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Chase Blueprint is a new program for Chase credit card holders that is designed to help customers manage their money better. To do this, Blueprint offers four different payment and tracking programs.
- Full Pay
- Finish It
- Track It
Let's look at the four programs and how they work. There are no fees with any of the plans and you can cancel them at any time with no penalties.
Chase Full Pay Explained
How it Works:
Full Pay lets you use your Chase credit card like a charge card. You can track purchases, or categories of purchases, on your card separately and make the decision to pay them off by the end of the month, avoiding interest charges.
How it Can Help You:
If you typically use your Chase credit card for everyday purchases like groceries or gas in order to earn rewards points, using this Blueprint feature can help you keep your spending in check while you rack up the rewards.
The temptation to overspend on everyday items -- or even “luxury” items like restaurant dinners or new shoes -- is greater when you pay with a credit card. Knowing you're supposed to pay these items off at the end of the month may help you budget more carefully.
What happens if you can't make your payment in full? Nothing as long as you make the minimum payment due on the card.
Miss three Full Pay payments in a row, three Full Pay payments in six months, or fail to make the minimum payment on your card by the due date and your Blueprint privileges will be revoked.
But if you see you can't make a Full Pay payment, you can cancel that portion of your plan with no penalties and simply make your payments over time, paying interest on the purchases.
Split Blueprint Feature Explained
How Split Works:
Planning a major purchase? Want to make sure you pay it off in a reasonable amount of time?
“Split” is the Blueprint feature for you.
When you set up the Split It feature, Chase Blueprint separates a major purchase on your statement and applies a specific amount of your monthly payment toward paying off that purchase.
Simply enter how long you want to take to pay off the purchase, or how much of a monthly payment you want to make, and Chase allocates that money toward that purchase each month.
If you can't make at least 50% of the “Split” payment amount for three months in a row or three months in any six month period, Chase reserves the right to remove the “Split” plan from your account.
How Split Can Help You:
If you already carry credit card debt, large purchases can get “lost” in your existing balance. You don't want to be paying off that computer or flat screen TV long after it's obsolete -- which could happen if you're only making the minimum payment.
“Split” lets you set a specific goal to pay off major purchases. By knowing what you're paying for on your credit cards -- and working toward the goal of paying that item off -- you may pay off your debt faster.
Finish It Explained
How Finish It Works:
Ready to get out of debt? Finish It gives you a goal, a plan, and options.
Select a reasonable monthly payment you can make on your Chase credit card, enter your APR, and Chase tells you how many months before you pay off your credit card. Or you can enter a goal of how soon you want to be out of debt, along with your APR, and Chase Blueprint sets the payments you need to make each month to do it.
Your statement will show your minimum payment and your Blueprint payment. Again, if you fail to make at least 50% of your “Finish It” payments three times in any six month period, Chase Blueprint will take you off the plan.
How Finish It Helps You:
This is similar to turning your Chase credit card -- a form of revolving credit -- into an installment loan. Except you won't get penalties as long as you make the regular minimum payment.
Seeing that number on your statement each month may help you pay down your debt faster -- as long as you pay attention to it and follow the plan.
The Track It Feature Explained
How Track It Works:
Track It is like the Chase budgeting feature. You can set goals for different categories of spending and Blueprint lets you know if you've stayed within your spending goals.
How Track It Helps You:
Like other budget programs, such as Mint.com, this only works if you make all your purchases in a specific category using credit cards -- in this case, your Chase Blueprint card specifically. It's a great way for Chase to make sure you use your Blueprint card on all your purchases.
Although I haven't used this portion of Chase Blueprint yet, I'm skeptical of how well tracking works.
Superstores like Target and Wal-mart with grocery stores attached make this type of tracking practically pointless until the credit cards can actually itemize receipts. A typical trip to Target for me could fit into several different categories. While spending $50 on shoes in one month might not be great, spending that in food purchases could be considered frugal.
Bottom Line on Chase Blueprint
Chase Blueprint is an effective tracking tool to help you pay down your debt faster.
However, since there are no real penalties if you don't make the Blueprint payments (as long as you make your minimum payments) you'll still need discipline and good spending habits to really pay down your debt and raise your credit score.