Study: Rate of Un/Underbanked U.S. Households Still Hovers around 28% (Oct. 30, 2014)
While more than a quarter of American households still were either unbanked or underbanked last year, as was the case in 2011, the proportion of unbanked households declined to 7.7 percent or 9.6 million households, compared with 8.2 percent in 2011, according to the latest report from the FDIC. The percentage of underbanked households remained relatively unchanged at 20 percent, or 24.8 million households.
The report attributes the decrease in the number of unbanked to improving economic conditions and changing household demographics. “Compared to 2011, households in 2013 had slightly higher levels of employment and income, and were slightly older and better educated. These characteristics are all associated with a higher likelihood of having a bank account,” according to the survey conducted every two years with the U.S. Census Bureau. The survey defines unbanked as people who do not have an account at an insured institution, and the underbanked are those who have an account but also have obtained financial services and products from nonbank, alternative financial services providers in the last 12 months.
The survey revealed that 22.3 percent of unbanked households reported using a GPR prepaid card in the previous 12 months, compared with 13.1 percent of underbanked and 5.3 percent of fully banked households. The 2013 survey, for the first time, addressed how consumers access their bank accounts, and noted that underbanked households (29.2 percent) were slightly more likely to use mobile banking devices to access their accounts compared with fully banked households (21.7 percent).
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