Chase Chokes Off Enrollment In Debit Rewards

After February 8th, Chase isn’t letting any more people into the debit rewards program. Citing shrinking margins due to recent legislation, Chase is closing off all new enrollment.

The program, free and open to anyone with a checking account lets you get 1 point for every five dollars you spend. You can also pay a $25 annual fee to earn 4 points per $5 spent. The points can be spent on merchandise, gift cards, travel, dining, hotels and other crap.

The program will still continue for current members, they’re just not letting anyone new in.

The question is, now that Chase has made their move, will Bank of America, Citi and Wells Fargo follow? As of now, they say they haven’t decided yet.

Chase Closing off Enrollment in Debit Rewards [ABC News via]


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  1. skwigger says:

    If a company wants to continue making money, they’ll figure out a way to do it.

    Good thing all that legislation was passed to protect us.

    • JJ! says:

      Best axe it all so they can take the money and run.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Yes, because debit rewards are a vital aspect of having and maintaing a bank account and have accces to your money, fair access to credit, and not being gouged by fees.

      Damn those lawmakers for taking our rewards points away! I NEEDED THOSE! How else do I pay rent. Why did they spell out in the law that my rewards would be taken away. WHY?!

      • Cosmo_Kramer says:

        As someone who was never gouged by those fees because I’m not an idiot, I think it sucks that the government passed a law that prevents banks from using stupid people to subsidize my checking account.

    • Chaosium says:

      “Good thing all that legislation was passed to protect us.”

      Go fly a kite. Your “truly free market” belongs in the grave with communism as a dangerous fantasy for manchildren.

      • tjustman says:

        Yeah, other than bringing mankind the greatest living standard in the world, what good is the free market system? Never before in the history of the world have poor people been FAT, but, hey, that STUPID free market system, that provides me the meds I obviously so desperately need, is nothing but BAD BAD BAD. This I write while using the Internet, something that could never, EVER have been developed by a planned economy.

        • ARP says:

          1) US economy has rarely ever been truly free. The times it was closest to free was during the times the worst economic times for the most people: industrial revolution, stock market crash, Bush, etc.

          2) Bad example- Internet invented by Government, not free market (CERN invented www and was public/Private). How many major technology and medical discoveries happen in PUBLIC universities.

        • Unclaoshi says:

          Most of the modern technological advancements like the internet usually come from the government and from technology being developed for the military that is adapted for civilian use

          • tjustman says:

            So the government has created the Internet as you experience it?
            Shoot I’ll spot you the Internet. Let’s assume it’s 100% government developed, planned, designed, grown, etc.
            What about plasma TVs and medicines? Diet coke and iPods? As one commenter pointed out that the economy is not “free,” sure government has a key role. Without government we would have a lot of negative impact from firms pursuing their own interests. Copyright laws, patent laws are key. Uniform standards are key – imagine manufacturers making equipment with their own size of nuts/bolts so you had to buy “their” tools? (Of course ANSI could have a role in that and they’re private and non-profit.) So of course this economy isn’t 100% free. The art is getting regulation just right, and knowing that it always has consequences. Ask the booming loan shark industry – more knee caps will be broken because of government interference. Better have the devil that is seen (and can be sued/embarrassed/arrested) than unseen.

        • Chaosium says:

          I’m a Capitalist with a capital c.

          I’m not a childish free-marketeer that believes private industry can do no wrong.

    • Chaosium says:

      I mean, you do realize that they’re punishing you not because they HAVE to, but because it makes you bitter towards all consumer protection legislation? Or are you that blind?

  2. lain1k says:

    Always thought it was kind of a dumb program. I guess it’s nice for people who can’t get a credit card (bad credit or know they couldn’t control their spending) to have a little extra.

    • therealchriss says:

      I rack up a (literal) ton of rewards points due to how I use my debit card. It’s great! I then funnel the rewards points back into my account as cash.

      • nbs2 says:

        Do you get better rewards with your debit card than you would with a CC? I ask because I am enrolled with the rewards program on my USAA debit card, but I’ve never actually earned a reward – I get better on my various CCs.

      • edman007 says:

        Why not just use their credit card? Same rewards program except no yearly fee, that’s the only reason I didn’t sign up.

  3. unsmith says:

    $25 for an annual feel seems like a pretty good deal, if you’re the lonely type.

  4. Mcshonky says:

    How convenient, just when they’re forcing people to use their debit cards 5 times in a month to avoid a monthly fee on their checking account.


    Me thinks not.

    • MFfan310 says:

      The 5 debit card transactions/month policy for Chase checking has been in effect since mid-2008, which also happened to be shortly before Chase bought WaMu.

    • jeffbone says:

      Chase won’t be forcing me to make 5 debit transactions per month, since I just closed my account with them as of last week in response to their recent fee hikes.

      My Chase credit card is next, as soon as the statement cycles and I’m sure they’ve correctly credited my final payment. I’ll take a minor hit on my credit score (assuming there is one) just to be rid of these idiots once and for all.

  5. Chaosium says:

    “Citing shrinking margins due to recent legislation”

    Hahaha, can’t follow usurious credit card policies? SCREW THE CUSTOMER!

    • Plasmafox says:

      This. We need a law, that when a company is taxed or fair practices become law, the costs can’t be passed to the consumer. It’s like if I as a customer, had my taxes raised, and decided to pay less than asked on a purchase. It makes no sense.

  6. MonkeyBoy says:

    “Citing shrinking margins due to recent legislation, Chase is closing off all new enrollment.”

    Or they could just shrink exorbitant executive salaries. What am I saying? That’s just crazy talk.

    • ARP says:

      Which is why I believe is adding another income tier for the ultra wealthy is the only way to stop the greed. When left to their own devices, they simply keep more money, they don’t extend additional services, treat people right, hire more, don’t do the right thing (or even the legal thing), or pay their folks any better. I think it’s only when they realize that they have a get to keep less money after a certain income, that executive salaries will get under control. Sure they may try to pay themselves even more, but then we’d collect that much more money for schools, health care, etc. that would be impacted most. We’d have to make capital gains into regualar income after at this level or else you’d have the Buffet problem.

      PS- Historic Income tax rates were as high 90% and salaries were even capped until the 80’s.

  7. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Chase sent a notice today that my long-time free checking account will staring costing me $12/month. $#$#@!

  8. RogueWarrior65 says:

    Okay, so a couple of years ago I moved my business accounts to Chase. They couldn’t do enough for me. Here’s a couple of credit cards. Here’s a $100,000 line of credit. No fees of any kind. I canceled the line of credit last year because I wasn’t using it and they wanted $250 to keep it. Since then, they’ve lowered my credit limits and and now to get a new line of credit they want all manner of tax returns and financial statements, blood type, stool specimen, etc. Yet I’ve paid off my credit cards in full every month. All I can say is EFF YOU Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. You f*cked everything up for everyone.

  9. TasteyCat says:

    Anything preventing the use of debit cards is a good thing.

    • Groanan says:

      Because ATMs and cash is better? I understand the added privacy cash gives over using a debit card, but it comes with both an inconvenience and an ability for shopkeepers to hide their income from the government, paying less in taxes, thereby making me pay more in taxes unless I find I way to earn my income under the table as well.

      Would you be for debit cards if they posted the account balance on the physical card itself and updated instantly?

      • MFfan310 says:

        There’s always personal checks…

      • jamar0303 says:

        Remind me why they don’t instantly post already? That’s the nice thing about my Chinese debit cards compared to my American ones- instant hard-posting. Oh yeah, and whatever regulation it is that makes it so that I can take any Chinese bank’s card and check my balance at any ATM (except international ones) for free. Done and done.

  10. scoosdad says:

    They could save themselves a little cash by not mailing me four credit card offers in the same week, three weeks running, sometimes two a day. I hear I’m not the only one they’re doing that to, and I already have a Chase credit card. Oops, here comes another one. My shredder has never been busier, with those and their regular mailing of a stack of “convenience checks”. Idiots.

    • Saltillopunk says:

      I was just about to say the same thing. It has to be costing Chase something to print and send all these offers. Plus the cost they pay when some of us use the prepaid envelops to send the shredded offer back to them. Can’t someone perform a basic analysis to see if the income generated from doing this is worth it?

    • phonic says:

      My wife and I, on clock-work, get at least one “pre-approved” offer for American Express Gold cards a week. Each. Some weeks two (if they send a green/blue/etc offer as well). The crazy part is, we both have an Amex gold. Do they expect us to get another one??

      Also, my oldest card on my report is a Capital One, which I never use because there are no rewards and the CL is just $500. I keep it simply because it’s so old and don’t want to get a credit hit for canceling it. They send me offers at least once a month for another card, but refuse to bump up my current card’s CL. Which seems crazy since we have two cards with 10-14k in limits, both with great benefits, and two others with 2-5k limits. No late payments, and all but one card is paid in full every month for years.

  11. tjustman says:

    Thank Congress.

  12. filmbuffy says:

    I love the rewards. I do the $25 a year, and I usually earn anywhere between $200-300 back per year. I use my debit card all the time. To NOT use a credit card. Also, I was pissed I was now, like the other reader said, going to be charged $12 a month as well. I instead opened a business account (I work freelance) and then as long as I use the debit card 5X a month it’s free, and my checking is free. A lot of work, but worth $144 a year.

    Also, I have Bank of America who also was gonna charge me! Do the “online only” account. It’s easy, you just can’t go talk to a teller or they charge you a fee.

    Either way, I see this as the END OF FREE CHECKING!

  13. MFfan310 says:

    My bet: Chase is doing this to make sure that people can still get free checking by simply doing five debit card transactions/month in the face of a 19 cent interchange fee cap on Visa/MasterCard debit transactions.

    I’m also wondering if this decision affects Chase’s Disney Rewards Visa Debit, United Mileage Plus Visa Debit, Continental OnePass Debit MasterCard, and RealCash Debit products as well. The article only mentions the Ultimate Rewards Debit and basic free debit rewards products. The regular and Ultimate Rewards debit card programs are based on the same Ultimate Rewards program as the Chase Freedom credit cards. The rewards program should remain cheap to keep running for the debit card holders, even with only grandfathered customers.

  14. startertan says:

    They screwed me too. Now I understand that their contract says that they can change the rules of the Rewards Program at anytime. When we first joined if you saved $200 worth of Rewards you could get a check for $250. We did this twice and then I called for the 3rd time and they said they don’t do that anymore.

  15. chaelyc says:

    And this was after forcefully cancelling the card that had the FREE rewards points (1 pt for every $1 spent) without giving customers an option to keep the old card…