Chase Bank review: Is it the best UK digital bank?

8 min Read Published: 23 Sep 2022

Chase Bank review - Is it the best UK digital bank?In this independent review, we take a look at how Chase Bank works, its fees and how it compares to other popular app-only banks including Starling Bank, Monzo and Revolut. We recommend that you read the review in full however you can jump to specific sections of the review using the following links:

What is Chase Bank?

Chase is a digital bank owned by US banking giant J.P. Morgan. It launched in the UK in September 2021 and offers fee-free banking via its mobile app. While relatively new to the UK, it operates more than 4,600 branches worldwide and has already amassed over 50 million active digital users in the US. Its standout features include small change round-ups that can earn 5% interest, 1% cashback on eligible spending for the first year and fee-free spending while travelling abroad.

When announcing its arrival in the UK, Chase CEO Sanoke Viswanathan said: “We’re offering people in the U.K. the opportunity to experience Chase for the first time with a current account that’s based on simplicity, a fuss-free rewards programme and exceptional customer service”.

Chase Bank key features

  • Earn cashback on spending - Earn 1% cashback on eligible spending for the first year
  • Small change round-ups - Round up your spare change to the nearest £1
  • Earn 5% interest on round-ups - Chase will pay 5% AER (4.86% Gross) on your round-up balance. Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly
  • Easy access savings account - Earn 1.5% AER (1.49% Gross) by opening a free Chase saver account. Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. No minimum opening balance
  • Open additional accounts for free - Open up to 20 additional current accounts and easily switch between them to help you budget effectively
  • Spending insights - See an overview of your spending and set budgets
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card - Easily freeze and unfreeze your card in-app if lost or stolen
  • Disable/Restrict and block payments - Restrict cash withdrawals, online spending or block specific transaction types such as gambling
  • Round-the-clock customer service - Chase customer service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Numberless debit card - Free numberless debit card for added security. Access your card details via the mobile app

Chase Bank accounts

Chase Bank currently only offers a personal current account and saver account. It does not yet offer a joint current account or business account. We explain both its current account and saver account in more detail below.

Chase Bank current account

To open a UK Chase Bank account you must first download the app via the Google Play or Apple app store. You'll need to agree that you:

  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Are a sole resident of the UK
  • Are a tax resident of the UK
  • Have access to a smartphone with a UK mobile phone number

The on-screen instructions will then guide you through the signup process. You'll need to provide your full name, date of birth and mobile phone number and you will then be asked to verify your phone number via a code sent by text. Next, you'll need to provide an email address before setting your security passcode and then you'll be asked to provide details of your citizenship as well as your home address. The final stage is verifying your identity where you will need to take a selfie and upload a photo of either your driving licence, passport or EU national identity card. The time it takes for Chase to verify an account can vary, with some users claiming it took less than 30 minutes and some saying it took a number of days.

A few days after your account has been verified you should receive your contactless Mastercard debit card in the post which can easily be added to your digital wallet and used to make contactless payments as well as chip and pin purchases. You will, however, notice that the card is numberless and while this is great for security, it can be frustrating when making online purchases. Despite this, the cards details can be accessed in the app.

As with any other UK bank, you can set up direct debits and standing orders via the app, although CHAPS payments are not currently supported. There are no limits on the amount you can pay and hold in your Chase current account, however, there is a £25,000 daily limit on how much you can move from your Chase account to any other UK bank. Cash withdrawals are limited to £500 per day and there is a £1,500 limit per calendar month if withdrawing money abroad. We explain how Chase Bank works when travelling abroad in more detail later in this article.

Chase Bank saver account

Chase UK current account holders can open a free Chase Bank saver account via the app. The account pays 1.5% interest (AER) on balances up to £250,000. Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly. There is no minimum savings requirement and users can set up regular transfers including daily, weekly or monthly deposits.

Chase Bank 1% cashback for the first year

Chase UK customers can earn 1% cashback on all eligible spending for the first year. Cashback rewards are credited after the relevant debit card payment has cleared and the rewards balance is adjusted accordingly if there are any cancellations or refunds. If you wish, you can choose to opt-out of receiving cashback rewards via the app. To spend your cashback rewards, simply transfer the rewards balance to your Chase UK current account.

Chase cashback exclusions

Chase customers are not able to earn cashback on every transaction. There are a total of 34 exclusions listed on its website and these include the following:

Account and prepaid card funding Antique shops, including repairs and restoration
Art dealers and galleries Bail and bond payments
Bank fees such as product fees, promotional merchandise, financial consultations and loan fees Boat dealers
Car and van dealers - new and used sales, services, repairs, parts and leasing Cash withdrawals
Cheques College and university fees
Cryptocurrencies Debt repayments
Deposits Gambling transactions
Government services not classified elsewhere Hospital fees
Insurance sales, underwriting and premiums Intra-government purchases
Money orders Money transfers
MoneySend transactions Motor home, camper and trailer dealers
Motorcycle shops and dealers Nursing and personal care facilities
Pawnbrokers Precious metals
Professional and financial services Real estate agent and management fees
Savings bonds Securities — stocks, bonds, commodities and mutual funds
Stamp and coin stores Tax payments
Timeshares Travellers Cheques and foreign currency

Chase Bank round-ups

Chase Bank offers a 'round-up' feature that automatically rounds up purchases to the nearest £1, placing the leftover pennies into a separate 'round-up' account. For example, with the round-up feature enabled, a £2.50 coffee purchase would be rounded up to £3.00, with 50p being moved to the round-up account. To enable the feature you'll need to open a round-up account via the Chase banking app and enable the feature once done.

Additionally, balances that are left in the round-up account will receive a 5% AER interest boost. The interest is calculated daily and is paid once a month. Chase round-up savings can be accessed at any time but to benefit from the interest you receive it would be better to leave the savings untouched. Chase will then automatically transfer the savings to your Chase current account annually.

The round-up savings are automatically transferred to the nominated Chase current account once a year, therefore the 5% interest rate is only available on round-ups for 12 months at a time. If you were hoping to benefit from the high interest rate over the long term, you may be disappointed.

How much does Chase Bank cost?

Chase Bank is free to use for all UK customers. There are no administration fees and you will not receive any service, transaction or late fees. This simple 'no-fee' setup makes Chase Bank attractive, particularly to those that may have been negatively impacted by fees and charges in the past. While it is noble to see a bank arrive in the UK with a 'no-fee' stance, it seems likely this is more to do with its streamlined offering.

With popular features such as overdrafts and joint current accounts glaringly absent, it will be interesting to see whether fees are gradually introduced if and when these vital features are added.

Is Chase Bank safe to use?

Chase Bank uses 128-bit encryption technology to securely protect important information such as your username, password, address and date of birth. While this is good to see, many banks in the UK and even budgeting apps such as Emma use a higher grade of encryption, opting for 256-bit. Additionally, Chase Bank has opted for numberless debit cards, meaning vital account information is not visible if the debit card is lost or stolen.

All deposits in a UK Chase Bank account are held by a UK establishment of J.P. Morgan Europe Limited which means they are protected up to a total of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), an independent body that provides compensation in the event that a financial firm fails.

Can I use my Chase Bank card abroad?

Chase does not charge any fees for using its card or withdrawing money abroad. Purchases made in the local currency will have the current Mastercard exchange rate applied. Always make sure that you pay in the local currency to avoid paying any additional fees that may be applied by the vendor's bank. Additionally, some local banks and independent ATMs may charge their own fees when you use one of their cash machines and so make sure you check each time you withdraw money abroad.

Chase Bank Customer Reviews

Chase Bank is rated 4.1 out of 5.0 stars by independent customer review site Trustpilot, based on over 2,500 reviews. Many of the positive reviews mention the cashback rewards as a reason for signing up and lots of reviews reveal how the round-up feature helps them to save. The small number of negative reviews seem to focus on accounts being frozen or blocked at short notice. It is worth noting that these negative reviews receive quick and detailed responses from the customer support team at Chase.

Chase Bank alternatives

In the table below, we compare Chase Bank to a number of alternative app-only banks including Starling, Monzo and Revolut. The comparison is based on the basic personal account from each of the providers.

Chase Bank vs Starling Bank vs Monzo vs Revolut

Chase Bank Starling Bank Monzo Revolut
Monthly Cost (standard account) FREE FREE FREE FREE
UK registered bank account  tick tick tick cross
Personal account tick tick tick tick
Business account  cross tick tick tick
Direct debits/Standing orders tick tick tick tick
Overdraft cross tick tick cross
Loan  cross cross tick cross
Budgeting features  tick tick tick tick
Fee-free spending abroad  tick tick tick  tick*
Fee-free cash withdrawals abroad  tick* tick tick* tick*
Cash deposits cross tick tick cross
Current account interest cross tick cross cross

*limits apply

Pros and cons of Chase Bank

Pros of Chase Bank

  • Earn 1% cashback on eligible spending for the first year
  • Earn 5% interest on round-ups
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Fee-free spending while abroad (Destination restrictions apply)

Cons of Chase Bank

  • Does not offer joint or business bank accounts
  • No overdraft facility
  • Only available to sole UK residents

Summary

Chase Bank arrived in the UK in the Autumn of 2021 with the promise of introducing "a broad range of banking products in the future, including new current account features, savings and investment accounts, and lending products". It backed up that promise by introducing its easy-access savings account in March 2022, however, many will be more interested to hear about the new products it has planned, with joint and business bank accounts likely to feature towards the top of that list.

Chase prides itself on its customer rewards, offering 1% cashback on purchases and 5% interest on round-ups. The rewards look great on the surface but dig a little deeper and customers may feel disappointed to learn that the cashback only lasts for one year. In addition, 'round-up' balances are automatically transferred to a nominated current account once a year, limiting the chance of earning 5% on a sizeable balance over time. So while you will be rewarded for banking with Chase, those rewards are limited.

It is worth remembering, however, that Chase is completely fee-free, with no hidden charges and so limiting customer rewards could be viewed as a fair trade-off. Whether Chase continues to be fee-free in the future remains to be seen, especially as it broadens into other areas of personal finance but the lack of basic features such as cash deposits and an overdraft facility will leave many either patiently waiting or opting for digital alternatives such as Starling or Monzo.