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Data for today’s episode is provided by Mercator Advisory Group’s Viewpoint: The U.S. Population of Unbanked Individuals is Shrinking
Not All Who are Unbanked Want an Account:
- Out of 7.1 million total unbanked U.S. households, just 1.8 million are interested in becoming banked.
- 75% of unbanked households are “Not Very Interested” or “Not at All Interested” in having a bank account.
- Unbanked individuals rely heavily on cash, money orders, and bill pay services to make payments.
- They also rely heavily on payday loans, credit cards, and other expensive means to make ends meet.
- For some of the unbanked population, their lack of interest in becoming banked stems from a distrust of banks and credit unions.
- Most of the unbanked will need convincing that becoming banked is an improvement over their current habits.
The efforts of fintechs and, to a lesser degree, traditional financial institutions to provide robust banking solutions to the unbanked population through prepaid cards are helping individuals to safely store funds, receive deposits quickly, purchase goods, pay bills and get cash at reasonable costs while reducing the overall population of unbanked individuals, as explored in new research from Mercator Advisory group; The U.S. Unbanked Issue is Improving; Are You Part of the Solution?
“The wave of neobanks and challenger banks that has emerged in the last several years is playing an outsized role in helping to bank the currently unbanked. They join other fintech players to offer services with easy access, smart user apps and nearly free banking solutions, attracting millions of customers. Their sustainability is certainly in question, however. Currently these businesses operate at a loss or with thin margins and recent efforts to reduce debit card interchange, neobanks’ primary source of revenue, creates a new threat,” comments Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the report.