Cheese is a digital checking account that offers up a debit card you can use to earn up to 10% cash back at a variety of places (10K+ at last count). It is marketed towards immigrants and Asian Americans (many bonus categories are for Asian restaurants and stores) but there’s really no reason why anyone couldn’t use a Cheese account.
As is the case with companies like this, they are offering sizable bonuses for folks to sign up and try them out:
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How to Get up to $70 from Cheese
Unfortunately, Cheese shut down this bonus today, January 7th. 🙁
Cheese currently has a massive $70 referral bonus if you satisfy a few easy conditions, none of which include a direct deposit.
- Get $2 just for opening an account with Cheese
- Get $45 when you make a deposit of $50 or more
- Get $23 when you use the debit card to spend $5 or more
All told, it’s a $70 bonus for you if you deposit $50 and use the card once on a purchase over $5. I can’t think of an easier bonus to achieve, especially considering you don’t have to mess with any direct deposit!
This $70 offer isn’t always available so I’d get it while you can.
It’s App Only
It can be on Android or iOS but Cheese is only available through an app – there’s no login on the website. When you sign up, you’ll be directed to download the app and then do all of your business within that app.
The sign up process is fairly quick though and despite asking for a Social Security Number, there is no hard inquiry. I was up and running in a few minutes, the hardest part was my email when I accidentally added a space on the end and I couldn’t figure out why it kept saying it was an invalid email!
Referral / Invitation Code
When you sign up, on the screen that asks for your name, be sure to enter this Invitation Code:
You can also click this link to sign up. (but I’d make sure you enter the Invitation Code to be extra sure)
Connecting a Bank Account
Cheese uses Plaid to connect your bank accounts together, which makes it easy to transfer the $50 you need to get the $45 bonus. It took me only a minute or so to connect my bank and transfer $50.
From time to time, Cheese offers additional promotions to existing customers.
For example, in Thanksgiving 2021 (November 1 – November 30, 2021), they offered:
- $100 when you spent between $1,000 and $3,000
- $300 if you spend $3,000 or more
There were limits in that the total payout from the promotion was $100,000 but as long as you were swift, this was a pretty significant bonus (~10%).
Then, in December, they offered a promotion where you get $12 after making 12 transactions of $5 or more. I suspect this is an ongoing trend and something you could use regularly.
What is Cheese?
Cheese is a fintech company that offers banking services through Coastal Community Bank, which is FDIC insured #34403. They have a little over a dozen locations and are headquartered in Washington. They are a State Chartered Bank, member of the Federal Reserve System. Coastal Community Bank white labels a lot of banking services and is what’s known as a BaaS (banking as a service) provider. They’re still a bank but they work with other companies to offer services – such as Aspiration.
What Cheese offers two differentiators:
- A 3% deposit bonus for 30 days when you refer a friend that meets the referral requirements, with a cap of $25 each month
- A debit card that offers up to 10% cash back at over 10,000 stores, including many Asian owned businesses and restaurants.
- They also offer 2-day early deposit (which many other companies now offer)
How Does This Offer Compare?
For a bonus that doesn’t require a direct deposit, it’s great. The terms are so simply so easy to achieve and the bonus of $70 is much higher than similar services.
Compared to banks, it’s only OK but it doesn’t require a large deposit or a direct deposit, so it’s really not a fair comparison.
If you are curious, here are the best offers we know of right now:
Discover Online Savings Account – $150 or $200
Discover Bank is offering a $150 or $200 bonus when you open your first Discover Online Savings Account with the promotion code WH122 and deposit at least $15,000 into the account within 30 days. You get $150 if you deposit $15,000 or more and $200 if you deposit $25,000.
Chase Total Checking® – $225
Chase Bank will give you $225 when you open a Total Checking account and set up direct deposit within 90 days. There is a $12 monthly fee that is waivable with a monthly direct deposit of just $500, so no gotchas on this deal!
HSBC Premier Checking – $450
HSBC has an offer where you can get $450 for eligible new customers who open an HSBC Premier checking account and make recurring monthly qualifying direct deposits of at least $5,000 for 3 consecutive months. Click here to learn more about this offer.
Huntington Bank – up to $500
If you are a resident of Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia, or Wisconsin then you could get up to $500 from Huntington Bank for opening a new checking account. There are several checking accounts that qualify but they’re great offers if you live in their geographic region. Click here to learn more about Huntington Bank offers.
TD Bank – $300 or $150
TD bank has two bank offers for checking accounts and both are fairly easy to attain. For example, get $300 when you open a TD Beyond Checking account and receive direct deposits of $2,500 or more within 60 days of opening your account.