In our home state, we have 3.7% Floridian households (301,824) living completely without a bank account and relying solely on alternative financial services (outside traditional banking institutions). 17.9% Floridian households (1,468,335) are poorly or “under” banked, with at least one person holding a bank or credit union account, and yet still primarily relying on alternative options.
And these alternative options add up quickly! The use of money orders, check cashing, and money transfer services in 2021 were all more common among unbanked households, with almost one-third of unbanked households (32.3%) using money orders, compared with 8.7% of banked households.
The 2021 Economic Impact Payments report published by Brookings also shows that Americans spent approximately $66 million in fees to access their first federal stimulus payment — which wouldn’t have occurred if these individuals had a checking account. Moreover, throughout 2020 and 2021, three stimulus payments were distributed, and more dollars were provided by the Child Tax Care credit heading into 2022. Experts estimate that the amount of money that has gone directly to check cashing vendors is in the hundred millions. That’s money coming out of people’s pockets, which instead could be going toward funding their own savings accounts, education, or healthcare.
Studies also show that this issue affects more than just an individual or single household. Communities with households that have sufficient income see multiple benefits, including less traffic, decreases in healthcare spending, fewer communicable diseases, improved workplace productivity, lower crime rates, and high returns on investment in education, especially for early childhood education.
Having a bank or credit union account and actively using it to receive your funds through direct deposit is not only the fastest and most convenient way to access your money, it allows you to avoid expensive alternative options and keep more of what you’ve earned!
That’s why Heart of Florida United Way’s Bank On program is committed to helping Central Floridians open an account with a Bank On Certified bank or credit union they can trust.
What You Can Do
- Share this blog with friends or family, especially those who may be new to banking or managing their personal finances
- Donate to Heart of Florida United Way, so we can continue to provide financial literacy resources and awareness of financial empowerment to our community