Chase Bank Cryptocurrency Policy

Chase Bank Cryptocurrency Policy

Robert McDougall 

January 8, 2024

Cryptocurrency

If you live in the US, you are familiar with Chase bank. We say this because JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the US with about 3.20 trillion USD in assets in its possession. According to their own reports, Chase conducts business with more than 66 million households - an extremely large number.

With this large of a presence, even the smallest decisions made by Chase will have a massive and lasting impact on almost any market. The same stands true for cryptocurrency as well. 

That said, it pales in comparison to more modern banks like that directly offer dozens of crypto assets to their users.

On the one hand — depending on its policy — Chase can either support or hinder millions of its users from entering the world of crypto. Its stance on crypto can also alter the performance of the crypto market as a whole. 

So, where does JPMorgan lie on the crypto support chart? Well, the answer to this is a bit more nuanced than, “it supports crypto” or “it’s against crypto.” 

Join us as we untangle Chase bank’s cryptocurrency policy, see what it means for its users, and attempt to predict its future. While we’re at it, we’ll also consider a few alternatives to this finance giant. 

Let’s get started!

Chase Bank's Stance on Cryptocurrencies

As far we’re aware, Chase bank has not released any official statement regarding its stance on cryptocurrency transactions for their customers. This makes things a bit complicated as we have to look at the different ways the largest banks in America deal with crypto assets, and form our own conclusion. 

The good news is that Chase is fairly consistent with its policy so there shouldn’t be any confusion about its stance. 

At the time of writing, people can use the USD they have in their Chase bank account to purchase crypto from exchanges. However, this does not work with every crypto exchange. 

To be specific, you can only deposit money to crypto exchanges that are licensed with FINRA and FinCEN regulated. On the plus side, you have the option to use your debit card or do direct bank transfers for larger amounts. In our experience, both of these methods work well without any interference from Chase. 

Changes in Chase bank’s stance over time

That said, it pales in comparison to more modern banks like that directly offer dozens of crypto assets to their users.

All things considered, crypto is an extremely new addition to the world of finance. The first crypto asset — Bitcoin — launched about 14 years ago. This might sound like a long time, but consider this: Chase bank has been in operation for 224 years. 

Suffice it to say, given the recency of crypto the stance of most financial institutions and governments has changed a lot over the years. Chase is no exception, but these changes for Chase are more about the sentiment of the company, rather than enforced policies for its users.

As far as we know, Chase has never blocked its users from purchasing crypto from US-registered exchanges. 

Early stance

The CEO of Chase, Jamie Dimon, labeled Bitcoin as a fraud in 2017. He even went as far as to say that any Chase employee caught trading Bitcoin will get fired for being “stupid.”Since then, he has also referred to Bitcoin — and crypto by extension — as a pet rock and a waste of time. 

The good news for the crypto market as a whole is that this stance is changing, slowly but surely. 

Change since then

One of the earliest shockers came in 2019 when JPMorgan, the parent company of Chase, introduced its own cryptocurrency called the JPM coin. It wasn’t a public token like Bitcoin, but still a major leap forward. Then in 2021, Chase also started offering access to six crypto funds to its users if they asked. 

About a year after that in 2022, Jamie Dimon, performed the bank’s first DeFi payment using a public blockchain. 

Current sentiment

While there hasn’t been any major update to Chase’s stance since then, we can see the bank’s interest in crypto going up. One of the largest indicators of this is a report Chase published in early 2023. The report showed how crypto ownership in the US has gone up from 3% before 2020 to 13% in 2023. 

Comparison to other banks

This depends on where you look. From what we know, JPMorgan Chase’s crypto policy is on par with the other big players in finance like Wells Fargo or the Bank of America. 

That said, it pales in comparison to more modern banks like SoFi that directly offer dozens of crypto assets to their users.

Services Provided by Chase Bank in Relation to Cryptocurrencies

The answer to this relies on your definition of service. Here’s what we mean by this:

Third-party crypto purchases

As we discussed above, Chase bank allows its users to deposit USD to US-licensed and registered crypto exchanges. Then those users can use their deposits to purchase and trade any crypto asset they want. 

We see this as an excellent service for both types of retail investors; those who want to dip their toes in the world of crypto and those who want to trade crypto on a higher volume. We tried this service ourselves and it worked as expected. We did not experience any slowdowns or glitches when depositing money to crypto exchanges or withdrawing fiat funds from them.

But what if you’re more than just a retail investor? Do you get any special privileges or services? Yes, you do.

Crypto funds managed by Chase

Starting in August 2021, Chase bank started offering six different crypto assets to its clients but with two major caveats. 

First, you have to be one of the wealth management clients with JPMorgan Chase to access these funds. To reach this status, you need to have a minimum $250,000 annual household income. Alternatively, you can also avail this service if you have a combined Chase deposit balance of $500,000 or more.

Secondly, Chase will never recommend crypto funds to you. While we weren’t able to confirm this ourselves — due to the aforementioned income requirements — as far as we know, you have to ask for the crypto funds yourself. 

What this means

This shows that while Chase is becoming more accepting of crypto over time, it’s still a bit cautious when it comes to these digital assets. Again, there is no official statement that defines the reason behind this ask-only approach to the crypto fund, but here’s our interpretation. 

Even the largest crypto assets — like Bitcoin and Ethereum — are quite volatile. Someone with a lot of money invested in these crypto assets can lose a massive part of their portfolio with a single crypto market crash. 

So, if Chase recommended crypto funds to its clients, it’ll be suggesting a risky investment. But, if the client asks for investment in the crypto funds themselves, the whole risk falls on to the client and their decision — not on the bank. 

Regulations and Restrictions on Cryptocurrency Transactions

We touched on this a bit before, but Chase does not allow you to transfer money to all crypto exchanges. In short, you can only deposit funds to a cryptocurrency exchange if it is operating legally in the US. 

The big question is, what makes a crypto exchange’s operations legal in the USA?

US crypto exchange regulation

From what we know, crypto exchanges are considered “Money Transmitters” in the US as they fall under the scope of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Operating legally in the US is not an easy task for these exchanges. 

First, they have to get registered and obtain licenses from a bunch of different institutions. These include documentation such as:

  • Money Transmitter License
  • Virtual Currency License
  • Seller of Payment Instruments License
  • Sale of Checks License

For Chase to support a crypto exchange, it also needs a license from FINRA and must follow the regulations of FinCEN. 

In order to maintain these licenses, crypto exchanges also have to fulfill certain requirements like keeping records for tax purposes and submitting reports to authorities if requested. But, the story doesn’t end here either. 

AML and CFT policy implementation

AML stands for Anti-Money Laundering, while CFT is short for Combating the Financing of Terrorism. Let us explain why this is so important.

The thing about cryptocurrency is that it’s decentralized from any singular institute and jurisdiction. It’s also global and does not care for borders, at least in the countries that haven’t banned it fully. 

This global reach and decentralized nature make crypto one of the easiest methods to launder money and finance terrorism around the world. To prevent and counter these crimes, crypto exchanges in the US have to implement AML/CFT policies.

In addition to requiring record keeping and cooperation with authorities, these policies also require crypto exchanges to use a Know Your Customer (KYC) system. To summarize, each account on these exchanges needs to be tied to a government-issued photo ID, an address, a recent picture, and other similar identification markers. 

This way, if an account on these crypto exchanges does engage in money laundering or terror financing, the authorities can identify the culprit quite easily. But, why does any of this matter to Chase bank’s cryptocurrency policy?

Well, if an exchange doesn’t follow these regulations, it won’t be able to get a FinCEN license. Without this license, it cannot operate legally in the US, and Chase bank will not allow you to transfer funds to this exchange. 

Future Outlook of Chase Bank's Cryptocurrency Policy

At the time of writing, we do not have any proper statements about Chase bank’s plans for crypto in the future. But, as is evident from their 2023 report on crypto adoption by US citizens, it’s clear that the bank has no plan on going against the crypto flow for the near future. 

Beyond that, we have to make a few assumptions and use our knowledge of the crypto market and major US banks to make educated predictions. In our experience, Chase bank’s future with crypto might depend on the following factors:

US regulatory landscape

Given the relative recency of cryptocurrency in the world of finance, regulation in the US is yet to catch up. The future of cryptocurrency regulation is still a bit more vague than most crypto investors — including us — would like it to be. 

These regulations also have a direct impact on Chase bank’s policies regarding crypto. Think of it this way.

If the regulation around crypto in the US loosened a bit, major banks like Chase can start offering direct crypto assets to their customers. However, if regulations become stricter, Chase might have to drop its existing crypto funds. 

In the worst-case scenario, Chase may even block all transactions to crypto exchanges. 

Crypto market performance

As we’ve established above, the reason Chase is so cautious with its crypto offerings is because of the inherent risk of crypto due to its volatility. So, it’s also fair to assume that any change in this volatility will likely have an impact on Chase’s crypto policy. 

If major crypto assets like BTC and ETH became more stable in the future, there’s a high likelihood that Chase might start offering them directly to all of its users. 

By the same logic, if the volatility in the crypto market became worse in the coming years, Chase might halt its existing request-only crypto funds.

Public sentiment on crypto

This factor is a bit more vague but holds just as much importance in our eyes as the other two. Basically, if the demand for crypto services explodes in the future, there’s no reason for Chase to pass up the opportunity and possible earnings. 

In that situation, we’ll likely see crypto offerings either directly from the bank or through a strategic partner. 

Customer Considerations and Alternatives

Before we conclude our discussion on Chase bank’s cryptocurrency policies, we’d like to discuss the possibilities that lie outside of this bank. However, before we present with you our picks for the best alternatives, there are a few factors that you must consider.

Key considerations before looking for alternatives

The most influential considerations in our opinion before seeking Chase alternatives for crypto include:

Your investment strategy

Ask yourself, how do you want to invest in crypto?

On the one hand, if you’re looking to purchase from crypto exchanges, there is no real reason for you to switch from Chase. That said, this only applies if you are willing to use exchanges that operate legally in the US. 

On the other hand, if you want to purchase crypto directly from your bank, you might have to look for a bank that’s more active in that regard. In that situation, seeking alternatives can be a good solution. 

Your potential trading volume

How much money are you willing to invest in crypto? If it’s a small amount, under $10,000 — then depositing money to a third-party exchange with low fees is the most solid option for you. 

Alternatively, if you’re one of the wealth management clients with Chase and are willing to invest large amounts in crypto, availing Chase’s crypto funds would be more convenient. Also, unlike trading on an exchange, you will be able to get professional advice from Chase if you use their funds.

Best alternative banking options

If you’ve decided that you want to switch to an alternative, these are the most reliable options in our opinion:

Cash App

Yes, the Cash App that you probably already use for transferring fiat money around. We put this as the number one option on our list because it allows you to purchase Bitcoin directly from the app. 

This process of purchasing BTC on Cash App is also extremely straightforward. In our experience, even someone completely unfamiliar with crypto can build a BTC portfolio with Cash App.

But, if you want the freedom of fully-fledged crypto exchanges, Cash App also lets you deposit money to popular platforms like Coinbase and Binance.

SoFi

SoFi is a modern platform that turned into a full bank in early 2022. During this time the crypto craze was still going strong. Suffice it to say, SoFi understands the scope and potential of crypto.

That is why it offers more than 28 different crypto assets directly from its own platform, including BTC, ETH, DOGE, and more. Of course, it also allows effortless deposits on reputable crypto exchanges.

Revolut

We put Revolut on this list for its sheer variety. This is because, at the time of writing, Revolut supports the purchase of more than 80 different crypto assets. This makes it an especially good choice for traders who like to diversify their investments with multiple assets. 

We also did not experience any issues or hiccups using Revolut for crypto purchases and exchange deposits. 

Should you switch to an alternative?

We ask this question again but from a more broad angle this time.

On the bright side, switching to a more crypto-friendly bank can make crypto investments easier and more convenient. You’ll also be able to purchase crypto assets directly from the bank, without having to sign up for exchanges.

However, it’s not all sunshine and flowers. Switching banks can be a time-consuming process, especially if you also have to update your banking info in several places afterward. So, think carefully before making a decision.

Conclusion

There you have it, a complete recounting of Chase bank’s cryptocurrency policy. Taken as a whole, Chase is very hands-off in terms of crypto for their regular users. In our experience, if you have a Chase bank account, you can deposit money to most exchanges operating legally in the US without any issues. 

That said, Chase does offer several crypto funds if you ask for them, but they are exclusive to clients whose wealth is managed by Chase. 

As a whole, Chase bank’s cryptocurrency policy is on par with its direct competitors. Plus, we do anticipate the inclusion of more offerings for retail customers in the future. 

Of course, most of these future predictions are based on speculations as we cannot know the crypto regulatory and performance landscape 2, 5, or 10 years from now. Whatever it will be, we’re sure of one thing, it will have a direct impact on Chase bank’s crypto policy. Here’s hoping the upcoming changes are for the better.


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