When I opened my first checking account, I thought it was about the coolest thing ever. In return for opening a totally free account, I received a giant book of checks and a sweet signup bonus: my very own George Foreman Grill. Now, not only could I use the power of my pen to make a purchase — but I could cut the fat and seal in the flavor.
Nowadays, most checking accounts are dripping with fees, not flavor. In today’s digital world, though, it’s hard to escape the need for a checking account, whether for mandatory direct deposits or just the little plastic debit card that makes online purchasing possible.
For those who want to skip the account but keep the plastic, there is the Chase Liquid Card. A reloadable, prepaid debit card, Chase Liquid is one of the most affordable ways to pay with plastic without having the hassle of a checking account.
The Chase Liquid Prepaid Card: 4.0/5.0 Rating
One of the first things most people ask about a reloadable card is likely one of the most important things to you, too: the fees. Well, unlike some other prepaid cards on the market, the Chase Liquid doesn’t charge any fees to open, load, buy, or reload your card.
In fact, other than a non-Chase ATM fee and the standard gambit of special service fees — for things like money orders and currency exchanges — the Chase Liquid is just about fee-less. Your Liquid Card will only cost you a flat monthly rate of $4.95.
The card will even come with a variety of benefits typical of many checking accounts, including online bill pay and a mobile banking application. Your Chase Liquid card is accepted anywhere Visa Debit is accepted, and you can access your funds, for free, from any of the more than 15,000 Chase ATMs around the country.
Your card can be loaded at any Chase branch, through a Chase DepositFriendly℠ ATM, via a fund transfer from an eligible account, or through direct deposit. Cash and direct deposits are available the same day, with checks taking at least one business day to process.
If the Chase Liquid Card can be said to have any particular drawback, it’s likely the limited availability. To open a Liquid Card, you must head into a local Chase Bank location — which is fine, unless you live in one of the 24 states without a Chase branch. You can use the location finder on Chase’s website to see if there is a branch near you.
When you do head in to open your card, be sure to take two forms of identification, including a valid photo ID. Your card can be opened with as little as $25, and you’ll be able to walk out of the bank with a fully activated card.
Top 5 Prepaid Card Alternatives
For those who don’t live near a Chase branch and are interested in a prepaid or reloadable card, don’t worry — tons of great options are out there. Start your search by checking out our top five picks for prepaid cards.
Chase Bank No Longer Offers Gift Cards
Our modern reliance on the power of plastic for our purchases is particularly pervasive; it’s hard to escape the necessity of a debit or credit card. Not only do we use them to buy just about everything we need (and don’t need) in our day-to-day lives, but they’ve also started to supplant the gift — in the form of the gift card. No longer must we tirelessly shop for just the right present; instead, we buy just the right gift card.
For some, purchasing a bank-branded gift card that acts like a debit card is the ultimate universal gift — and those who receive them tend to agree (especially if they’re teenagers). Unfortunately, if you have your sights set on a Chase gift card, you’re going to be disappointed, as Chase Bank no longer produces branded gift cards.
Instead, you can head into nearly any grocery or convenience store to pick up one of the many other issuer- or bank-branded gift cards sure to please your paramour. Or, consider something more from the heart — such as a versatile, powerful, “Lean, Mean, Grilling Machine” — because small appliances are the gifts that keep on giving.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.