There are a few key milestones in consumer financial services lifecycles and opening a checking account used to be one of them. Opening a checking account meant that one was on their way to some kind of financial stability. However, this Pew study quantifies some of the problems low income households face in establishing and maintaining a depository relationship with mainstream banks. Recent changes to checking account and debit card fee structures may serve to push even more of this segment outside of traditional banking channels, and that is not good news for the overall economy.
There are high stakes for lower-income households in having a bank account as the study found that those households with bank accounts were also much more likely to save money, even in a depressed economy.