Checking accounts aren’t what they used to be. You might remember a time where you earned enough interest to make some bank products worth a second look. Today, if you want to make money off your money, you have to take it somewhere else.
If you’re somebody who holds a balance higher than most, banks will compete for your business. Each of the large multinational banks and many of the regionals have accounts designed for customers who keep larger balances than most other customers. Premier Platinum is the higher of JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) two premium accounts (Premier Plus is the lower level – see Top Premium Checking Accounts of 2015).
The Premium Platinum account is Chase’s top-tier checking account. Of course, you get all of the services offered to all checking account holders including access to 18,000 Chase ATMs and 5,500 branch locations, online and mobile banking, and a debit card with EMV chip technology – a standard feature on nearly all new-issue cards in the banking industry.
Premium Platinum customers get added features not offered to regular checking account customers. At non-Chase ATMs, Premium Platinum members don’t pay the Chase ATM fee. However, they do have to pay the fee charged by the ATM owner.
The account also pays interest, but in the current low interest rate environment, it’s not much of a feature. At 0.01%, account holders will earn only $5 per year if they maintain a $50,000 average daily balance.
The perks lie in the fee-free services the bank offers. Ordering checks is free; there is no fee for cashier’s checks, traveler’s checks or money orders; and there's no fee for overdraft protection transfers the first four times. Stop payments are free – as are incoming wire transfers and covering insufficient funds. In addition, account holders receive priority 24/7 customer service.
Maybe you want to set up separate checking or savings accounts to better manage funds. You can link nine additional Premium Platinum accounts to your main account at no charge.
The account requires an initial deposit of $100. To avoid the monthly $25 service charge ($35 in Conn., N.J. and N.Y.), you have to hold an average daily balance of $75,000 or more in “qualifying linked deposits and/or investments." These include balances in any of the nine linked accounts, Chase savings accounts, certain CDs, money market accounts and Chase liquid cards (Chase's prepaid card).
Investment accounts include certain retirement plan investment balances, JPMorgan Funds accounts, annuity products made through Chase Insurance Agency and personal trust accounts. Other accounts may be eligible as well.
Is it Worth It?
Because of regulation and the low interest rate environment, the perks that banks offer their higher balance customers aren’t very impressive, but that’s true of premium accounts at most banks. Every bank offers its premium customers a paltry interest rate with a series of free services and dedicated customer service.
One notable exception might be Citibank. The bank offers a rewards points program with its high-end deposit account called Citigold.
The Bottom Line
These premium accounts aren’t Chase’s very highest tier. Like many major banks, there are some exclusive products designed for ultra high net worth customers offered through the company’s investment division.
Don’t think of a premium accounts as something reserved for the wealthy. Premium accounts are a level of service available to anybody who will pay the monthly fee if they don’t reach the minimum balance requirements. For more, see Is A Premium Checking Account Worth It?