Chase Adds Bill Pay to Liquid, Expands Checking Access (June 30, 2015)
JPMorgan Chase is changing its policies to offer more customers access to mainstream payment services—and the company’s Liquid prepaid card will play a key role in the initiative. Under an agreement with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the bank has agreed to modify the methods it uses to evaluate whether customers qualify for a traditional checking account and will offer new payment services for Liquid cardholders. Under the new policy, Liquid users will be able to use Chase’s online bill payment service to pay for rent, utilities and other bills. If a biller doesn’t accept online payments, the bank will mail a paper check on the cardholder’s behalf at no cost. The bill payment feature is expected to be added by the fourth quarter of 2015.
Chase also has agreed to offer more customers access to traditional checking accounts by modifying its screening process for applicants. Certain applicants no longer will be penalized for frequent overdrafts on prior accounts or previous bankruptcies. Those who don’t qualify for a checking account are usually offered the option of opening a Liquid account. Chase continues its policy of offering checking accounts to Liquid cardholders who keep their accounts in good standing for six months.
The agreement with Chase is part of an initiative Schneiderman launched in 2013 to expand access to mainstream banking services for unbanked and underbanked consumers. The N.Y. AG’s office previously reached deals with three other major banks—Citibank, Capital One and Santander—to overhaul their checking account application criteria. “It is critical that low-income Americans … have access to mainstream banking services,” said Schneiderman. “I look forward to working with additional banks to help consumers avoid financial services laden with fees and other penalties.”