Chase is now offering 60,000 points on a checking account, but there’s a big catch

If you have $75,000, Chase has good news for you.

Chase JPM, -0.02%   announced Thursday it is offering 60,000 points to customers who use a new “premium checking account,” called Sapphire Banking. Each Chase point is worth about two cents, according to The Points Guy, a website that values points each month. That makes the bonus worth about $1,200.

The new account is piggybacking off the success of Chase’s credit cards, the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred, the company said. We want to create similar value for a bank account under the Sapphire brand,” said Jennifer Piepszak, CEO of Chase Card Services.

Of course, there’s a catch. Customers must have at least $75,000 in deposits, or in investments, to qualify. Those investments must be kept at Chase and cannot be retirement investments. If customers meet those requirements, they will also get access to a new digital investment platform called YouInvest by JPMorgan, which gives commission-free stock and ETF trades with $0 account minimums.

Alternatively, existing Chase checking account customers who don’t have the $75,000 minimum can upgrade to a Sapphire account, but that will cost a monthly service fee of $25.

This isn’t the first time Chase has tried to entice its customers with points. Besides its Chase Sapphire cards, the company has also offered 100,000 points to customers who open mortgages at Chase.

With this new offering, Chase seems to be courting affluent customers, said Brian Riley, the director of the credit advisory service at Mercator Advisory Group, a payment consultancy group based in Massachusetts. The average checking account in the U.S. holds just $3,000, he said.

Creating a feeling of connection among Sapphire products might help customers get comfortable with Chase’s digital investing platform, he added.

Competition for digital customers has become important, as more financial technology companies have entered the investing and wealth management industry, said Kendrick Sands, head of consumer finance at research firm Euromonitor International. That has driven money away from traditional financial institutions.

“Consumers’ trust in fintech companies has increased, while overall satisfaction with financial institutions has declined,” he said.

What’s more, as the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates, which means banks pay more to borrow money, banks are trying to attract more deposits, he said. They will then use that money to generate income through lending.

Still, consumers who have $75,000 in liquid assets may be able to make better returns if they put their money in a different type of account, such as a savings account that offers interest, said Kimberly Palmer, a credit card expert at the personal-finance company NerdWallet. Some online-only banks, such as Goldman Sachs’s Marcus GS, +0.40% offer 1.8% or more on savings accounts.

Once Chase tests this program out, it could ultimately expand it to accounts that hold less than $75,000, Riley said. “Chase can modify the product to address a qualified but less affluent base, with interesting banking options,” he said.

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