Cheese Checking Account Review: No SSN Required, 0.3-3% APY Savings, Debit Card Rewards

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[This review has been revamped and reposted on 5/13/21. Originally posted on 1/6/2020. These have been written by Evan Mullen. See his prior posts here.]

The Cheese Checking Account is now available for iOS, and should be available for Android in June. The account structure has been revamped since originally writing about it, updated review can be found below. 

Cheese Checking

  • Direct Link
  • My iOS referral link, which gets you an initial 3% APY (must be used on mobile)
  • My Android referral link (TBD), which gets you an initial 3% APY

Cheese is targeted for immigrants and Asian Americans, but the account actually offers several competitive banking features. Here are the major highlights of the account:

  • No SSN required to open account (this feature should be available in May)
  • FDIC-insured up to $250,000
  • No Fees
  • Paycheck up to 2 days early
  • Cashback debit card
  • Interest checking

They are also currently donating $10 for every new user until June 10th, up to $90,000.

Cashback Debit Card

There is a base 0.25% cashback rate on the debit card. They also have higher cashback offers from Dosh, and some additional exclusive cashback offers which they plan to continue to grow. Here are the current exclusive offers:

  • 5% on phone bills (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Mint Mobile, Cricket)
  • 1% on pay later services (Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay)
  • 5% at McDonald’s
  • 2% at Target
  • 2% at Uber Eats
  • 2% at Instacart
  • 2% at Wendy’s
  • 5% at Asian Lifestyle: Chowbus
  • 3% at Weee!
  • 3% at Yamibuy
  • 2% at Fantuan
  • 2% at HungryPanda
  • 2% at Doordash
  • 2% at 99 Ranch
  • 2% at H Mart
  • 2% at MINISO

There is a $25 minimum cashback redemption and a $10 daily maximum for the 0.25% and exclusive offers. (Dosh maximums are separate.)

Interest Checking

The basic APY is 0.3%.  If you are referred, you and the person who referred you will both receive a boost to 3% APY for 30 days. The referrer stacks on another 30 days to the 3% boost for each additional referral. The 0.3% APY has no cap, but the 3% APY has a monthly cap of $25. So if you have the 3% boost for the month, anything over about $10,000 would only earn 0.3% APY.

Final Thoughts

Though targeted for immigrants and Asian Americans, this account could also be very useful to international students and people with poor or no credit history. Even if you don’t fall into any of these categories, the account still has some unique aspects. The current features that stand out the most for me are the 5% cashback categories and the 1% on pay later services. It will be interesting to see what other exclusive offers get added in the future.

 





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