Another reader story of a Chase shutdown

Introduction

A long-time reader sent me an email the other day and told me he was just shut down from Chase.  He gave me permission to post his story so we can all learn from it:

Hi, Vinh!

I’ve been a fan of your blog and I have read your shutdown stories, but never expected to get axed myself. I’m just really very confused because I was just able to purchase 2 Nike GCs from Gyft about 2 hrs ago or so. My previous was Tuesday. Then I was updating my Hyatt on AwardWallet and I noticed I earned hundreds of points when I only spent $2 at the PH in Buenos Aires last month. So I logged in to my Chase acct to see if I was charged a lot more and sure enough I saw the remarks that ALL my Chase cards were closed! 10 total, 1 INK Bold, 1 INK Plus, & 1 INK Cash, with 1 Marriott business. The rest are personal. Now first of all, since we arrived here in the states in 2002, we’ve been with Chase (Bank One back then I think). Our savings and checking have been with them since ’02, and our mortgage has been with them since 2011. Those are still alive. I rarely deposit MOs at Chase, and I’m not even a high spender on my Ink cards. In fact I was planning to downgrade 1 to Ink Cash again since I don’t come close to the maximum. And my wife also has an Ink Plus that we don’t use much. I called Chase but the rep couldn’t really disclose much. She was just reading notes that Chase decided to end the relationship. No reasons given. I’d really love to know what I did wrong. I did Bill Pays here in xxxxx up until last month. Sadly just last week they decided to close their Money Services so no more BPs & MOs for us. Anyhow, I know you didn’t think the BP triggered your shutdowns, but what else could have caused mine? It can’t be the Gyft purchases, can it? I did get approved for the BA card a second time last month. First was like 4 years ago. Could that have been the reason? I certainly didn’t break any rules by doing that. For the record, my personal cards are BA, Hyatt, IHG, Freedom, no AF United, & Ritz. My wife has the exact same personal cards with 1 Ink Plus and 1 Marriott business just approved last month. She also just got her 2nd BA last month. So far her accounts are fine, I sure hope it stays that way. Our savings and checking are joint accounts so they can easily see her accts through mine. My very first card was the Sapphire Preferred in 2012, then the INK Bold a month after.

What would your advice be, and should I go to a Chase branch to see if there’s anything they can do? Should I try to call the number that was in your shutdown letter? I wish they could give a reason for the shutdown so at least I’ll know what to do to protect my wife’s accts. But again I know u were sort of expecting to get axed, but that never crossed my mind at all since I’ve never even cycled through my credit limits, which are $10k or lower each. And if they don’t reinstate my accounts do I have any grounds to file a CFPB? Really looking forward to your reply. Tnx, Vinh! God bless!

 

Potential Reasons for the axe

I don’t know the exact reason why the reader got axed, but I hear enough shutdown stories, that I can make educated guesses as to what happened.  Here are the top reasons why Chase would axe you:

  • Ink abuse – doesn’t sound like it in this case
  • High credit utilization when applying for a new card – this is a fairly new reason these days.  What happens is when you apply for a new Chase card, they’ll look at your CR and see if you’re running high balances on your other cards (not just Chase,) and will preemptively just axe you.
  • Spending too much too fast – this is what did me in, but not in this reader’s case it seems
  • Messing with their bank side – another reader was shut down for this, but not this reader.  Seems his MO deposits were very light.
  • Anonymous payments – this is my best guess as to what led to this reader’s shut down story.  I had asked him what his volume on his BP’s were and this is what he said, “$1998 each time about once a month or none (if balance is below $2k) on each of our 4 INKs.”  So while it was low volume, it seemed enough for Chase to shut him down.  A part of me also thinks the recent BA apps may have put eyes on the account as well.

 

Lessons Learned

I’m sad to hear about what happened to this reader since he’s been with me since the 150K AMEX Platinum days.  I wish he hadn’t done those BP’s.  BP’s are just saving you an extra MO trip if you think about it.  Just gives you more liquidation bandwidth in one trip.  I’ve been flirting with anon payments with Citi lately, but this has thrown cold water on me.  Realistically, it’s just saving me a trip to Walmart, so I’ll just put up with a few more trips to Walmart and not even risk it anymore.  Also the rare MO deposits into Chase was definitely a big no-no since that’s shitting where you eat.  So to recap, 1) don’t BP or do any kind of anon payment to Chase (even including paying your Chase card with MO’s in branch, 2) don’t shit where you eat (meaning don’t even bank with Chase.)  I’m sure a few of you readers will comment, “Oh well I’ve been depositing MO’s into my Chase account for years now and I’m fine.”  Well, good for you.  Keep on doing what you’re doing.  Don’t let a blogger tell you what to do.

I did give the reader some tips on how to get his account re-instated or at least be given a reason for the shutdown.  I’ll post a followup if he does get back in.  I wish him luck.

  • James

    I also had my Chase checking shut down after 20 years and well as my wife’s cards and checking account. Had the Ink, Hyatt and SW personal with them. I was doing a large amount of MS a month 75-100k and stupidly made two deposits in the same day before a trip. That raised some red flags. From what I have seen and after looking at the notes on Chase’s system, the blacklist seems to be pretty permanent. They would rather not do business with people who they are not making interest or fees from.

    • Miles per Day

      So they got you for structuring deposits? Man that’s rough.

      • James

        Yeah, I feel that was what triggered the audit and then they took a closer link at my Ink. I have a very MS friendly Wallmart, so it is a bummer that I am having a hard time finding a bank that I can process money orders at.

  • Ken

    His wife’s accounts will be axed as well, it’s just a matter of time. I’ve never seen spouses come out of a shutdown unscathed. Sometimes it takes a few weeks and sometimes a few months. Shutdown is coming.

  • Robert

    I got shut down by Chase about 1.5 years ago. There were many potential reasons (Ink almost exclusively 5x, anonymous payments, light MO deposits). Last month I applied for and was approved for the JPM Ritz Carlton card. Was busy doing the spend requirement when the card was closed. Reason was that another affiliate didn’t want to do business with me. My only conclusion is that the reason for shutdown was the bank side. If I were to further guess, because my MO volume was light and not close to the shutdown, I trace it to a $100 deposit bonus for opening a savings account. I got the bonus and withdrew the money. Shutdown happened very close to the withdrawal. Given that card side was still happy giving me cards, indications point to the $100 bonus.

    • Miles per Day

      Bummer. I was gonna try for the Ritz too to test if I’m still banned.

      • Robert

        At least I get to keep 3 Ritz Carlton Club upgrades and the Priority Pass. You could probably get the 2 free nights too, but I didn’t do enough spend in time.

        • Miles per Day

          Good point. I may try it soon.

  • Chen Chang

    This is my guess. He got hit with a manual review due to his BA credit card application. The fellow who reviewed his account noticed he did several thousand of 5X with his Ink cards and and decided to cut him loose. His wife should be fine because she only has depending on how much 5X she puts on her Ink.

  • Walter Chen

    The shutdown is much more prevalent than what most know about because of reporting bias. Many users reported privately because this isn’t a “good news” they feel like sharing at all.
    Since early this year Chase has shutdown so many people. The reasons I’ve deduced are similar too those stated in the article. In short, just keep your fingers crossed these days. The game is definitely not as easy as before.

  • Tom

    Can anyone clarify what exactly qualifies as an anonymous bill payment? There are many services that I’ve heard of, but some of them don’t seem “anonymous”, so I’m not sure if this is just a general word that people use to describe all bill payment services, or if there are certain ones that are specifically more risky than others, etc… people always mention this guideline, but I’ve rarely seen anyone offer any specific details…

    • Miles per Day

      Essentially any payment that isn’t an ACH from your bank or a check in your name. How normal people pay their cc bills.

      • Karma

        Why do bank think Bill Payment is risky? Is there some new obscure law or regulation like Patriot Act where they check and take action? CC Bank get the money and validation and checks are done by and at the bill payment services so they are responsible. I see that all major banks (Chase, Capital One, Barclays, Citi) dont like bill payment and yet Walmart alone does billions of dollars of bill payment ( This information is in their earnings report if someone is curious).

        • Miles per Day

          I don’t have an answer to it. Maybe it’s because you can pay cash at Walmart and it’d be a good way to launder money? I don’t know. I just know bill pays have increased risk of shutdowns.

      • Kathy

        Is a billpay from GoBank also considered anonymous payment?

        • Miles per Day

          I don’t have a 100% answer on this Kathy, but I would just bill pay myself with Gobank to be safe.

      • Nathan Yamamoto

        Would Plastiq payments to mortgage be considered anonymous?

        • Miles per Day

          Your mortgage won’t shut you down, so go ahead.

  • Mark Ostermann

    Did he say if he was able to transfer out his UR at least like you were?

    Chase’s bank bonuses are hard to pass up but I definitely wouldn’t do anything but regular deposits in them.

    • Miles per Day

      I’m pretty sure he could transfer out even though he was axed.

  • Joe

    I reach the about 45-47K on INK Plus (all 5x) annually no more than 5k in any one month… do you think I’m at any risk of being shut down for INK abuse? I don’t have any of the other issues that you mentioned… should I be worried…and should I burn my UR.

    • Justin

      Should be fine. $5k a month is very reasonable for a person let along a business. Just don’t have a huge spike one month.

  • RickyRossTW

    Only bank I find too valuable to fck with too hard is Chase, gone through some FR with Amex but didnt care too much as I find Chase products much more valuable, unfortunately my gf didnt pass her FR with Amex and lost ~250k MR but I hit her account too hard too fast.

    • borscht

      Can you pinpoint what triggered you and your GF’s FR with Amex?

      • RickyRossTW

        Most likely too many signups grouped together along with hitting spending requirements too quickly amongst the cards I think we probably hit 20-30k in a month but I was in a rush to get the points asap if I took it slow we both probably would have passed under the radar. But her actual financials could not justify the spending so she got axed by amex

  • Justin

    Hoping he gets reinstated. Looking forward to a follow up.

    • glngarryglnross

      zero chance they reinstate him. maybe in 3 yrs he can get a CC with chase again.