The Number of Americans Without a Bank Account is Falling

October 26, 2020

The number of U.S. households without a bank account fell in recent years. According to a biennial survey the FDIC conducts, the unbanked rate fell from 6.5% in 2017 to 5.4% in 2019. About 1.5 million additional households saw at least one member open a checking or savings account. The rate of those without a bank account fell to the lowest level since the survey began in 2009.

The FDIC attributed the decline to the general economic health of the country in 2019, which saw the unemployment rate fall to the lowest level in 50 years. The report also warns that the historic disruption caused by the pandemic may disrupt the trend of increasing access to banking.

The most common reason for not having a bank account was the inability to meet minimum balance requirements. Most banks charge monthly fees for accounts, unless the customer maintains a certain balance, sometimes several hundred dollars or more.

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