Posted by Chuck on January 18, 2019
Bank Account Bonuses

Published on January 18th, 2019 | by Chuck

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PSA: Don’t Use ACH for Chase Bank Account Fundings, Avoid Account Lockup

There are many recent reports of people who opened a new Chase checking or savings account and had their account locked up when attempting to fund it via ACH from an external bank.

Usually the fix is to have a 3-way call with Chase and the external bank and clear up your Chase account. Yet other times they require you to come in with 2 forms of ID or worse. Here are some of the reports of people who’ve bumped into this issue: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

From the comments of this post, it appears the issue affects:

  • even transactions as little as $1,500 (and possibly less)
  • both personal and business accounts
  • even Chase accounts which are many years old (not specific to new Chase accounts). It has been suggested, though, that the first 30 days is more of an issue.
  • whether you fund you Chase account with ACH-pull from an external bank or if you do an ACH-push from an external bank into your Chase account. Initially we wrote only to avoid ACH-pull from Chase’s end, but readers note that even pushing funders from an external bank to a Chase account might trigger the security alert.

It’s a big mistake in the system on Chase’s part because it’s normal for new accounts to transfer in large sums of money and because it gives a bad taste to new customers.

A few recommended options:

  • I’d recommend transferring large sums to fund your Chase account by depositing a check in-branch or via the mobile app.
  • Alternatively, you can try doing smaller transactions which is obviously a pain.
  • Zelle/Quickpay might be another option.
  • While there have been reports of lock-up for ACH-pushes from another account, most reports are of ACH-pulls from Chase’s end, so it might be a bit safe to try the external push method from the two options.
  • A reader suggests that You Invest accounts might not have the same sensitivity as checking and savings accounts. (In the case of You Invest, it may not be possible/easy to deposit a check, so you may have to either ACH-pull or ACH-push. ACH-push is probably a bit safer.)

A lot of us open Chase checking and savings account for the bonuses they offer, especially the current $600 offer and Sapphire Banking offer which many of us are doing. During account opening, you can fund the initial $25-$50 deposit with a debit card, and small amounts should be okay via ACH, regardless. It’s just when your doing the full account funding to trigger the bonus (usually it requires $15,000 or $25,000) that you trip into their security system.

Here are a few current Chase deposit bonuses:



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WZ
WZ

I did an ACH-push from an external bank for my upgraded Chase Sapphire Checking (because Chase didn’t allow me to ACH-pull more than $10000) and had the same issue. Had to call in and do a 3-way phone call.

Rob
Rob

Ditto (ACH-pull from another bank).

missjenniferd1
missjenniferd1

my opening was for the $15,000 for the $600 deal for doing checking and savings, and the limit on online ach was $10,000, and since i know $10,000 is like the magic number for banks to freak out, i actually initiated 2 ach pulls on chase’s online banking, one for $9k, the other for $6k.
it still triggered the phone call to 3 way my bank. im glad to know that the other option was to have to come in person, and that they didnt choose that option, since i dont have a branch.
i thought it was weird because i had to verify my bank ownership in order to link the account, yet they still did the 3 way call to my bank. it was really fast though, and very simple, all in all a 5 minute call, but yeah, if i hadnt been home when the phone rang, who knows.
anyway, i’d say best bet would be to push from anohter bank, as doc suggested, because chase is tripping for sure.
im wondering if maybe the difference in halting the account, making the person come in with id, or doing the 3 way call has to do with already having an existing account with chase. since i’ve had a credit card (always at least one card), for the past 30 years with chase, but seems i’ve read they closed people’s accounts for the large transfers, but i didnt run into that, just the 3 way call, which was resolved quickly. nevermind, i read the links doc posted, and it doesnt matter if you have an existing relationship with chase or not.

Jay
Jay

Pretty sure It’s actually illegal to do it that way too, as ridiculous as the laws are, google “bank structuring”.

Max
Max

Jay, the concept and legal definition of “structuring” actually only refers to direct cash deposits as well as cash-like substitutes like money orders because they’re generally untrackable. An electronic ACH would not apply to the structuring law because it’s fully trackable, and is therefore not included in the legal definition of what triggers a CTR by a bank.

bax
bax

Well, tell that to the eff-tards at Robinhood then, cuz they surely don’t agree with your definition.

Electroman
Electroman

I’m not sure who they are, but Max’s definition is correct. I suspect that the boundaries are subtly (or not-so-subtly ) enlarged by others for CYA.

JMR0303
JMR0303

Remember the announcement about a 3% interest checking/savings account that wasn’t actually a checking/savings account and not insured? Those guys.

missjenniferd1
missjenniferd1

Jay yeah, i worked for a bank for 8 years. im aware of it, but they’d have to prove that it was your intent. hardly likely, when you cant do the full transfer in 1 transaction. so if you have to do 2 transactions anyway, it makes no matter what the amounts are. most people probably would just do 2 transactions for $7500, but i hate duplicate transactions, it always makes me wonder if someone duplicated something because i dont keep a check registry. so i always do 2 separate amounts. hard not to “structure” transfers, when they max you out at $10k

SBR
SBR

I think when you state something like “since I know $10,000 is like the magic number for banks to freak out…”, that’s just setting yourself up for dangerous territory there. Plus, I think the reasonable and common reaction to a transaction limit would either be to split the transaction into 2 equal sums or to go with 1 transaction at the limit and the balance in a second transaction. If this was a transaction subject to CTR and structuring rules, it may be risky.

missjenniferd1
missjenniferd1

sbr, well i said $10k was the magic number to doc’ers, not to the banks themselves…. to the banks, my response would be, “oh really, i wasnt aware”. but as stated above, the structuring is actually only about cash, but it still seems to trigger security anything 10k and above, regardless whether its cash or not, but the structuring has to do with money laundering, “where did this cash come from?”, and since the online transfers are electronic, the money is fully traceable. but you go in with $10k cash to make a deposit at any bank, be prepared to answer where you got that money. and paperwork is filed for it as well.

Electroman
Electroman

They also file SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports), and there is no threshold for this – they can and do file these for smaller amounts.

Franholio
Franholio

The funniest part of this is that there are no reporting requirements for ACH transfers. A Currency Transaction Report requires there to be actual CURRENCY involved. That means a CTR can never be filed for check or ACH transactions. It also means that it’s impossible to commit the crime of structuring of ACH transfers, since there are no reporting requirements that are evaded in the process.

And the irony is that splitting a transaction into 9k and 6k is probably more likely to get you SAR’d than just doing the full 15k in one go.

Ann
Ann

Yep. This has NOTHING to do with reporting requirements, which is about criminal activity concerns (drug dealers moving actual cash). Just an internal bank policy, which is about reducing their risk of having to reverse large unauthorized transfers.

Ann
Ann

Further proving this are comments saying they got hit with a lockdown/verification for just a $1500 transfer and a $2600 transfer (two different people). Noooowhere near $10k, $9k, or even $6k.

Ben
Ben

That’s almost surely because the feds get the data straight from the clearinghouse. I guess that’s nice (?) because it saves everyone else the trouble of filing reports.

Denis
Denis

I had a similar experience in 2017 when I did $500 bonus.
Three 3-way phone calls in total.

CARLOS
CARLOS

The new amount is now $6000.
They will even report you to the IRS for $6000, $9999 isnt the # anymore.

Ferris
Ferris

As someone who works in BSA, this is simply not true. 10000 is CTR threshold, 5000 is potential SAR threshold, but more of a guideline and 3000 is usually an internal catch all for any type of transaction. Also the IRS has nothing to do with any of this.

Ryan Goldstein

I ran into this as well, after initiating a $10,000 and $5,000 pull from an external bank to fund my new Chase savings account. I got a call from Chase, they already had a representative from my funding bank on hold, they verified me, then conferenced in the rep from the bank, who also verified me. The Chase rep then confirmed with my other bank rep that I have sufficient funds, then they approved the transfers. A bit annoying I guess, but not the end of the world.

TomJ
TomJ

The other side of this is when I accidentally once did a $10K transfer when all I intended to do was a $100. My checking account had a $7K negative balance when I discovered my mistake. At least with this system, mistakes like the one I made would not happen!! (To this day, I still wonder how in the world the bank let that transaction process.)

Electroman
Electroman

For the fees, of course. Yes, I’m serious.

Mike Advantage
Mike Advantage

This happened to me.. and I was fucking overseas at the time (for 4 months). And I had to call Chase on 15 different occasions and plea for them to unfreeze / unlock my account. Because at first they said I would need to come in person to a U.S branch. I even called my local branch, they couldn’t do anything because I opened the account online.

This happened last year.

Worse bank experience of my life. Never again with Chase.

Vk48
Vk48

Affects business accounts too, had the same happen to me when I opened the business checking and funded from an external bank. That was only for $1500 also

Ashton
Ashton

I did a ach push and got locked up. It was just $2600. Account is 7 yrs old.

Nick
Nick

Glad I pushed my two deposits totaling $15k to Chase. Wasn’t aware you could pull using Chase (surprised they don’t charge fees).

Andy
Andy

No bank charge for pulling, some do for pushing (boa).

Sevillada
Sevillada

Love banks…
“Bring your money”
“Wait a minute, why are you bringing that much?”
“Spend money on this CC”
“Wait a minute, are you really you the one using that CC you verified minutes ago?”
Facepalm

albert
albert

“Open a new account with us!”
“We think your account was opened under fraudulent situation, the reason your account has been closed will be given via mail”
Reason via mail: “we closed it by own decision”
SMH

Mike
Mike

I had no issues doing a pull from Chase. Pulled $10K from Capital One and it went through no problem. Pulled $5K from Bank of America, and this triggered a call from Chase Fraud Department. They told me they can verify with Capital One, but had issues with Bank of America. Chase told me it was best for them to cancel the transaction and then have me deposit a check from them or move money with Zelle. When she went to go cancel, she found out it processed. My money was in my account within 2 days. So it might just vary by bank

Mar
Mar

Opened a chase checking back in june, made a $1k deposit via check from my main checking at a different bank and they decided to hold it for about 10 days before posting to my account. Was pretty annoyed about that so I closed the account shortly after. Agree that things like this leave a bad taste

BB
BB

I did a $1500 push from Ally to Chase that locked my wife’s new account about 2 years ago. They wanted her to come in with two forms of ID, but the nearest branch is 150 miles away. They ended up unlocking her account over the phone after answering security questions.

My wife was not happy.

Alex
Alex

Did not know about this. Just completed $75k worth of transfers (across 4 banks) that posted today. Hoping that everything stays ok. No issues so far.

RAM
RAM

And don’t fund from too many sources, I got banned [all banking accounts] trying to meet the sign up bonus criteria funding from different sources,

MisterBill
MisterBill

So what does this mean for the required direct deposit to get the checking bonus? Will it actually need to be a real DD and not an ACH?

josefismael
josefismael

Good looking out. Just opened the checking and savings for the $600 bonus and forgot to fund during the opening process. Pushed $100 from Ally to the checking account and it credited the very next day, but I’ll take it slow over the next week or so to get that 15k into the savings.

Johnny
Johnny

They locked my account over $100 coming in from Unify. Had to do 3 way call with Chase calling Unify. ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS.They are awful, never dealt with a bank like them

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