Sesame Cash Review: Build Your Credit

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
SCORE
GOBankingRates Best Banks 2023 scores and rankings are objectively determined by our research/editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors that differ from category to category depending on what consumers want from varying products and banks.
Quick Take: Sesame Cash is an offering of Credit Sesame, a company that was founded to help consumers improve their credit scores and make good credit decisions. Sesame Cash is a deposit account with a fee-free virtual debit card that is offered by Community Federal Savings Bank. The Sesame Cash debit card also works as a secured credit card to help build your credit.
  • Sesame Cash Account
    4.6
  • Credit Builder
    4.6
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Banking Experience
    4.3
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Build or repair your credit
  • Get cash back on debit purchases
  • Learn to make smart financial decisions

Cons

  • No interest
  • No other banking products or services

Sesame Cash Overview

Sesame Cash is not a bank, but a neobank. It is a deposit account with a debit card that is offered through a partnership with Community Federal Savings Bank. Designed for those with poor or no credit, Sesame Cash acts as a debit card and as a secured credit card, which can help you build or improve your credit.

Sesame Cash is an offering of Credit Sesame, which was founded to help consumers understand and improve their credit scores. Membership with Credit Sesame is free and is required to open a Sesame Cash account.

Key Features

Here are some of the top features of Sesame Cash.

Sesame Cash Account

The Sesame Cash account helps you manage your money and build or improve your credit. You have your paycheck direct deposited into your Sesame Cash account up to two days early. Then, you use the debit Mastercard to pay your bills — to providers that are listed in the app — and make purchases. You can withdraw cash at over 50,000 Allpoint ATM locations.

You can also get cash back at some merchants when you use your Sesame Cash card to make purchases there. The amounts vary and new offers are being added all the time, so check the website for the latest deals.

You need to be a Credit Sesame member to get Sesame Cash, but there’s no fee to join.

Credit Builder

Sesame Cash Credit Builder is, as the name implies, a way for you to build your credit using your Sesame Cash account. To use Credit Builder, you have to open a Sesame Cash account and deposit some money into it. You’ll get a Sesame Cash debit card.

Next, you use some of that money — you decide how much — as a security deposit for what Sesame Cash calls a “virtual line of credit.” As you use your debit card for purchases, those purchases are added to your credit line, and the balance is automatically paid on time, every month. Then, Credit Sesame reports your on-time purchases to the credit bureaus.

The key here is to identify a part of your money as a security deposit and then not use all of it. You can tell Credit Sesame how much you want to use — 30% is optimal. This means that, as far as the credit bureaus are concerned, you have a credit utilization rate of 30% or less, which is what they’re looking for.

Fees

There are no fees to open a Sesame Cash account, and no fees for Credit Builder. Because the Sesame Cash card acts as a secured credit card, and your balance is paid off in full from your deposit each month, there are no interest charges, either.

Banking Experience

One of the best ways to improve your credit is to stay on top of your spending and your score, and that requires a really great app. The Credit Sesame app has a rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 on the App Store, and 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google Play.

Credit Sesame also offers financial education materials for free on its website, so you can learn about a variety of topics, from credit to investing to ID theft.

However, Sesame Cash doesn’t offer much in the way of full service banking, so if you prefer to keep all your accounts in one place, another option is probably better for you.

Comparable Neobank Options

Sesame Cash is a little unusual with its emphasis on credit score, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only game in town. If you’re looking for a solution to help with your cash flow and your credit score, here are a couple of other neobank options for comparison.

Albert Cash

Albert Cash is a spending, saving, and investing tool that lets you manage your money on the app. It offers a Genius subscription, which includes additional features like automatic savings, budgeting assistance and expert advice.

While Albert Cash offers investing and budgeting tools, it does not have the focus on building your credit score that you’ll find with Sesame Cash.

LendingClub Bank

If your issue is credit card debt, LendingClub might be able to help with a debt consolidation loan. They also offer checking and savings accounts that are designed to help you reach your financial goals.

You’ll find fuller service banking with LendingClub than you’ll get from Sesame Cash, but fewer resources specifically designed to build your credit.

Final Take

If you have a poor credit score, Sesame Cash might be a good option for you. A better credit score means you can enjoy better rates on things like mortgages and auto loans. A poor credit score — or no credit score — can be very expensive, and tools like Sesame Cash can help you get out of that trap.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some common questions about Credit Sesame and Sesame Cash.
  • How does Sesame Cash work?
    • Sesame Cash is a deposit account with a debit card that also acts as a secured credit card. Part of your deposit is designated as a deposit equal to your line of credit. When you make purchases using the debit card, they are debited to your credit line, up to a percentage that you name.
    • At the end of the month, Sesame Cash pays the credit line, using the funds in your account, in full and on time. It then reports your on-time payment to the credit bureaus, improving your credit score over time.
  • How do I withdraw money from Sesame Cash?
    • You can withdraw money with your Sesame Cash debit card at any of over 50,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide. There's no fee to use an Allpoint ATM. You can also withdraw your security deposit by calling Sesame Cash Customer Care at 866-720-0893.
  • How do I use my Sesame Cash card?
    • You can use your Sesame Cash card as you would use any debit card. You must have enough money in your account to cover your purchases. If you are using Sesame Credit Builder, you must also have enough money to cover the security deposit you've agreed to.
    • You can only use the percentage you set for your security deposit, because you improve your credit score by having a percentage of your credit available at all times.
  • Can I withdraw money from Credit Sesame?
    • You can withdraw funds that you have available as long as you maintain the amount of your security deposit for Credit Builder, if you have opted in to this feature.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

Lending Club: Rates from 5.99% to 35.96%* APR. Best APR is available to borrowers with excellent credit.

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About the Author

Karen Doyle is a personal finance writer with over 20 years’ experience writing about investments, money management and financial planning. Her work has appeared on numerous news and finance websites including GOBankingRates, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, USA Today, CNBC, Equifax.com, and more.
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