JPMorgan's Prepaid Card: Want It for Free? Get a Bank Account

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At $4.95 a month, JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) new prepaid card undercuts even its student checking account. But its fee can't be waived with direct deposit or a high minimum balance — to get the card for free, users must link it to a JPMorgan Chase checking account.

The New York banking company does not require prepaid customers to open bank accounts, but the card, called Chase Liquid, has several features designed to connect users to the bank. The prepaid account allows free use of Chase-branded ATMs and allows refills at the bank's branches.

The card's terms and conditions (PDF) list several checking accounts customers can link to the prepaid card to waive the monthly fee. Customers can use the linked account as a funding source for the prepaid card account.

The card is designed to appeal to customers that want a reloadable prepaid card but also value the brand of a major bank.

"Chase Liquid will be a terrific option for customers who want a prepaid card and also want the security and convenience of Chase," said Todd Maclin, CEO of chase consumer and business banking, in a press release Tuesday.

The Liquid card is available today in about 200 JPMorgan Chase branches as part of a test rollout. The bank plans to offer the card nationwide this summer.

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