FDIC: Number of unbanked families drops to brand-new low

Nearly 96% of U.S. families had a depository organization account in 2015, according to the FDIC’s 2021 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, launched today. An approximated 5.9 million families—representing 4.5% of overall families—were unbanked, which is the most affordable unbanked rate considering that the biennial study started in 2009.

Approximately 1.9 million more families were banked than in 2019, when the last study was performed. While unbanked rates were greater amongst some racial and ethnic minority groups, the firm kept in mind the spaces had actually diminished considering that 2019, with the unbanked rate falling by 2.5 portion points for Black families, 2.9 points for Hispanic families and 9.4 percent for Native Americans and Alaska Native families, compared to 0.4 point decrease for white families.

About 21.7% of unbanked families mentioned “don’t have enough money to meet minimum balance” as the primary factor for not having an account, according to the study. “Don’t trust banks” was the 2nd most-cited primary factor. The percentage of unbanked families mentioning costs or minimum balance-related factors for not having a savings account fell from 38% in 2019 to 29.2% in 2021.

The FDIC likewise gathered information about the much wider “underbanked” classification, which was not determined in the 2019 study due to methodological issues and that includes families that utilized nonbank items such as cash orders, rent-to-own services and payday advance loan. An approximated 18.7 million families—or 14.1%—utilized nonbank monetary services and products in 2021, according to the firm.

In a declaration, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols stated a 17% reduction in the variety of unbanked from 2019 to 2021 “shows that a concerted effort by the banking industry, government agencies and community groups can make a meaningful difference in expanding access to banking services, even in the middle of a global pandemic.”

“America’s banks’ strong commitment to financial inclusion contributed to this progress,” Nichols included. “In particular, we want to recognize the growing number of banks that now offer low-cost, easy-to-use Bank On-certified accounts. Since ABA encouraged every bank in the country to offer Bank On accounts two years ago, the number has skyrocketed by nearly 700%, with certified accounts now available in more than 40,000 retail banking locations across the United States, from the very smallest community banks to the very largest global banks.”

Mobile banking boom

The usage of mobile banking amongst banked families in the U.S. jumped from 15.1% in 2017 and 34% in 2019 to 43.5% in 2021 and has actually ended up being the main technique for account gain access to, according to the study. The FDIC surveyed participants en routes they access their savings account and found a decrease in almost every classification other than mobile banking. At the exact same time, the firm kept in mind that using bank tellers stayed common amongst specific sectors of the population, consisting of lower-income families, less-educated families, older families and families outside cities.

The variety of families reporting utilizing a bank teller as the main technique of accessing their savings account dropped from 24.8% in 2017 to 14.9% in 2021. Households reporting utilizing ATMs/kiosks as their main technique fell from 19.5% to 16%, while computer-based electronic banking dropped from 37% to 22%. The variety of families mainly utilizing telephone banking was little however held consistent at 2.9%.

One brand-new concern in the 2021 study worried the family usage of nonbank online payment services “with an account feature that allows you to receive and store money in the account,” such as Venmo, PayPal and CashApp. Almost half of all families (46.4%) were utilizing online payment services at the time of the study. At the exact same time, 6.9% were utilizing pre-paid cards. The usage of pre-paid cards was much greater amongst unbanked families than amongst banked families, although using online payment services was much lower amongst the unbanked.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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