Cheese, a digital bank for immigrants, rolls out rewards geared towards Asian-owned businesses
- Digital bank Cheese signed up with Dosh to launch its cash back rewards program for its Asian American and immigrant customer base.
- The program lets customers earn 10 percent cash back on purchases at over 10,000 retailers including Asian American businesses.
Cheese, a digital bank for immigrants and Asian Americans, recently inked a deal with cashback platform Dosh. The partnership enables Cheese customers the chance to earn money back during check out at more than 10,000 retailers and restaurants.
Consumers get 10 percent cash back on popular brands such as Costco, Dunkin’, Adidas and Shake Shack. The partnership is also geared towards Asian-owned businesses that have been harshly impacted by the pandemic.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, Asian American small business ownership dropped by 26 percent in April of 2020. The number of overall active business owners in the U.S dropped by 22 percent from February to April in 2020.
“We are witnessing an incredible movement across the United States focused on creating social change often rooted in economic incentives to support underrepresented voices across our communities,” said Cheese’s CEO Ken Lian. “Our partnership with Dosh means being able to support Shake Shack and Dunkin', but it also means being able to support mom and pop shops that invest in and are the backbone of their local communities.”
Cheese accounts are accessible to all U.S citizens aged 18 and above and are available to individuals with or without a credit history. The account features advance pay up two days early with direct deposit, a 3 percent deposit bonus for referring friends, and a 0.3 percent annual percentage yield (APY).
"As a mission-driven business, it’s our goal to find ways to put money back in people’s wallets when they spend on everyday purchases," said Ryan Wuerch, CEO and founder of Dosh. "We are proud to be supporting Cheese customers by offering access to cash back from more than 10,000 brands and retailers.”
Cheese was launched in March of 2021. The digital bank offers zero-fee, rewards-based banking and supports Asian-American and immigrant-owned businesses and at-risk communities. It contributes a portion of its transaction fees to its Giveback Fund, which partners with nonprofits and grassroots initiatives such as the Asian Pacific Fund and Welcome to ChinaTown which supports Manhattan Chinatown businesses. Customers have the option of donating any amount of their rewards or their sign up bonus to the fund.
Asian Americans are often subjected to racist model minority myths that negate meaningful action towards financial equity. “Asian-Americans are hard working Americans who want access to financial security and stability. Yet, they have been faced with generations of direct and indirect discrimination that has deterred whole communities from building wealth,” said Lian.
Cash back reward systems can become exclusionary when they do not factor in diversity within consumer shopping experiences. “Rewards and cashback programs have historically been blind and deaf to diverse communities. The need to evolve and customize programs to significant consumer segments is long overdue,” said Amir Hemmat, CEO of Welcome Tech, a data-driven platform for immigrant consumers.
Cheese aims to confront the issue by tapping into Asian American retailer preferences. “While developing our program, we received valuable feedback on our customers’ favorite local spots.This helped our team not only implement some of the most popular brands, but also many mom and pop shops that are beneficial to the community to support,” said Lian.
“No other cashback reward program offers as many Asian American stores or restaurants where customers can earn rewards.”
When done well, money back programs can help bridge savings gaps. “We all know it is expensive to be poor in the U.S., so custom cashback programs can lessen the burden while encouraging positive customer behaviors, including saving money which will help pay down debt and improve credit scores,” said Hemmat.