How Many Americans Are Unbanked?

According to information provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), more than 17 million adults in the United States are unbanked. This means that millions of U.S. citizens age 18 or older choose to manage their finances without the use of a checking account, savings account or other types of traditional bank offerings. An increasing number of people are turning to non-traditional methods that include using check cashing services, using money orders to pay bills and using debit cards that are not associated with traditional bank accounts.

More facts about Americans and banking:

  • Along with the 17 million Americans who are unbanked, an additional 43 million are considered underbanked. Members of this larger group might have basic accounts such as savings and checking accounts, they rely heavily on check cashing services, payday loans and pawn shops to borrow money and pay bills.

  • Check cashing services are a popular alternative to using bank services. The typical check cashing service will charge 1 percent to 3 percent of the total amount of the check as a service fee or will charge a flat fee if the check is for less than a certain amount.

  • Personal savings per adult declined sharply during the 1990s, with the personal saving rate reaching an average rate of zero in the early years of the 21st century. That zero rating was the lowest in the U.S. since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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Discussion Comments


No one trusts banks anymore. The bail-outs, fees, constant policy changes, etc. are many reasons why there is no trust.

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