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Chase Total Checking® Review — Benefits, Features, and Costs


Chase Bank Logo

Our rating

4.5/5

Chase Total Checking®

  • Sign-up bonus: $300
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum ongoing balance: $0
  • Monthly fee: $12, but can be waived
  • ATM fees: None in-network

You can still find free checking accounts these days if you know where to look, but truly free checking accounts are in short supply at big banks like Wells Fargo and Chase.

So the fact that the Chase Total Checking® makes it relatively easy to waive its $12 monthly maintenance fee counts as a win. At least, if you also appreciate the security of banking with a global financial institution.

Though it’s not perfect, Chase Total Checking brings some other perks to the table, including a nice-sized account opening bonus and no minimum balance requirements. Size it up and see if it’s right for you.


What Is Chase Total Checking?

Chase Total Checking is an everyday checking account. It has a $12 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived when you maintain a minimum balance, receive a qualifying direct deposit, or pay a certain amount in banking fees.

Chase Total Checking comes with a Visa debit card that’s accepted at millions of locations worldwide. It has a user-friendly mobile app that supports mobile check deposit, fast person-to-person transfers, and recurring bill payments. It also waives fees on short-term overdrafts under $50, though larger and longer-term overdrafts still incur fees.

You can open a Chase Total Checking account if you’re an adult U.S. resident, except if you live in Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico.


What Sets Chase Total Checking Apart?

Chase Total Checking has a few notable features worth calling out early on:

  • Above-average account opening bonus. Chase Total Checking comes with a $300 account opening bonus that’s very easy to earn. You just need to enroll by the promotion end date and set up direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days.
  • No overdraft fees on certain transactions. Chase Total Checking comes with Chase Overdraft Assist, which waives fees on overdrafts under $50 and certain larger overdrafts where the negative balance lasts for no more than one business day.
  • Multiple ways to waive the monthly fee. Chase Total Checking’s $12 monthly maintenance fee is relatively easy to waive with a $1,500 minimum daily balance or at least $500 in monthly direct deposits.
  • Above-average mobile app. The Chase mobile app is one of the best in the business. It can do just about anything the desktop dashboard can do, plus accept mobile check deposits.

Key Features of Chase Total Checking

Chase Total Checking is a basic checking account with no minimum deposit or balance requirements, a decent but not huge ATM network, multiple overdraft protection options, and some other features worth noting.

Account Opening Bonus

Earn a $300 account opening bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account and make direct deposits totaling $500 or more within 90 days of coupon enrollment. You must open your account by April 17, 2024 to qualify.

Minimum Deposit and Balance

Chase Total Checking has no minimum opening deposit or ongoing balance requirements. Chase doesn’t close accounts for balance-related reasons unless they’re negative for an extended period of time.

Monthly Maintenance Fee & Waiver Options

Chase Total Checking has a $12 monthly maintenance fee. Chase waives this fee for at least the first two months after you open your account.


After that, Chase waives the fee in any month where you meet at least one of these waiver requirements:

  • Receive direct deposits or other qualifying electronic deposits totaling $500 or more
  • Maintain an average daily balance of $1,500 or more in your Total Checking account
  • Maintain an average daily balance of $5,000 or more in combined eligible Chase accounts, including your Total Checking account

ATM & Branch Network

Chase has about 15,000 ATMs in its fee-free network. It also has about 5,000 physical bank branches across the United States.

Importantly, Chase doesn’t reimburse out-of-network ATM fees for Total Checking customers. It’s best to avoid out-of-network ATMs with this account.

Overdraft Protection

Chase’s Overdraft Assist program waives the customary overdraft fee for overdrafts that meet either of the following criteria:

  • Totaling less than $50 at the end of the business day
  • Totaling more than $50 at the end of the first business day, but the account is brought to within $50 of a zero balance within one business day

For larger overdrafts, Chase offers two optional overdraft protection programs:

  • Overdraft Protection: Chase transfers the exact amount needed to cover the overdraft from your linked Chase savings account. If you don’t have a Chase savings account or don’t have enough in your linked savings account, this isn’t an option.
  • Debit Card Coverage: Chase allows transactions that would result in a negative balance to go through. There’s a $34 charge per item for this service (capped at three per day, or $102).

Chase Credit Journey

Chase Credit Journey is a free credit-tracking service that offers on-demand access to your FICO credit score and personalized tips on improving your credit score factors over time.

Possible Account Fees

Other potential Chase Total Checking fees include:

  • A $3 out-of-network ATM fee within the U.S.
  • A $5 international ATM fee
  • A $10 fee for a cashier’s check (bank check)
  • A 3% foreign exchange fee for international transactions
  • A fee of $0 to $50 per wire transfer, depending on the direction and destination

Mobile Features

The Chase mobile app has several useful features:

  • Rapid person-to-person transfers via Zelle, with no Chase user fees
  • Free mobile check deposit
  • Free one-time and recurring bill payments
  • Customizable account balance and transaction alerts
  • Card locking and unlocking

Advantages

Chase Total Checking’s biggest advantages include an easy-to-earn account opening bonus, no minimum balance requirements, and generous overdraft coverage for certain transactions.

  • Easy to earn the account opening bonus. Chase Total Checking is one of several Chase accounts with above-average account opening bonuses. Its bonus is especially easy to earn, requiring only that you set up direct deposit within 90 days.
  • No fees on certain overdrafts. Chase waives overdraft fees on smaller negative balances — down to minus $50. That’s not typical for a big bank and qualifies as a significant advantage.
  • No minimums. Chase Total Checking has no minimum opening deposit or balance requirements. You can live paycheck to paycheck with this account.
  • Powerful mobile app. The Chase mobile app can do basically everything your online account portal can, and in more places.
  • Monthly fee waived for at least the first two months. Chase waives the monthly fee on this account for at least two months from account opening. This gives you time to set up direct deposit or build up a balance that qualifies for a fee waiver later on.

Disadvantages

Chase Total Checking’s drawbacks include a relatively high monthly fee, high fees for overdrafts not covered by its overdraft protection plans, and no interest on balances.

  • $12 monthly maintenance fee. Though it can be waived without too much trouble, this account’s $12 monthly fee counts as a drawback all the same. 
  • High fees for larger or longer-term overdrafts. Chase charges $34 per item and up to $102 per day for overdrafts not covered by its complimentary overdraft protection plans. This is on the high side for a U.S.-based bank.
  • No interest on balances. Chase Total Checking is not a high-interest checking account. In fact, it pays no interest at all. If you’re looking to grow your day-to-day spending balance, look elsewhere.
  • Relatively small ATM network. Chase has about 15,000 ATMs in its fee-free network. That’s significantly less than competing banks that belong to bigger networks like Allpoint and MoneyPass, which have tens of thousands of machines.

How Chase Total Checking Stacks Up

Chase advertises Total Checking as an account for everyday banking needs, and it certainly holds up its end of the bargain. But it’s not the only bank account that meets this description. Before you apply, compare it against another popular option with few frills: BMO Smart Money.

Chase Total CheckingBMO Smart Money
Monthly Maintenance Fee$12, but can be waived$5, limited waiver only
Waiver OptionsDirect deposit or balance minimumsOnly if you’re under age 25
Overdraft Fee$0 for overdrafts under $50, otherwise $34 per item$0, but BMO declines most overdrafts
ATM Fee ReimbursementNoneNone
Interest on BalancesNoneNone

Final Word

Chase Total Checking® is a full-service checking account, but it’s not exactly fancy. With no interest or rewards and few benefits beyond the basics — overdraft protection and fee-free in-network ATM withdrawals, for example — it can’t stand up to more generous options.

But those options tend to have higher monthly fees and make it more difficult to waive them. By contrast, Chase Total Checking has multiple waiver options within reach of the average account holder, in particular the $500 monthly direct deposit requirement. And Chase waives the monthly maintenance fee for the first two months no matter what.

All in all, Chase Total Checking is a well-rounded bank account that’s better than many competitors. Maybe good enough to be the bank account you open next.

The Verdict

Chase Bank Logo

Our rating

4.5/5

Chase Total Checking®

Chase Total Checking® is a basic checking account with an easy-to-attain account opening bonus and a powerful mobile app. While it has no yield and lacks any real rewards for users, it does have customer-friendly features like no minimums, fee-free overdraft coverage for certain transactions, and free credit-tracking tools. Overall, it’s worth a look if you don’t need anything fancy from your bank account and can consistently get the monthly fee waived.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.