FDIC: Number of unbanked households falls to new low

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Nearly 96% of U.S. households had an account with a deposit-taking institution last year, FDIC says 2021 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, released today. An estimated 5.9 million households, or 4.5% of total households, were unbanked, the lowest rate since the start of the biennial survey in 2009.

Around 1.9 million more households were banked than in 2019, when the last survey was taken. While unbanked rates were higher among some racial and ethnic minority groups, the agency noted that the gaps had narrowed since 2019, with the unbanked rate falling by 2.5 percentage points for black households, 2.9 points for Hispanic households and 9.4% for Native Americans and Alaska Natives. households, against a fall of 0.4 points for white households.

About 21.7% of unbanked households cited “not having enough money to meet the minimum balance” as the main reason for not having an account, according to the survey. “Don’t trust the banks” was the second most cited main reason. The proportion of unbanked households citing fees or minimum balance reasons for not having a bank account fell from 38% in 2019 to 29.2% in 2021.

The FDIC also collected data on the much broader “underbanked” category, which was not measured in the 2019 survey due to methodological issues and which includes households that used non-bank products such as as money orders, rent-to-own services and payday loans. An estimated 18.7 million households, or 14.1%, used non-bank financial products and services in 2021, according to the agency.

In a reportABA Chairman and CEO Rob Nichols said a 17% decrease in the number of unbanked people from 2019 to 2021 “shows that a concerted effort by the banking industry, government agencies and Community groups can make a significant difference in expanding access to banking services, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

“The strong commitment of US banks to financial inclusion has contributed to this progress,” added Nichols. “In particular, we would like to recognize the growing number of banks that now offer low-cost, easy-to-use Bank On certified accounts. Since the ABA encouraged all banks nationwide to offer Bank On accounts two years ago, the number has skyrocketed by almost 700%, with certified accounts now available at more than 40,000 retail banks. across the United States, from the smallest community banks to the largest global banks.

Mobile banking boom

Mobile banking usage among banked households in the United States increased from 15.1% in 2017 and 34% in 2019 to 43.5% in 2021 and has become the primary method of account access, according to the ‘investigation. The FDIC asked respondents how they access their bank accounts and found a drop in almost every category except mobile banking. At the same time, the agency noted that the use of bank tellers remained prevalent among certain segments of the population, including low-income households, less educated households, older households and households outside metropolitan areas. .

The number of households reporting using a bank teller as their primary method of accessing their bank accounts increased from 24.8% in 2017 to 14.9% in 2021. Households reporting using ATMs/kiosks as their primary method are fell from 19.5% to 16%, while – online banking fell from 37% to 22%. The number of households primarily using telephone banking services was low, but remained at 2.9%.

A new question in the 2021 survey asked about household use of non-bank online payment services “with account functionality that allows you to receive and store money in the account”, such as Venmo. , PayPal and CashApp. Nearly half of households (46.4%) were using online payment services at the time of the survey. At the same time, 6.9% used prepaid cards. Use of prepaid cards was much higher among unbanked households than among banked households, although use of online payment services was much lower among unbanked households.

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