Save, Invest, Build Wealth

Help for the 10 Million Households Without Bank Accounts

By in Money Management, Personal Finance, Saving | 8 comments

Open a Bank Account-Step One in Financial Security

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According to CNN Money, there are 10 million U.S. households without bank accounts. The main reason 8.2% of American households don’t have a bank account is that they don’t have enough money to open and fund one. Living paycheck to paycheck is a reality for many Americans and yet figuring out a way to fund a bank account can be the beginning of an improving financial situation. I am concerned about the 8.2% of our society without banking.

You need a bank account to build wealth

You need a bank account to build wealth

Waiting in the check out line at Wal-mart I’m surprised at the masses waiting to pay a fee just to have a paycheck cashed. I abhor waste and hate to see others throwing their hard earned cash away on fees. Saving is difficult enough without throwing money away on banking fees. I believe if you have a bank account you should not have to pay. After all, any money in that account is available to the bank. They can lend it out to others and make a profit for themselves! Why should you have to pay the bank? In today’s low interest rate environment, you’re not getting any interest. The least a bank can do is give you an account without fees!

10 No Fee Checking Accounts

I recommend that you search for a no fee checking account. In Laura Edgar’s article entitled, Ten Free Checking Accounts; Nerdwallets Picks, there is a great list of 8 financial companies who offer free checking. You do not need to pay for a bank account! Make it a priority to plug those small leaks and start taking control of your financial life.

It is expensive to live and food and rent costs keep increasing. Yet, if you lack banking, it’s tough to get ahead. Make it a priority to get a free checking account.

Are Cash Cards the Answer?

A new financial option allows you to load your paycheck onto a debit card. What’s up with that? Where is the saving component in that equation? If you load all of your income onto a debit card, you will spend it. I assume you are also levied a fee (although I don’t know this for certain). This does not seem like a sensible idea for those trying to get their financial lives in order.

You need a bank to help you save for emergencies and the future. Without saving, you will be destined to live paycheck to paycheck and you will be more likely to incur wealth-stealing debt. You need a bank account to store your money and force you to save.

Lower Income Folks Can Get Ahead

Money management is not just for college educated, higher income people. My dad and mom started out working very hard trying to build wealth. My dad in particular was really poor growing up. Being poor is not a life sentence into poverty. Look at some of the McDonald’s workers. They may be making minimum wage, but if they hang in there, and get promoted to management, they can increase their income into the upper levels. On a recent radio broadcast, one McDonald’s manager was making a six figure income. If you aren’t making a lot of cash right now, it is extremely important to develop smart money habits. One of those habits is to save. It is really difficult to save without a bank.

If you have money in hand, more than likely you will spend it. One way to get ahead is get a checking account and savings account. No matter how low your income, try to save a bit of each paycheck. Watching your funds grow is motivating. You don’t have to be the smartest guy or gal. You don’t even need to earn a huge salary, but without an opportunity to bank, you are at a huge financial disadvantage. Open a free bank account. Consider visitng a credit union in your area or online bank for more free checking options. Do not get discouraged, banking is the first step in becoming financially secure.

image credit; google images_money_how stuff works dot com


  1. Without a banking relationship, you will probably need a check cashing place which we all know is expensive. A banking relationship usually starts with a checking or savings account and probably some borrowing such as a mortgage, car loan and hopefully a business relationship. It all begins in small steps!


    February 27, 2013

  2. I worked at a bank for about a year after college and was always amazed at the number of people who did not have a bank account. Often times it would be because they had been bouncing or kiting checks in the past. I’d hate to pay a fee to cash a check, it just makes no sense to me.

    John S @ Frugal Rules

    February 28, 2013

  3. You know, this is very different in the UK – I am not sure that one can survive without a bank account. In fact, couple of years back there was a homeless man sleeping rough in the entrance to my office. It so happened that there is a small sitting area there and an ATM – so I watched him take money out of his bank account. We do have something called a ‘basic’ account though.


    February 28, 2013

    • @Marie-Fascinating story. Homeless man with a bank account. I believe there are quite a few banking institutions which offer a “free basic” account.


      March 7, 2013

  4. It’s hard to imagine not having a bank account; I’ve had one since I was 6 months old! (literally) But, I know of people who don’t have one and it’s for the reasons mentioned in a comment – a bad habit with bounced checks. Solution to this problem: Personal finance really needs to be taught in schools!

    Little House

    March 1, 2013

  5. @Krantc, John, and Little House-My husband had a “banking day” at his elementary school. I know I had a bank account from at least age 8. In the old days there weren’t fees for banking. When our daughter was young we opened a special “kids” account where she could get prizes by making contributions. I hope this article can encourage the unbanked to open an account.

    Barbara Friedberg

    March 1, 2013

  6. Wow, over 10 million Americans with out a bank account is pretty large and astounding number. I actually pay to check for a few months after college and I will tell it is not pleasant experience. Any misfortune that happens in your life and you are back in heavy debt. Unfortunately, our society values instant gratification over hard work so I feel this might be even more of a problem in the years to come.

    Kevin Watts

    March 2, 2013

    • @Kevin-Exposure to the saving mindset is so important. I totally agree that the “instant gratification” mentality is a real problem. I’m trying to make a small mark to get folks to delay a bit and make some smart money choices.


      March 7, 2013

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