, while others have no monthly fees at all. However, the fact that the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card’s $4.95 monthly fee includes so many services, from Chase ATM withdrawals to purchase transactions and cash reloads, makes that fee seem low by comparison.
If you follow the pattern of most prepaid card users, you’re not likely to face many additional fees.
Using the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card app
The Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card uses the same Chase Mobile® app that the bank offers to all of its customers. The Chase Mobile® app allows you to access your account 24/7 from your mobile device. You can use the app to view your transactions, deposit checks, pay bills, and receive customized email or text alerts. You can also pay others from the app using Chase QuickPay® with Zelle®.
Other features available on the app include the following:
- Transfer money between Chase accounts or other eligible banks
- Get rewards information
- Set up Account Alerts
- Confirm deposits and see check images
- Find nearby branches or ATMs
- Find Chase contact numbers
You can get the app for Android devices using Google Play, or via the App Store for Apple devices. You can also text the word “mobile” to 24273 to receive a link to the app. You’ll need a Chase Online username and password to sign in to the app; you’ll also need a username and password to access the Chase website, so it’s worth doing even if you don’t want to use the mobile app.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll need to register your device to use it.
Opening a Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card account
You can open a Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card account online.
To start the process, you’ll need your Social Security number and driver’s license or state ID. If you’re already a Chase customer, the bank can pull up your personal and financial information automatically to expedite the process. If not, you’ll need to provide your name, address, date of birth and/or more for identification purposes. You’ll also need to provide your email address and phone number.
Once your identity is verified, you can set up your account preferences and then begin using your card.
One thing to note is that unlike most prepaid cards, Chase reserves the right to run a credit check when you apply for the card. Although it appears that in most cases applications are simply checked for identification purposes, Chase may collect your credit information.
How to reload your Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card
You can load your Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card in one of four ways:
- Via direct deposit
- Via deposits at a Chase ATM or Chase branch
- Using Chase QuickDeposit on the mobile app
- Via checking or savings account transfers
Unlike many other prepaid cards, you can’t use a convenience store or Netspend reload location to put money on your card. However, Chase also doesn’t charge any fees to reload the card, so for those who are near a Chase location, use the mobile app, have an existing checking or savings account or receive payments via direct deposit, this limitation might not be that much of an inconvenience.
Note that cash reloads are limited to $4,000 per month. Purchases carry a $3,000 daily limit, while daily ATM transactions are restricted to $500. You can apply to have the ATM and purchase limitations raised, subject to approval from Chase.
Who could benefit from the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card?
Existing customers of Chase can benefit from using the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card, primarily because most of the functions of the card are built around Chase banking products.
ATM withdrawals, for example, are free at Chase ATMs, but cost $2.50 at non-Chase ATMs. Similarly, if you want to reload your card but don’t have direct deposit, your options are limited to Chase ATMs, Chase branches, or transfers from existing checking or savings accounts. More traditional prepaid card reload outlets, such as certain convenience stores, are not an option.
This isn’t an inconvenience for existing Chase customers, but the irony is that prepaid cards are generally used by those that can’t qualify for traditional checking or credit card accounts. If you’ve already got a Chase checking, savings or credit card account, there may not be much more that the Liquid® Prepaid Card can do for you.
Overall, the surprisingly low overall fee structure of the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card — once you look past the $4.95 monthly fee — makes it an attractive card from a cost perspective for most potential customers. The fact that Chase doesn’t tack on additional fees for everyday purchases and cash withdrawals from Chase branches or ATMs is a big plus.
If you already qualify for traditional Chase banking products, the Chase Liquid® Prepaid Card might not offer enough additional benefits to offset the monthly fee. However, for traditional prepaid card users, the card offers a lot of features for one moderate monthly fee.