According to the 2011 Survey, 821,000 more U.S. households have become unbanked since the first survey in 2009, representing a 0.6 percentage point increase. More than half of all unbanked households said they do not have an account because they believe they do not have enough money or that they do not need or want an account. Certain segments of the unbanked population are inclined to open an account, with 33.9% reporting they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to do so.
Other key findings include:
- 8.2% of U.S. households are unbanked, representing nearly 10 million households. One in five of these unbanked households became so this year.
- 20.1% of U.S. households are underbanked, representing 24 million households.
- 29.3% of households do not have a savings account, while 10.3% do not have a checking account.
- About two-thirds of households have both checking and savings accounts.
- One-quarter of households have used at least one alternative financial service (AFS), such as non-bank check cashing or payday loans in the past year.
The FDIC has noted the Survey results suggest four possible lessons for policymakers, financial institutions, and others working to improve access to financial services.
- Understanding the characteristics of different segments of the unbanked and underbanked populations may increase the efficacy of economic inclusion strategies.
- Having a bank account does not guarantee long-term participation in the banking system.
- Households with banking experience appear to have more positive perceptions of having an account and rely less of AFS.
- Financial institutions interested in pursuing the market opportunity that AFS users present need to more clearly demonstrate the value in having a bank account to AFS users who perceive non-bank financial services to be more convenient, faster, less expensive, or to present lower barriers to qualification.