JPMorgan Chase is the largest and most powerful bank in America, holding nearly $3 trillion in assets. Its unlikely competitor, U.S. Bancorp, takes seventh place. But bigger doesn’t always mean better when it comes to where you’re looking to open an account. Both U.S. Bank and Chase Bank offer a long list of perks and benefits, but it’s important to find out which one best suits your needs. Here, we uncover the pros and cons of banking at giant Chase versus with consumer-oriented U.S. Bank.
What to Know about U.S. Bank
JPMorgan Chase may be bigger, but U.S. Bank may just outrank it in many ways. U.S. Bancorp, better known as U.S. Bank, has the breadth of options that you can’t quite find many other places. Firstly, U.S. Bank has physical locations in 28 states, and you can gain access to all of your funds through the company’s banking app and website or with a standard ATM.
If you’re in the market for options, U.S. Bank has you covered: the bank staggers its checking accounts by benefits and inclusions on a metric of silver, gold, platinum and premium, each of which have an opening minimum deposit of $25. Furthermore, U.S. Bank does not disappoint on the national scale when it comes to its specialty options for people 65 and older and full-time students. However, for the rest of the general public, the ease and accessibility of an account with U.S. Bank might not quite outweigh the bank’s biggest shortcoming: its essentially unwaivable monthly account fees.
If you’re looking to get your finances organized and want to keep all your assets in one spot, U.S. Bank is a great option.
What to Know About Chase Bank
Chase has a reputation for doing things bigger and better than most banks out there, and as the number one bank in the nation, it’s not hard to see why. But for all its resources, its interest rates remain generally unimpressive across the board. Chase Bank offers two basic savings accounts, the Chase Savings and Chase Premier Savings accounts. The Chase Savings account is the more standard of the two, without any extra perks. It also earns at the lowest annual percentage yield (APY), regardless of your account balance.
You can easily waive the monthly account fee attached to several of the account options by either maintaining a minimum daily balance of $300, having at least one repeating automatic transfer of $25 or more from your personal Chase checking account, having an account owner younger than 18 years old or linking the account to a Chase Premier Plus Checking, Chase Premier Platinum Checking or Chase Private Client Checking account.
U.S. Bank vs. Chase Bank: Bank Accounts
When considering the U.S. Bank vs. Chase Bank comparison, both offer full-fledged checking and savings accounts, with generally similar advantages and drawbacks. But they also have a few key differences. U.S. Bank, to start, is full of pros and cons—for every way in which it provides ease and support to its customers, it creates unique obstacles. U.S. offers an impressive array of free checking and savings account options for students and retirees, as well as more discrete categories. The bank also offers free money market accounts (MMA) for those who create a premium checking account.
Chase Bank does it a little differently. Once you cover its minimum opening deposit of $25—for any of its account offerings—you can open a checking account for free. Many Chase checking and savings accounts have monthly fees—anywhere from $5 to $12 or more—but these are proven to be more easily waivable than the fees attached to U.S. Bank accounts. Although Chase admittedly has fewer choices for checking and savings accounts, especially compared to U.S. Bank, it still provides a better value given its substantial leg up in other areas. If you’re in the market for a hefty rewards program, Chase delivers on that front. While both banks allow you to manage your account details online, Chase’s web interface and mobile app have accrued better ratings across the board.
U.S. Bank vs. Chase Bank: Fees
In the U.S. Bank vs. Chase Bank match-up, have room for improvement when it comes to finding ways around their mounting fees. With U.S. Bank, you’ll have to work around a high interest rate on your deposits—especially at the start—and also find a way to pay for the additional monthly charges for overdrafts and wire transfers. All this is to say that U.S. Bank puts you through your paces if you’re trying to save small amounts here and there. Even if you decide to opt out of most of the benefits to save on cash at the onset, this may not save you all that much down the line. In order to qualify for a U.S. Bank free checking program, you must meet a relatively steep minimum balance requirement and maintain it for the future. If this doesn’t sound attainable for you, you may decide to bank with Chase.
Chase, on the other hand, will grant you access to an expansive network of ATMs and branches around the globe, but nearly all of its specialty accounts incur fees. These fees can come in the form of anything from monthly maintenance fees to overdraft fees—$34 per item if the account stays overdrawn for more than a few days. Other fees include wire transfer fees and $2.50 ATM fees for using a generic American ATM. Foreign ATMs will cost you $5 to withdraw and $2.5o for balance inquiry and money transferring.
For its long list of potential fees, the base monthly Chase saving account fee is only $5, just $1 more than that of U.S. Bank. Also, Chase waives your savings fees if the account is tied to a Premier Plus or Platinum checking account, if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $300, or if you have an automatic transfer of at least $25 into the savings account each month. And for teens under 18 with a Chase savings account, there’s no monthly fee whatsoever. Total Checking accounts have a reduced fee for students. Everyone else can waive those fees with a daily balance of $1,500 or more.
U.S. Bank vs. Chase Bank: Rates
In the debate of U.S. Bank vs. Chase Bank, U.S. Bank has decent CD rates and money market accounts. But given U.S. Bank’s need to support its extensive network of brick-and-mortar branches, its baseline rates don’t quite compare to the much higher rates of banks who operate mostly online and on mobile apps. Unless it’s of vital importance for you to work with a bank that has a strong physical presence and a branch near you, banking online or with a fully digital credit union is very likely your best bet, at least as far as rates are concerned.
The same can be said for Chase. Because it must foot the bill to operate over five thousand domestic branches, rates are equally unimpressive. The most respectable CD rates, as always, are online. Even so, Chase’s minimum deposit to open a CD is $1,000, which is lower than that of its closest competitors.
That said, Chase’s CD rates are far from the best you could find. Its close competitors—including U.S. Bank—offer better APY rates, especially for one-year CDs. If you do decide to forge a business relationship with Chase, its “relationship rates” program boasts a heightened APY. These “relationship rates” are offered to customers who link their CDs to one of Chase’s many personalized banking accounts.
While everyone’s financial needs differ, Chase emerges as the clear winner for the vast majority of potential customers. The hefty bonuses that Chase offers new checking and savings customers—just for signing up—are much higher than any bonuses offered for any reason at U.S. Bank. Chase also provides just a few more ways to waive its many account fees, which, if you’re on top of your account management, could save you thousands in the long-term.
Tips for Finding the Right Bank
- First things first, ensure that you can trust the bank completely. You’ll want to be able to rely on consistent customer service, and, more importantly, make sure your bank is insured by the FDIC.
- If you’re not in great shape to be shelling out monthly cash for a variety of fees, you may want to consider a free checking account. But nothing’s totally free; these accounts can still drain your finances through overdraft fees or foreign ATM transactions.
- Finding the perfect bank only goes so far if your holistic financial strategy isn’t in order. Working with a financial advisor can prepare you for retirement as well as kickstart a plan to achieve your personal financial goals. A matching tool like SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor can help you find the perfect advisor for your precise location and finances.
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