Research Outline

Reasons for Being Unbanked


To understand the reasons why unbanked Americans do not use any financial services by specifically looking at the top three reasons people are unbanked.

Early Findings

  • According to a survey conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), "more than half of unbanked households cited not having enough money to keep in an account, 30 percent said they don’t trust banks and 9 percent reported banks are in an inconvenient location."
  • According to Pyments, "34 percent of consumers without bank accounts said their main reason was they did not have enough money to keep in a bank account, 12.6 percent said their lack of accounts was due to a distrust of banks, and 8.6 percent said the fees were too high."
  • Since "most banks require a mandatory minimum deposit to open and maintain an account, not having a sufficient or steady flow of income could automatically exclude low-income households who live paycheck to paycheck from using banking services."
  • Unbanked Americans turn instead to alternative financial services because these services "do not require a consistent balance in an account and thus are much more accessible upfront."

Summary of Findings

  • There are minimal available resources regarding the reasons Americans are unbanked. These available resources were cited above. Sources are mostly saying the same thing, that people are unbanked primarily because of not having enough money, distrust in banks, and the bank's inconvenient location.