Credit Sesame Announces Sesame Cash Digital Banking Offering
Believe it or not, yet another FinTech is ready to play challenger bank, unveiling plans for a checking account and debit card. Recently the free credit score site Credit Sesame announced its new offering Sesame Cash. While existing Credit Sesame customers can now join the waitlist for the new product, it is expected to roll out to the general public sometime after that.
According to the company, Sesame Cash will be a free digital bank account, complete with a Mastercard debit card. In addition to waiving fees such as overdraft fees, minimum balance fees, maintenance fees, and more, users will also have access to a network of more than 55,000 free ATMs. Down the road, Credit Sesame also says that it intends to offer features such as smart bill pay, automated savings round ups, budgeting tools, and additional rewards for customers. Speaking of rewards, the account will also boast a cash incentive program, allowing users to earn up to $100 per month for improving their credit scores. Unfortunately further details on this program were not provided at this time.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Sesame Cash is that it includes some perks that are currently reserved for their paid service tiers. For example the new account will give customers daily credit score refreshes — something currently only offered to those with the company’s $9.95 a month Advanced Credit plan or higher (standard score updates are made monthly). Meanwhile Sesame Cash accounts will include $1 million in credit and identity theft protection compared to the regular $50,000 identity theft insurance that Credit Sesame users are entitled to.
With the launch of Sesame Cash, Credit Sesame will essentially one-up rival Credit Karma — which recently announced it would be acquired by Intuit for a cool $7.1 billion. Late last year the latter company introduced Credit Karma Savings. While it originally offered a 2.03% APY, that has since been slashed to 0.56% APY due to the Federal Reserve’s emergency actions. In any case, Savings is modest in its features whereas Sesame Cash aims to be a broader banking solution.
Discussing how the Sesame Cash came to be, Credit Sesame Founder and CEO Adrian Nazari explained in a statement, “Through the use of advanced machine learning and AI, we’ve helped millions of consumers improve and manage their credit. However, we identified the disconnect between consumers’ cash and credit—how much cash you have, and how and when you use your cash has an impact on your credit health.” Nazari added, “With Sesame Cash, we are now bridging that gap and unlocking a whole new set of benefits and capabilities in a new product category. This underscores our mission and commitment to innovation and financial inclusion, and the importance we place in working with partners who share the same ethos.” Additionally Mastercard’s executive VP of digital partnerships Sherri Haymond said of working with Credit Sesame, “We are committed to putting the digital economy to work for everyone, everywhere. We are pleased to team up with Credit Sesame to enable consumers to achieve financial stability, while also providing the technology and products that best meet their expectations and day-to-day lives.”
Currently it’s not exactly clear when Sesame Cash is set to start reaching customers, with their press release saying it should happen “soon.” When it does, it will be interesting to see exactly what features, such as the bonuses for improved credit, look like. More importantly for the company, can this unique offering help them to better compete with Credit Karma, which will soon have the backing of Intuit? We’ll see.