Chase Financial Review is a stealthy process about which not much is known, but last Friday we published a post about it (See: Shop until you’re dropped: Chase Financial Review freezes account). To recap the main points of the story, my wife had recently opened several new Chase cards (three in one day in fact) and then proceeded to do a bunch of holiday shopping (which included purchasing a number of store gift cards both in-person and online). Chase suddenly froze one of her accounts without warning or notification, with customer service reps unable to give her any explanation or information beyond telling her that her account was under periodic review and couldn’t be used during the process. The results of her Chase Financial Review are in….
Results came in on time
When my wife called last week, she was told that they would have results for her by the beginning of this week. She intended to call them on Monday or Tuesday, but she didn’t have to: someone (let’s call this Rep #1) called my wife on Monday and left a message asking her to call back. My wife returned the call and spoke with a different rep (henceforth Rep #2) who reviewed the notes and said that my wife needed to speak with Rep #1, so they would have to hang up and Rep #1 would call her right back. My wife hung up and didn’t receive an incoming call.
However, she doesn’t get great cell service at home and realized a few minutes later that the phone never rang, but Rep #1 had indeed called and left another message to call back. At this point, it seemed clear that there must be some further questions that Chase wanted to have answered. Wanting to get this processed finished up, my wife called again — now reaching Rep #3. Rep #3 was brought up to speed with the process thus far. This rep then put my wife on hold and came back a couple of minutes later unsure why Rep #2 said that my wife would have to speak with Rep #1: the results were already in.
Outcome: Win for the home team
Rep #3 assured us that all of my wife’s accounts are open and in good standing, ready to be used – no need to speak with anyone else. Not wanting to be standing in line at the supermarket with her card getting declined, my wife pressed…”Are you sure that all of my cards are active and can be used? Even the Marriott one?”. Rep #3 confirmed that all of her accounts are open and active — no issues. My wife went on to use the card at the supermarket a little while later with success — her Marriott card was no longer frozen.
This is basically what I expected in the first post, though it certainly came as a relief. It would have been a big time bummer to lose all of her Chase accounts, including the three new ones that still require more spending to trigger the siignup bonuses. I think that would have been a pretty extreme reaction given the relatively small amount of charges, but it didn’t seem impossible.
Further insight into the Chase Financial Review process
I had hoped that by the end, we would have gained some further insight into the Chase Financial Review process. Unfortunately, all three reps remained very tight-lipped in terms of answering any questions. In fact, they didn’t answer anything despite my wife asking for any insight they can give her as to the cause of the review or what they needed to verify that would require a freeze on the account. There were no answers to be had.
That said, I think the many readers who commented are likely right: the root causes were probably the sudden opening of three new Chase accounts in one day combined with spending that was mostly focused on gift cards (and spending on all three cards straight out of the gate). In the future, if opening multiple Chase cards in one day, I would probably make a more conscious effort to go slowly in terms of total spending as well as ratio of expenses in terms of having charges that look more “normal” included with the gift card purchases.
One thing that may be noteworthy or may simply be coincidence: My wife paid off all of her Chase cards Monday morning and received the call with the results of the review Monday afternoon. These weren’t balances incurring interest, but rather activity on her Chase accounts (including the other two new cards) that wasn’t yet due for payment. She had contemplated paying off everything last week when this Financial Review business began, but opted to wait a few days to be sure that pending charges on her other cards went through properly. Did paying off her Chase cards push her through successfully? I doubt it — but I also doubt that paying them off would do much damage here. It was worth making those payments even if they didn’t help see her through the process.
If there is one key lesson we learned from Chase Financial Review, it was this: it’s possible to pass with flying colors. Unlike Amex Financial Review, which often requires tax forms and recent bank statements, the Chase Financial Review process seemed entirely internal, with no input from my wife expected or requested. I can appreciate that, though I do wish there were an automatic notification sent out when the account is frozen so that we wouldn’t risk being embarrassed in a checkout line when a card gets declined (which didn’t happen in this particular case, but could have). Notification or not, it all got fixed in the end, and my wife didn’t miss a beat in getting back on track with meeting her spending requirements — though I imagine she’ll lay low on gift card purchases for a bit.