I saw an article about this on AP and just had to post some excerpts from it! Just blew me away. I couldn't believe that with as digital as our society has become we still have 1 in 12 people in America whom don't have bank accounts of ANY KIND... Grandma stuffing money under the mattress isn't the only one living outside the banking system.
As many as 28 million people in the United States are forgoing traditional financial institutions because of mistrust, cultural and language barriers or a belief that by the time all the bills are paid there will be nothing left for an account.
That can be expensive and risky. People can run up big fees to cash checks, pay bills and meet their other financial needs. Walking around with large amounts of cash can make them a target for thieves.
The bankless are estimated to earn hundreds of billions of dollars a year in income. Seeing a business opportunity, banks are trying to draw in these potential customers. So, too, are check-cashing businesses and retailers, including Wal-Mart.
Many people, however, still resist, preferring to remain in the financial shadows.
They tend to be minority - Hispanic or blacks especially - as well as low income and young.
According to the Federal Reserve, about one in 12 families - 8.7 percent - does not have a bank account.
The number is higher for the poorest - nearly a quarter of families earning less than $18,900, the Fed said, citing 2004 data.
For some, like Rosa Alvarez, the financial choices can be bewildering.
"I don't understand about this bank stuff," says Alvarez, 54, who lives in Texas. A nagging fear that she might make a mistake "if I don't keep up with it right or something" keeps her from opening an account. She had one once, briefly. But she had trouble keeping track of her balance. She thinks that when the account closed, she owed the bank $12.
Carlos Maren, 25, a cook, is afraid that if he opens a bank account in the U.S., he will get hit with fees for not keeping in enough money or for taking out more money than he has.
"My uncle sometimes says that it's expensive ... because getting a bank account...
Some of the different facts and figures came from different places... Below...
On the Net:
Federal Reserve: http://www.federalreserve.gov/
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency http://www.occ.treas.gov/
Financial Service Centers of America: http://www.fisca.org/
American Bankers Association: http://www.aba.com/default.htm
Consumer Federation of America: http://www.consumerfed.org/