Before we get into all of the details, here is a brief overview: With Cheese, you:
- Can only open a checking account
- Have great opportunities for cashback
- Support Asian communities and immigrants
- Save an estimated $329 per year
You may have heard of banking through earning cheese. You also may be asking yourself what that term means and how it works. In this thorough Cheese account review, we analyze all the good, the bad, and the ugly. In just a few words, this is our overall finding:
In the current age of quickly advancing technology, brick-and-mortar banking may seem like a hassle. Cheese may be the perfect fit for you if you are looking to support Asian communities and immigrants through a cashback rewards program.
Pros, Cons, and Fees
As always, there are great things and not-so-great things about digital banks, including this one. In this section, we will give you an in-depth list of all of the information you need to know before opening a Cheese account as well as alert you about any fees that come with banking with Cheese.
I dug deep into the nitty-gritty of the terms and conditions to pick out all of the hidden information so that you do not have to.
- Supports Asian communities and immigrants.
- No minimum deposit amount is required to open an account.
- No account maintenance fees.
- No transactional fees, except on foreign transactions.
- Automatic cashback earnings.
- Up to 10% cash back at certain Asian-owned businesses
- 0.3% annual percentage yield.
- They have a strong, FDIC-insured partner bank: Coastal Community Bank.
- Every Cheese account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor.
- You may earn a 3% deposit bonus for referrals.
- You may be able to get your funds from direct deposit up to two days early.
- You will earn 0.25% cashback on every purchase.
- Equipped with bilingual support (English and Chinese).
- If you incur overdrafts or have a negative balance in your account, your account will be frozen and possibly permanently suspended.
- They do not accept cash deposits.
- You cannot withdraw more than $500 at an ATM on any given day and during a point of sale purchase.
- You cannot purchase more than $5,000 worth of goods or services on any given day.
- If you do not initiate any activity on your checking account within 120 days, Cheese views it as being “dormant” and may close it, and you still have to pay their scheduled fees.
- If you do not use your debit card for 90 days, Cheese may cancel the card, at which point it will be unusable.
- They do not accept third-party checks.
- The mobile app is available with iOS only.
- You can only open a checking account – not a savings account.
- $5 replacement fee after the first replacement.
- To reactivate or replace your card, even if Cheese canceled it without giving you prior notice, you have to pay a reactivation or replacement fee.
- When using your card at an ATM, you may be charged a fee by the ATM owner if it is out-of-network. The network they use is MoneyPass.
- $5 point of sale fees on foreign transactions.
- $10 incoming domestic wire fee, with one fee waived per year.
- $19 incoming international wire fee, with one fee waived per year.
Cheese bank is one of the fairly new, digital-only banks based in the United States. It has its headquarters in Pasadena, California. The focus of Cheese is to support Asian communities and immigrants, and of course, anyone is welcome to bank with Cheese.
However, they do greatly encourage Asian Americans and immigrants to bank with them. They have a program called the GiveBack program that aims to support certain focus groups that have been overlooked in the past.
The bank provides a fun facts page that details why they chose such an interesting name. Although many think of the food cheese when they hear the word, the bank uses it as slang to refer to money. However, they are pretty serious about the edible form of cheese as well.
Throughout their blog section, you can find articles detailing how to make tasty cheese dishes, the most expensive cheese in the world, and even facts about Chuck E. Cheese. Cheese is no joke to this company.
Who Can Open a Cheese Account
As long as you are 18 years of age or older and capable of forming a legally binding contract, you are eligible to apply for a Cheese account. Since this is one of the mobile banks, you must have access to a computer or mobile device with a working Internet connection.
Cheese encourages those who are interested in supporting Asian communities and immigrants to use their services.
How to Open a Cheese Account
Opening an account with challenger banks is pretty straightforward. Of course, you have to agree to the terms and conditions both from Cheese and from their partnered bank, Coastal Community Bank.
To open an account, you must first download the mobile Cheese app. It will ask for your name, residential address (which must be valid and within the U.S.), phone number, email address, SSN, and date of birth.
If you are planning to link an external funding account to your Cheese account, you must also have your banking credentials ready to use. Then, go ahead and deposit any amount into your Cheese account. Once you have money in your account, you should be all set!
The only type of account you can open with Cheese is a checking account. So, if you are looking to open a savings account, it may be in your best interest to look at other options as well.
Users who open an account with Cheese are likely driven by the fact that they can support Asian communities and immigrants while getting up to 10% cashback.
It seems as though people banking with Cheese choose to do so over doing business with a bank that has a more expansive variety of account options because of their desire to give help to those who need it.
How to Fund a Cheese Account
By linking an existing bank account to your Cheese account using login credentials, you can transfer funds easily and quickly from an external account into your new account. You also have the option to set up direct deposit.
Cheese does not accept cash and is specific about which checks they accept and which they do not. Again, these specifics are hidden in the Terms and Conditions. The company details that they do not accept third-party checks, but they accept some other checks if deposited via mobile check deposit within the Cheese app.
The Cheese App
The Cheese mobile banking app is only available to those who have a device with iOS. While the app looks very user-friendly and modern, the fact that you must have iOS is arguably limiting, especially since you cannot access your account from a web platform.
Can I Trust Cheese?
Cheese is very safe to use. Because Cheese is partnered with an FDIC-insured bank, the money you entrust Cheese with is FDIC-protected. Up to $250,000 in funds you deposit is protected. Additionally, every transaction is encrypted, as is your Cheese mobile banking app.
Who Owns Cheese?
The CEO of Cheese bank is Ken Lian. In a statement, he says, “I have always envisioned launching a digital banking platform that someone like me could easily access but also serves a deeper purpose, with the power to positively impact Asian communities. Cheese is that banking platform.” Mr. Lian is an immigrant.
If you are looking for a trustworthy bank to do business with and to support a great cause, this could be the right fit for you.
My mother is a first-generation immigrant, and it is so good to see that individuals care to look after people, such as my mother, who worked so hard throughout their whole life but have not yet received the recognition they deserve.
About the GiveBack Program
To fuel the GiveBack program, Cheese has partnered with Jimmy Wong, who is an actor and musician. He is also an advocate for Asian communities. Their aim is to pledge $100,000 to its GiveBack funds. They make a donation as soon as anyone signs up for Cheese.
This money will be put towards living out their mission statement of supporting Asian communities facing hardships and supporting nonprofit organizations in Asian neighborhoods. As of May 2021, they have pledged nearly $30,000 to nonprofit organizations geared towards uplifting the Asian communities.
In the modern society that celebrates differences and emphasizes minority groups, who have been marginalized for many years, the mission statement of Cheese is greatly appreciated. In light of recent social and political movements, there will likely be much public interest in this company.
Their current partners who help to give back to the community are:
- Asian Pacific Fund, which provides grants and scholarships to Asian American Pacific Islander residents who reside in San Francisco.
- Welcome to Chinatown, which focuses on funding businesses located within Chinatown in New York City.
- AAPI Women Lead, which strives to lift up Asian American Pacific Islander women who are dealing with racism and sexism.
- Southwestern Chinese Students and Scholars Association, which gives scholarships to international students.
Honestly, I have searched the web far and wide and have yet to come across a negative review. Except for those with lactose intolerance, such as myself, no one seems to have an issue big enough with Cheese to feel that they need to blast it across the Internet.
In the world today, where minority groups and differences are put in the spotlight, banking with Cheese appears to be a great way to support a focus minority group, Asian-Americans. Those who bank with Cheese are probably happy to do so because of the idea behind it.
Will Cheese Make You Say “Cheese”?
If all you are looking for is to open a checking account and start saving while you spend, Cheese could be your answer. Overall, the opportunities to save via cashback are plentiful, as long as the retailers participating in cashback are retailers you frequently buy from.
This may be a good company for you to bank with if you simply want to support Cheese in achieving their goals of giving back to Asian communities and immigrants. If you are part of the Asian community, are an immigrant, or just want to support Cheese’s cause, you may very well end up loving banking with this company.