Chase Shutdowns, Anti Money Laundering, and Deposit Accounts

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m on an annual blogging vacation for the last two weeks of the year. To make sure you still have content, some of the smartest members of the community have stepped up with guest posts in my absence. Special thanks to today’s author, the always helpful and funny SideShowBob233, for writing this post while I’m on vacation. I’ll see you on January 1!

Chase has some of the best checking and savings accounts bonuses, often $500 or $900, and people often jump at the chance to churn these every 2 years.  It sounds great, but when mixed with MS this can be a recipe for a Chase shutdown. 

Chase got in trouble with the feds over their lack of anti-money laundering (AML) compliance a few years ago and as a result has enhanced their AML analysis to a ridiculous level to avoid getting slammed again.  As a result innocent churners and MSers who use Chase are at risk of shutdown by this team.  I know what you’re saying “But SideShowBob233 (you’re saying the 233 part too) I won’t get shutdown I’m not stupid enough to do something to get on their radar” and you’re right – you’re not that stupid but it doesn’t mean you’re safe either.

Many things can get you on their radar that you have no control over:

  • Fraud on a debit card linked to the account
  • Another financial institution having a glitch and pulling a payment multiple times (looking at you Barclays)
  • A fraudulent ACH
  • SideShowBob233 going in your local branch and stepping on a rake while filling out a deposit form and accidentally putting your account number on the deposit slip
  • Some other thing happens that neither of us (and not even your mom!) warned you about

Once one of these things happens, your account will be flagged for review by the AML team, and once they see your activity on your credit cards (and potentially pull your EWS report – more on that later) they will decide you are not worth the risk and shut you down.  OK, so my cards are closed, not the end of the world – but it won’t be just your cards.  It will be the cards of anyone who was an AU on your account, possibly anyone who lives at your address, and also possibly anyone who was ever linked to you via an AU or employee.  And those people will be banned from Chase for at least 7 years, maybe longer although getting back into Chase is YMMV. 

So how do you avoid this?  Simple, don’t have a deposit account (personal checking, biz checking, savings, CD, etc.) at Chase.  Without funds on deposit their AML team doesn’t get to look over your profile.  Their credit card team can still shut you down for rewards abuse or other reasons, but those shutdown for those reasons tend to be whales (although you never know). 

Yes, you are missing out on the potential for multiple checking bonuses but is your Chase relationship worth it (the answer is NO!).  Don’t be like SideShowBob233 (you read the 233 part aloud again because that’s how you roll) and get shutdown because you think it won’t happen to you.  I was in the it won’t happen to me boat, I barely used it other than a direct deposit to keep it free, then I accidentally over-drafted it on a Saturday night paying my credit card after a rake party. 

And finally, if you are going to do it anyway, please tag me when you do get shutdown so I can say I told you so.  But seriously if you do want to get the checking because you are cool enough to avoid the AML team, at least slow your Chase MS when the account is open. 

Stay tuned for my next rant sometime soon on the bane of churning existence (your EWS report). 

Even Canada is listening to SideShowBob233, going as far as naming bills after him.

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