Almost 10 million are "unbanked" - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Almost 10 million are "unbanked"


Americans in almost 10 million households say they don't have a bank account according to a report out this week from the FDIC.

They are sometimes referred to as "unbanked."

The report said people choose to go without a bank account because they say they don't have enough money to open and fund one.

One expert said bank accounts can be costly for people living paycheck to paycheck.

Julie Scott said she got tired of fees associated with bank accounts, like an overdraft charge if a direct deposit was delayed, or the fees for ordering checks.

Scott said she got rid of her bank account four years ago, and went to a prepaid Visa card.

She said she can still direct deposit her paycheck onto the prepaid card.

Scott said for the most part she sees pros to getting rid of her account, but said occasionally there is a con.

"The only issue I have is on the off chance I get a holiday check or something, since I don't have a local bank account, if the bank that issued the check isn't local like Bank of America or something that I can go to and cash it, then I kind of went into an issue of trying to find someone to cash that check for me, because Walmart with only cash payroll checks, Schnucks will only cash payroll checks, that's really the only issue I've found," said Scott.

She said there is a $3.00 charge if she doesn't deposit $1,000 on the card each month.

Scott said for her, the prepaid card is better than an account.

"Some people really like the overdraft protection, I personally, it's not a savings account when it's an overdraft protection, you pay heavily when it's overdraft protection cause you pay heavily to overdraft your account," said Scott. "With my Visa card I can't do that, whatever money's on there is what I have to spend, and that's it."

Scott said the card also helps with monthly budgeting.

Other people said services like check-cashers, payday loans, tax refund loans, or money orders can be much higher than a bank account fee depending on how much you use those services.

Some experts say you don't have the same legal protection with a prepaid debit card as you do with a bank account debit.

According to the FDIC report, almost 10 percent of Missouri's population goes without a bank account, and the numbers only increase in more Southern states.

If the idea of getting rid of your bank account sounds appealing, Scott suggests trying out a prepaid card before you close your account.

You can see the study here.

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