J.P. Morgan Chase has jumped into the prepaid card business with a product that has few fees and offers access to Chase’s branch and ATM network. The card, called ‘Chase Liquid,’ will be test marketed in 200 branches to start and then offered in all chase branches later this year.
Mainstream lenders like Chase have been expected to get into the prepaid market as new regulations cut into banks’ traditional fee income from credit- and debit-card customers. At the same time, regulators are eyeing the products for fee disclosures, which some consumer advocates have complained are rife with high and hidden costs for customers.
On that front, Chase appears to be ahead of many of its competitors. Its new Chase Liquid card carries a monthly maintenance fee of $4.95 and doesn’t charge customers for loading money to the prepaid account, withdrawing cash from Chase ATMs and tellers, receiving paper statements and other services that competing products often charge for.
Chase currently plans to sell the cards through its branches, which means that it will need to persuade customers who may have given up on banks to come back. That said, Chase’s willingness to use its existing infrastructure to provide a large, free reload network should help its product compete against other offers in the market.
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