A digital bank aimed at serving the Asian American community recently launched on Wednesday.
Cheese provides its own debit Mastercard (issued by the Coastal Community Bank) and is available to anyone, even those without a credit history.
Cardholders can use virtual cards and mobile wallets instead of physical cards.
Cheese also offers features such as a 3% deposit bonus for referring friends, an annual percentage yield (APY) of 0.3% and up to 10% cashback on purchases from over 10,000 merchants.
The platform was built based on the premise that Asian Americans are often subject to discrimination and “an unequal playing field” in the United States.
Co-founder and CEO Ken Lian, who immigrated from China in 2008, experienced such issues himself.
“I had paid thousands in unnecessary bank fees and been declined multiple times for basic bank accounts, even with an 800+ FICO score,” Lian wrote in a statement.
For these reasons, he co-founded Cheese with Zhen Wang and Qingyi Li.
“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,” Lian said.
After its official launch, Cheese pledged $100,000 to the Cheese Giveback Fund. This will be donated to nonprofits and community programs that address the racism, violence and economic struggles Asian Americans face amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The platform has also partnered with actor Jimmy Wong, who will serve as its Chief Community Ambassador.
“I am honored to join Cheese to help lead the way in protecting and revitalizing the incredibly diverse Asian communities across this country,” Wong said. “It is beyond important to us to create sustainable and lasting change. The team at Cheese genuinely believes in using their business and platform for good, and I passionately agree with that philosophy.”
Feature Images via Cheese