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Chase Blueprint Payment Program Review

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If you’ve been watching any TV, visiting any financially focused website, or have opened a financial magazine or newspaper, you’ve probably seen a Chase ad and information about their “Blueprint” program. They’ve done a huge media push over a program that, while a little innovative, only helps people who are carrying a balance. With the average credit card debt, it’s refreshing to see a credit card company offer up tools to help people pay down debt.

I think there are two reasons they’ve pushed these features out. First, it’s great PR to have a credit card company offer features that help people pay down debt. Second, it’s great business to have a credit card company offer features that help people pay down debt because it means they are less likely to default on it! I read the August 2009 Nilson Report, a credit card industry trade magazine, and it listed Chase has having the most outstanding debt at nearly $166 billion. A good customer is a paying customer, not a bankrupt one.

The Blueprint program has four components: Full Pay, Split It, Finish It, and Track It.
Chase Blueprint Program components

Full Pay

When you don’t carry a balance, you get a grace period until the statement payment due date before interest begins accruing. When you carry a balance, you lose the benefit of the grace period. Once you make a purchase, interest begins accruing immediately. The Full Pay system lets you choose from fourteen “every purchases” categories that will be interest free as long as you pay them off in full each month.

For example, let’s say you have a $1,000 credit card balance that you’ve been paying down each month. Normally, if you bring your clothes to the dry cleaners and charge it to your card, interest accrues on that purchase. With Full Pay, you can select “Laundry/dry cleaning” as one of your Full Pay categories and that purchase amount will be added to your “BLUEPRINT payment.” As long as you make that BLUEPRINT payment, you don’t accrue interest on that purchase.

If you don’t make that BLUEPRINT payment but are still current, making your minimum payments, you’re OK as long as you don’t miss the Full Pay payment three out of any six month period.

The Full Pay Categories are:

  1. Department Stores and Catalog
  2. Dining
  3. Drugstore
  4. Entertainment
  5. Gas and Convenience Stores
  6. Grocery Stores
  7. Health clubs and Membership
  8. Laundry and Dry Cleaning
  9. Office and School Supplies
  10. Salon and Beauty Supplies
  11. Transit
  12. Utilities
  13. Wholesale Clubs and Discount Stores
  14. All blink Purchases

Split It

Split It let’s you take one large purchase and “split it” across several months of payments. They have calculators that help set your monthly payment amount based on how many months you want to take to pay it off. You don’t get any interest benefit from using Split It, they just do the math for you, calculating how much interest accrues and ensuring you pay it off within the specified time period.

While a nice feature, I don’t think you should be making large purchases on your credit card if you can avoid it. If you’re talking furniture, electronics, home improvement, or some other large purchase, you can usually find favorable financing options or go the old fashioned route – save until you can afford it.

That being said, having this feature is better than the options other credit card companies give you – which is nothing.

Finish It

Finish It is a lot like Split It except instead of looking at one large purchase, it looks at your entire balance. You tell the tool how much you want to pay or how quickly you want to pay down your balance and it does the calculations for you. Again, no interest benefit for setting up this program.

Track It

Track It will automatically categorize your purchases and let’s you set a budget for each category. It’s a bit like a light version of personal finance tools like Mint and Quicken (which I suppose are now going to be the same thing), but only for your Chase card. A nice little feature but I feel like this is like the toothpick on a Swiss army knife. Yeah it’s nice that it’s there, but how often do you pull out the knife to use the toothpick?

Conclusion

Overall, I think it’s great that Chase is offering up these tools to help people better manage their debt. I think that one of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re trying to achieve a goal, in this case paying down debt, is to establish a plan. Chase is offering just that.

What Cards Offer Blueprint?

Right now, the Chase Platinum, Chase Freedom(SM), Chase Sapphire(SM), and Slate(SM) from Chase all offer the Blueprint system. Right now, my vote would probably be to the Slate(SM) from Chase card or the Chase Freedom(SM).

{ 23 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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23 Responses to “Chase Blueprint Payment Program Review”

  1. lostAnnfound says:

    It’s ironic that you wrote about this because we just received our Chase bill in the mail today and there was a flyer advertising the Blueprint program. This is one of our debts that needs to be paid off. I’ll have to check out this program to see if can help us to achieve that goal.

  2. Eric says:

    I’ve seen this ad so much recently it’s sickening :P

  3. Wow, I must be living under a rock, because I’ve really never seen the ad! ;)

  4. I’ve seen the Chase Ads for Blueprint, and frankly, I’m unimpressed.

    There’s a subliminal message in the Chase commercials that implies (in fact sells, in most cases) that carrying credit card debt is a responsible thing to do, as long as you use their nifty tool to manage it.

    For instance, they show a very well-spoken, African American married couple giving a presentation about how they needed a new refrigerator, so they set-up split payment on their credit card. They implied that by managing their debt this way, they made a “responsible decision” and the card encourages them to “use the card to make big purchases, then pay down in the future.” They can choose “how many payments to make”.

    The reality is that we should be encouraging saving BEFORE you make purchases. Paying 18% interest on a credit card is NEVER responsible, no matter how cool the online interface is that allows you to TRACK, SPLIT, or whatever.

    Let me put it this way. If you have a gambling addiction, it’s not responsible to use a nifty tool to manage your gambling, no matter how much that tool helps you “gamble better” or “more efficiently.” Now, I recognize that carrying credit card debt is SOMETIMES unavoidable. In those situations, the most important thing is to get the debt paid down and stop living in a place where you need to use that debt … not to get addicted to a fancy tool that encourages you to continue.

    • Disgusted Reader says:

      Are you kidding me? What does the AA couple being well spoken have to do with the advertisement? Did they not meet your standard of the coonery filled shucking and jiving that you’ve come to expect?

      Bigoted pig!

  5. Nan Roberts says:

    I’m interested in the TrackIt feature, but I can’t figure out how to set the program up. Following the steps on the Blueprint website just logs me into my account page, and there I am, nowhere to go.

  6. Soccer9040 says:

    I have seen a million ads for it and they keep mailing me to let me know my chase card now has the blueprint on it. I just think its going to make people feel like they should be using their card more (which is what chase wants, good advertising I guess), but I wonder if it will help keep people current on paying their bills. It might just delay the inevitable of people defaulting on their CC debt.

  7. Chris says:

    Fred, you have a good point there. Basically, the Blueprint program seems to be a way to sell the card to people who want to be more financially responsible, but it subtly tricks them into making worse choices in some cases.
    I’m a Chase credit card customer, and I just noticed that since I’ve activated Blueprint, I can no longer chose to pay the last statement balance in their online banking application. Instead, I get the options to pay the current balance (which includes purchases made after the statement was issued), make the minimum payment, or make the “Blueprint payment”, which is the balance that is computed from the Blueprint plan you set up.
    Apparently, all of these choices are financially worse than paying the statement balance. The first one gives Chase an interesting-free cash advance by paying of a balance that isn’t even due yet, and the other two let me accrue interest by not paying off the whole balance. Of these two, Blueprint is the “more responsible” option, since the payment will be bigger than the minimum payment. But the “most responsible” choice, paying of exactly the statement balance, is only achievable by manually entering the statement amount.

    Nice one, Chase!

  8. marcus jones says:

    I started out with a Washington mutual credit card.
    I always paid more than my minimum pmt. and always on time. Chase bought out Wa Mu raised my intrest rate and closed my account. I am paying down a $2,500.00 bal. at 100.00 per month. I now owe 1,723.00 at $46.00 interest per month. I was given a raw deal by Chase Bank

  9. annie NJ says:

    I’m not happy with the Chase Blueprint. It’s a fraud. It’s deceiving the public into believing that it’s “helping them”. They charge fees and penalties, when they claim they do not.

    We started on the plan: $2,255 payable over 17 months, monthly amount of $154.25. The total interest on this amount would be about $367.

    So what does Chase do every month? They charge me an EXTRA $19 monthly interest on this supposed Blueprint balance.

    So my overall balance keeps increasing by about $19 every month instead of decreasing!

  10. Aileen FL says:

    I also have a Chase credit card account, and while I agree with Fred, if one is disciplined enough to live within one’s own means i.e. limits of income earned and live within one’s own budget, then credit cards are not really all that necessary. However, since our economy is set up on credit card systems and not lay-a-way systems, it is an unavoidable evil. Now I tried the Blueprint Finish It, and cancelled before I implemented. It did lower my monthly payments from $225 to $122 at my current rate, however, once the balance was paid, they wanted an agreement to an interest rate of 25.4%, which I do not agree with. So most likely, I’ll pay off my balance in 19 months or earlier, and just close this account.

  11. dbmor10 says:

    I joined. I can’t get out. Now, when I try to pay my full balance, it only pays the BluePrint full balance and I am no longer able to (online it seems) pay my actual full balance to avoid finance charges and accumulate rewards.

  12. JerryLuiz says:

    Hello Guys,
    chase BLUBRINT IS A SCAM, dont use it.I transferred about $7000 from my chase platinum card to BOA card. I had just $637 balance on my chase platinum card, and put all of it on Blueprint FINISH IT at $150/month. for the Last two months I see a Fee called “Promotion Interest Fee” of $75.98 on my Chase CC statement, this is alongside my regular interest charge of $18.75 , I called them and they said its the interest that that I would have paid had i left that $637 for the remaining of the year, so I have to pay it now as an “Promotion Interest Fee” because I elected to pay-off that amount in monthly chunks of $150

  13. dan says:

    Unfortunately I have to agree that this one is a scam. I made an oversea payment with Blueprint and they charged me a high commission fee for this transaction. It means anytime I’m using this card abroad I’m going to pay extra. No mention whatsoever about this kind of fee in the introductory agreement. A fee like this never applied with other cards I used in the past. Shame!

  14. Disappointed Chase Customer says:

    I thought I had cancelled this Blueprint thing, I really didn’t find use for it. I logged into my Chase account and noticed a $25 Blueprint balance! I had followed the steps listed on the website to remove all features associated with Blueprint, why am I still getting charged for something I don’t use?

  15. monica says:

    I am glad to see this comments. We are disappointed with Chase blueprint. It’s a scam. They don’t tell you that they are charging double interest on the Blueprint information page. The only way to find out is AFTER you sign up for one of their plans you get hit with daily interest and promotional interest, in addition to the Blueprint interest: a total of 21%, instead of 10%. Their Blueprint program is a scam.

  16. ry says:

    there is an underlying problem with blue print i found out today and I’m not even sure if it totally leagal or not. i signed up for blueprint full pay for my account. I also did a balance tranfer. i have been charging items on my card believing that under the Card 2009 law that was implace that all my payments I was making were going to the items i was charging on. After all that was the point of the law. A BIG NOPE. Find out that because of the full pay any amount over the full pay amount goes and i quote from the operator, “goes where chase wants.” So i gee i wonder where they wanted to put it. You guessed on the 0% balance transfer amount. So here i think i’m doing great instead i have a $2.5k amount going to be hit at a 12% interest. That just sounds like i said breaking the law they instated to stop that exact thing happening.

  17. Chaseme says:

    I can only comment about the ‘full pay’ option, which allows some purchases to have a grace period.

    Here is the quote from my statement:

    “Your last FULL PAY payment was made in full. You were not charged interest on the purchases that were included in
    your FULL PAY purchase categories!”

    This is not a scam and can save a person a few bucks monthly.

    • Kent says:

      @Chaseme and others,

      Please be aware that “Full Pay” categories do not cover all purchaces even if you selected all 14 possible categories.

      I’ve enrolled on FULL PAY, selected every single categories, thinking my statement would be paid in full every month…Five months later, I found out some purchases were not included in the categories. I was getting charged for interests silently. The reason why I didn’t catch it for so long is because the statement is misleading, (i.e., FULL PAY – paid in full, minimum balance 0, etc).

      I logged on the site to find the option to pay the full statement…not available! I called customer service. “Yes, we are aware it’s not available, there’s nothing we can do. You have to cancel BLUEPRINT to renabled it”. You have to wonder what is their motive behind designing a system like this. I agreed to cancelling BLUEPRINT so I can have auto-pay my full statement balance (the same idea behind FULL PAY). Since there is no de-enrolled option on the site, I am at the mercy of the “person-over-the-phone”. She politely said she would cancel it and it takes 1-payment cycle to take effect. It has been more than 1 cycle, almost 2, and I am still enrolled in BLUEPRINT.

      Why make a “FULL PAY” product line that doesn’t allow you to fully pay your bill? A simple 15th category to include MISC category would have solved this…but then interest accruing situations like some reader have commented would have not occurred. Is this by design?

  18. J.D. says:

    Thankfully I read all this. I no longer carry credit card debt with Chase(I signed on to Providian, who was bought out by WaMu) and was thinking about using blueprint so I didn’t have to pay interest on gas and groceries. Guess they figured out a way to get their interest chages anyway.
    I’ll just keep mine the way it is and continue to pay the full amount each month.
    Blueprint, no thanks.

  19. Sue says:

    Chase paid off my low-interest promos with my Blueprint payments, leaving me with growing high-interest balances after I had just paid those off. In the 4 months Sep.-Dec. 2011, I paid MORE THAN MY MINIMUM PAYMENT PLUS EVERY PENNY I CHARGED, EVERY MONTH. In Sep. I owed 292.85 @ 23.24% interest and $1128.08 @ 5.99%. In Dec. I owed $179.01 @ 5.99% and $908.26 @23.24%!!! Blueprint is a financial scam to get around the recent consumer-protection legislation that says they have to pay off the high-interest portion with anything you pay over your minimum. Blueprint ups the “minimum” so they can use it to pay off low-interest balances instead of high-interest ones while you merrily run up a huge charge balance even though you’re paying as you go!

  20. Tony says:

    Blueprint does work…but, not if you are poor, and use your card allot.If you buy a TV that cost, lets say 2000.00 that month, next month your blueprint due is going to be 2000.00 plus what ever else is on that plan. If you brought some groceries that same month for 300 dollars, blue print min will be 2300.00, depending on the grace period. See how that works.. Theoretically, it acts just like an a American Express Card..and that card is definitely not for the poor. If you can’t afford it, don’t use it…


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