Chase What Matters: Higher ATM Fees and No Frequent Flier Miles

In what has got to be awkward for its marketing department, Chase has announced it will be testing a new $4 fee for users of its ATM machines in Texas and it will be cutting airline benefits such as frequent flier miles and waived baggage fees for certain debit card users.

The first bit of bad news pertains specifically to Texans as Chase is planning on raising ATM fees for non-Chase users to $4. Hair Balls remembers when a dollar, while reasonable, seemed crazy simply for the use of a machine that dispenses money, particularly given the fact that everything is automated, but we should have counted our blessings.

Four bucks can net you a couple breakfast tacos, lunch on Vietnamese sandwiches and even some groceries from the dollar store. Having to hand Chase a fistful of dollars just to use its ATM machine seems exorbitant.

Government regulations are being blamed for increased fees, which are being considered by other banks as well, but some believe this is a pre-emptive strike with potential caps on debit transaction fees via government regulation a real possibility.

Whatever the case, at least Chase customers can use their cards for free and get frequent flier miles to boot. Actually, not so much.

In a separate announcement, Chase revealed it is eliminating the frequent flier mile program for card members who have debit cards displaying the Continental and United brands. Beginning April 1, checked bags will no longer have their fees waived and July 12 is the end of the frequent flier program.

Card holders who have paid for the service will get their annual dues reduced to zero in at least one bit of good news. On July 12, those customers will receive a pro-rated amount added to their bank account.

Chase, in a letter to customers, blamed increased regulations as the reason for ending the program, and many in the banking industry believe that Chase is just the first of many to adopt similar policies.

JPMorgan Chase received $25 billion from the federal government as part of its bailout program. The banking giant paid the government back in the summer of 2009.

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke