It might seem almost impossible to operate in today’s economic world without the use of a bank account, but a new survey suggests that many Americans are actually doing it, opting to finance their daily lives with quick cash services and prepaid credit cards.

A survey released earlier this week by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reported that 8.2 percent of American families -- 10 million of them -- conducted their day-to-day business activities without the use of a bank account. That is one million more families than in 2009.

It seems as if perception of not having enough money to open up a bank account is the primary reason why so many are going without one, with nearly 33 percent of those who participated in the survey claiming that was the reason.

Other key findings from the survey:

  • 21% of families say they have no use or need for a bank account
  • 8% claim they do not keep an account because they don't trust trust financial institutions
  • 5.4% say they do not use banks because of their high monthly fees and minimum balance requirements
  • 6.5% claim they had a bank account in the past, but were forced to close it due to insufficient funds and overdrafts
  • 7% reported not being able to open an account due to things like lack of proper identification and negative banking history
  • 12 percent of families use money orders, tax loans, pawn shop loans and high interest check-into-cash services
  • 18 percent use prepaid credit cards
  • Overall, nearly 30 percent of the American population is not utilizing a bank account to handle their financial needs

Banking experts say that maintaining a checking account can be troublesome and quite expensive for those families trying to get by on a minimum wage, paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle due to the likelihood of them being slapped with fees for not carrying the minimum balance requirement, as well as unexpected overdraft charges.


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