Sesame Cash Bank Account Review

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Updated on Friday, May 29, 2020

Credit and loan company Credit Sesame is getting into the cash management account game with Sesame Cash, a free bank account for Credit Sesame members. Perks of the account include early direct deposit for paychecks, up to $1 million in identity theft insurance and for a limited time, cash rewards and access to Credit Sesame’s credit score monitoring.

The non-interest bearing cash management account has its share of benefits and limitations, so read on to find out whether it’s worth a trip down Credit Sesame street.

What is Sesame Cash?

Sesame Cash is a free cash management account without any minimum balance requirements to maintain. You must be a Credit Sesame member to open a Sesame Cash account. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up for both accounts at the same time. Credit Sesame accounts are also free.

The account comes with a debit Mastercard that gives you free access to over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs around the world for withdrawals — you cannot use the debit card at an Allpoint ATM to deposit cash into your Sesame Cash account. You also can use the card for purchases, and add it to Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay for use on your mobile devices. If you lose your card, you can freeze and unfreeze it from within the Sesame App.

All Sesame Cash users also can benefit from their paychecks being deposited up to two days earlier than usual. Institutions are able to do this by choosing to deposit your direct deposit paycheck into your account as soon as the institution receives it, rather than holding it for those extra days.

Your Sesame Cash deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to legal limits through Credit Sesame’s partner bank, Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB). Sesame Cash account holders also benefit from up to $1 million in identity theft protection, provided by TransUnion.

Sesame Cash Rewards and credit check

Until July 1, 2020, Sesame Cash includes Sesame Cash Rewards, an incentive to help you build your credit. You can earn $5 for improving your credit score by 10 to 99 points in 30 days, or $100 for improving your score by 100 or more points in 30 days. The maximum reward you can earn in a rolling 30-day window is $100.

To qualify for Sesame Cash Rewards you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have an open and active Sesame Cash account.
  • Have a VantageScore® credit score of at least 300.
  • Make a deposit of at least $25 into your Sesame Cash account during each 30-day reward cycle, or make a one-time deposit of at least $100 into your Sesame Cash account.

Sesame Cash members also have until July 1, 2020 to take advantage of a free daily Credit Sesame credit check. As long as you have an account that is open, active and in good standing, you can access 30 credit score refreshes per month. To unlock this feature, you must also direct deposit at least $100 per month to your Sesame Cash accounts.

Without this promotion, Credit Sesame members still have access to one credit score or credit report refresh per month. There is also the option of purchasing 30 free refreshes for $4.99 per month.

Sesame Cash transaction limits

While there is no minimum deposit or balance requirement, there is a maximum Sesame Cash account balance of $20,000.

Sesame Cash does not charge overdraft fees. There are also limits on how much you can deposit, withdraw and purchase with the Sesame Cash bank account.

Sesame Cash Transaction Limits
TransactionDaily LimitMonthly LimitPer Transaction Limit
Direct Deposits & ACH Credits$8,000$20,000N/A
Linked Direct Deposit Credit$200$2,000N/A
ATM Cash Withdrawals$1,000$2,000$500
Purchases$5,000$20,000$2,500

Sesame Cash pros and cons

  • Cash Rewards (limited-time offer)
  • Daily credit score checks (limited-time offer)
  • Early payday
  • No monthly fee
  • Hidden ATM fees
  • Doesn’t earn interest
  • No credit-building tools
  • Low $20,000 maximum balance limit
  • No mobile check deposit through Sesame app

Sesame Cash’s greatest strengths are its limited-time features. Sesame Cash Rewards are a great incentive to improve your credit score, and free daily credit score checks are a solid way to keep an eye on your credit to see what’s working to boost it and what’s not. Unfortunately, these features aren’t here to stay unless Credit Sesame makes a change.

While Sesame Cash boasts no hidden fees, there are a few fees that you could run into that you would otherwise have to look for:

  • Out-of-network ATM withdrawal: $2.50
  • International ATM withdrawal: $2.50
  • Account closure with check refund: $2.00

Note that in addition to Credit Sesame’s out-of-network ATM fees, you may also face a surcharge from the ATM’s owner, which Credit Sesame will not refund.

Sesame Cash also has a relatively low maximum balance threshold at $20,000. This doesn’t open the account up to individuals with higher balances, and without any interest-earning capabilities, it’s not quite worth it to stash $20,000 in this account.

Besides its limited-time incentives, Sesame Cash doesn’t offer any credit-building perks. Sesame Cash’s transaction limitations may also be a drawback for potential users. Its direct deposit limits exclude anyone who may expect more than $2,000 from paychecks or other payments in a given month. The account’s restrictions also may be too limiting for those who typically withdraw cash often.

Further, you cannot deposit checks through the mobile Sesame app. You must download the Ingo Money app — a third party separate from Credit Sesame — and link it to your Sesame Cash bank account to do so. The Ingo app may charge a fee for mobile check deposit.

Sesame Cash vs. other cash management accounts

 Monthly feeAPYFDIC-insured?
Sesame Cash$0N/AYes, through CFSB
Betterment $00.40% APYYes, through nbkc bank
Chime$01.00% APYYes, through Stride Bank or The Bancorp Bank
SoFi$00.25% APYYes, through MetaBank, Hills Bank and Trust Company, EagleBank, East West Bank, TriState Bank Capital Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank

If Sesame Cash isn’t quite what you’re looking for, there are a handful of other cash management accounts to choose from.

Betterment Checking and Cash Reserve: One option is investment company Betterment’s Checking and Cash Reserve free cash management suite. The checking account trumps Sesame Cash when it comes to fees, as Betterment reimburses both domestic and international ATM fees, as well as Visa foreign transaction fees. However, Sesame Cash has higher ATM and debit card purchase limits than Betterment allows. But Betterment’s Cash Reserve savings account earns 0.40% APY in interest and offers spending and savings tools to help you better manage your money.

SoFi Money: Another cash management account you may want to consider is SoFi Money, which combines the benefits of a checking account and a savings account into one. This free account comes with a debit Mastercard and doesn’t charge any ATM fees and reimburses third-party ATM surcharges. It also earns cashback rewards in addition to 0.25% APY in interest.

Chime: If it’s the advanced paycheck you’re after, Chime is another free cash management account to look at. Chime can get your direct deposit paycheck into your account up to two days earlier than usual, and the account itself is light on fees, only charging $2.50 for out-of-network ATM use. Chime also includes automatic savings features and free overdraft coverage.

There’s also an optional Chime Savings Account add-on, which earns modest interest at 1.00% APY and doesn’t have a monthly fee or balance requirements. It also includes automatic savings features that can help you save with each purchase and paycheck.

Who is Sesame Cash best for?

Sesame Cash is best for Credit Sesame members who want to extend their free identity theft protection and use the early paycheck feature. Being a Sesame Cash account holder provides up to $1 million in ID theft protection, compared to the $50,000 in protection regular Credit Sesame members get. The early direct deposit feature is useful for just about anyone, but especially practical if you need that early access to pay your bills.

On the other hand, Sesame Cash is not a good option for those with high balances, thanks to its $20,000 maximum balance limitation. Sesame Cash isn’t the most reliable for building savings either since it doesn’t earn interest or offer any savings or budgeting tools like its competitors.

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