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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2014
FDIC Releases National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked
Unbanked Households Decline to 9.6 Million
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today released the results of the
2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, the most
comprehensive survey on the subject in the United States. The survey indicates that
the proportion of unbanked households declined from 8.2 percent in 2011 to 7.7
percent in 2013, while the share of underbanked households remained essentially
unchanged at 20.0 percent. The decrease in the proportion of the unbanked can be
explained by improving economic conditions and the changing demographic
composition of households.
Other key findings of the survey include:
* 9.6 million households representing 25 million people were unbanked in 2013,and the 0.5
percentage point decline in the proportion of unbanked households is estimated to comprise 1.5
million people and more than half a million households.
* One in five or 24 million households were underbanked in 2013, consisting of an estimated 68
* 35.6 percent of unbanked households reported the main reason for not having an account being
insufficient money to keep in an account or meet minimum balance requirements.
* 34.1 percent of households that recently became unbanked experienced either a significant
income loss or job loss that they said contributed to becoming unbanked.
* 22.3 percent of unbanked households reported using a prepaid debit card in the prior 12
months, compared with 13.1 percent of underbanked and 5.3 percent of fully banked households.
Also unchanged from 2011, is the finding that one-quarter of households have used at least one
alternative financial service (AFS), such as non-bank check cashing or payday loans in the past
year. In all, 12 percent of households used an AFS in the past 30 days, including four in 10
unbanked and underbanked households.
The Survey report drew three implications from the findings that could point
the way toward better meeting consumers' needs:
* Develop strategies to help households maintain or renew banking relationships through
economic transitions, such as job loss.
* Explore opportunities to deploy and market checkless checking accounts and other options to
meet the transactional needs of households; and
* Integrate mobile banking initiatives with branch-based strategies in overall efforts to address
2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households
** 7.7% of U.S. households were unbanked in 2013 (9.6 million households), down from 8.2% in
2011. The drop was driven by improved economic conditions and increases in household
** 20% of U.S. households were underbanked in 2013 (24.8 million householdds), meaning that
they had a bank account but also used alternative financial services in the last 12 months.
* The highest unbanked rates continued to be found among non-Asian minorities, lower income,
younger, and unemployed households.
* While still relatively high, the unbanked rate for Hispanic households decreased to 17.9%
in 2013 from 20.1% in 2011.
Household Banking Status Transitions.
Consistent with previous survey results, slightly less than half (45.9%) of unbanked households
were previously banked.
* In 2013, about 10% of unbanked households (0.7% of all households) became unbanked
within the last 12 months; 34.1% of these households experienced either a significant
income loss or a job loss that they said contributed to this outcome.
* On the other hand, 1.6% of all households became banked in the last 12 months. For
these households, 19.4% reported that a new job contributed to their decision; 34.2%
reported that receiving direct deposits as the main reason they opened an account.
Reasons Households Were Unbanked
57.5% of unbanked households reported not having enough money to meet a minimum balance
as a reason they did not have an account; 35.6% reported this to be the main reason.
34.2% of unbanked households reported their dislike of or distrust in banks as one reason they
were unbanked; 14.9% reported this to be the main reason.
30.8% reported high or unpredictable account fees as one reason they did not have accounts;
13.4% reported this to be the main reason.
Future Banking Plans of Unbanked Household.
The likelihood to open an account in the future is inversely related to how long ago a household
last held an account:
* About 75% of unbanked households that recently had a bank account reported being
somewhat or very likely to open another in the future vs. 25% of those that have never
been banked and 43% that last had an account more than a year ago.
Prepaid Debit Card Use. Prepaid debit cards have emerged in recent years as a fast-growing
payment method, particularly for the unbanked.
* 22.3% of unbanked and 13.1% of underbanked households used a prepaid card in the last
12 months, compared with 5.3% of fully banked households. Moreover, the use of
prepaid cards by unbanked households has grown from 12.2% in 2009 to 27.1% in 2013.
Alternative Financial Services Use
Consistent with previous survey findings, about 25% of households used at least one AFS in the
previous 12 months. AFS use continues to be relatively high among unbanked households:
63.2% used an AFS in the last 12 months. Use of AFS transactions (e.g. check cashing) are
much more common than the use of AFS credit (e.g. payday lending).
Methods of Banking
For the first time, the 2013 survey examines the various ways households access their bank
accounts. The results show that bank tellers and online banking were the primary methods relied
on by the largest share of banked households - about one-third of banked households primarily
used bank tellers and another third primarily used online banking.
Underbanked households were less likely to use online banking as their primary means of
but were more likely to use mobile devices as a primary method. For those that did primarily use
electronic means (online or mobile device) to access their account, most used additional methods
as well, suggesting that electronic means of access continue to be a supplement rather than a
wholesale substitute for consumers.