Chase Private Client (CPC) is a “premium” banking product offered to those with $250,000 or more in liquid assets on deposit with JP Morgan Chase Bank. I recently signed up for the program to see what the hype was about, and I was extremely disappointed.
In every possible category, Chase Private Client fails to offer benefits on par or greater than other banks. I’ll go into each category of ostensible benefits that CPC offers, and explain why they suck.
What’s The Point of Chase Private Client
After I signed up for Chase Private Client (which you NEED to go into a branch to do), I realized that the benefits are garbage and there is in fact not one valid reason to be a Chase Private Client. Aside from the “cool” factor of having a black CPC debit card, there’s nothing Chase offers.
The True Cost of Chase Private Client
Let’s take a step back for a moment. Currently, most online banks pay close to 2% APY on all balances. This means you’ll earn 2% compounding interest on your money every single year without doing anything. With this in mid, if you deposit $250,000 with Chase to get CPC, and you’re not collecting 2% per year, you’re losing approximately $420 per month, or $5,050 per year. Let this sink in.
You can’t say CPC is free, because if you’re not earning at least the market interest rate on a quarter of a million bucks, you’re losing money.
To make matters even worse, 2% APY barely keeps up with inflation, which has averaged ~2% for the past decade.
Chase Private Client Debit Card “Benefits”
In order to sign up for Chase Private Client, you must go into a Chase branch and sit down with a Private Banker. Not my favorite thing in the world, but I did it. Two days later, I received an envelope in the mail with my new debit card explaining the benefits.
To put it simply, every single one of these benefits are absolute garbage. Higher daily withdrawal and purchase limits are meaningless. Who buys stuff with a debit card? Moreover, the “no ATM fee” is not a benefit. All this means is that Chase won’t gouge you with their ridiculous $5 fee when you use a Non-Chase ATM. That’s absurd!
Charles Schwab offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursement. This means if you use any ATM in the world, from Hong Kong to Las Vegas, Schwab will pay you back for all ATM fees that you incur. And, Schwab doesn’t charge any Non-Schwab ATM fees, since there are technically no Schwab ATMs. This is a real debit card benefit. Simply not charging a fee that shouldn’t be charged in the first place is not a benefit, Chase! It really bothers me how much this is advertised on Chase’s website.
I’ve racked up hundreds of dollars in ATM fees on vacation before, and the only bank I’ve found to reimburse all of these fees is Charles Schwab. And guess what, you don’t have to have $250,000 on deposit with Schwab to take advantage of this actual perk. The minimum deposit requirement is a whopping $0. Also, there are no foreign currency transaction fees with a Schwab debit card.
I was stunned when my sleazebag “private banker” in an ill-fitting polyester suit tried to tell me, with a straight face, that this No Chase Bank ATM fee was actually a good deal. And when I explained how I currently have a superior deal with Schwab, he outright refused to believe me. I’m not joking. Keep in mind, this same banker who is either 1) very biased towards his employer, or 2) ill-informed about finance deals, is the same guy that’s here to offer business and investment advice by “improving cash flow, finding payment solutions, and providing financing options.” Give me a break.
Arts and Culture Card
This was one of the benefits I was most excited about. When I first got an invitation to CPC roughly one year ago (never followed up until now), the glamorous Arts and Culture Card was advertised as a tangible plastic card that granted basically free access to top museums like the American Museum of Natural History, one of the coolest museums in NYC.
I don’t necessarily love going to museums, but a cool looking card offering free museum access to the nation’s top museums was of high interest to me. Turns out, Chase recently nurfed this perk – hard.
The CPC Arts and Culture card is now only good for the state that you live in. If you live in California and want to go to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the card won’t work. This is frustrating. If anything, the card should be the opposite, as people typically visit museums when they’re exploring new destinations.
To make matters even worse, Chase stoped printing physical Arts and Culture cards sometime in 2018. For depositing and maintaining $250k, one would think Chase could afford to offer a physical card with free nationwide perks. Not the case. All you get is a digital card via email.
A very interesting aspect of the CPC package was the advertised benefits of credit cards, because I love spending money and earning points. Turns out, there are actually no benefits. I already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card (which you don’t need to be a Chase Private Client to get). Since I’m already a card holder, there were no benefits that my banker could offer when signing up for CPC. Not a dealbreaker, but c’mon.
The only credit card benefit a Chase Private client can get (assuming they don’t already have the Reserve or Preferred credit cards) is a dinky additional signup bonus of 10,000 Ultimate Rewards Points, equivalent to about $100. Currently, Chase offers 50,000 bonus points to anyone who signs up. But hey, deposit a soft quarter mill, go into a Chase branch, deal with a weird sales pitch, sign up for CPC, and get $100 in credit card points! Thanks Chase!
If Chase didn’t have the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred (WHICH ARE AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE) I think there would be no reason to use Chase as a primary bank. Chase Bank sucks. I’ll say it.
That said, what really bothers me is this: judging from my in-person experience and several phone calls, Chase Private Bankers are either deeply uneducated on current financial products, or extremely biased sales people trying to make moderately high net-worth individuals feel special by luring them in with ostensible perks, only to wack them with fees from shitty investments and generic bank offerings available to just about everyone.
It’s likely a combination of both. Running an online business and investing my own wealth takes up the majority of my time, and the suggestion that some Chase private banker (who doesn’t even have the ability to provide introductions to exclusive hedge funds or something actually valuable like that) can offer valuable investment and/or business insight is actually pretty funny.
At the end of the day, you need to realize you’re spending a minimum of $840 a month to be a private client (~2% inflation + 2.02% current Fed Funds deposit rate). Let’s assume Chase paid clients the standard 2% APY. Even for $0 break-even every month, Chase Private Client is demonstrably a poor deal and a poor return on your cash. But since Chase doesn’t pay any substantial interest, for $840 per month, Chase Private Client is a borderline scam.
I’m sure CPC works for some, but I don’t see a logical reason to keep a minimum of $250,000 with chase. That said, you could technically signup with only $100k if you have to have plans to bring in the other $150k within a year. One could make the argument that CPC is not a bad deal due to inflation and 0% interest, because the entire deposited balance could be invested with JP Morgan Chase You Invest. However, this isn’t stellar, because Chase You Invest is poorly rated and offers a very slim range of investment products.
Final Thoughts Continued
Chase has successfully created a program to make those with more than $100,000 to $250,000 (but less than $1,000,000) feel special. If you have more than $1,000,000 in cash, you’re probably eligible for more JP Morgan asset management, which has a whole different set of benefits and features…some of which might be worth it.
Bottom line: if you aren’t a Chase Private Client, you’re not missing out. You’re ironically probably getting better benefits elsewhere. And if you are a Chase Private Client, you’re not getting $840 in value every month… Keep in mind, this $840 figure is assuming you only deposit the CPC minimum. If you deposit $1mm and don’t have the “expert Private Bankers” help you invest, you’ll lose a minimum of $40,000 per year due to inflation and 0% APY.