The unbanked and underbanked aren’t withholding their business because of cultural reasons or because they have attitude, according to a new Aite Group study. “The truth is, people are unbanked for very practical reasons, such as credit, price, cash flow, and services issues,” Aite’s research shows: 43 percent of respondents cite credit issues or problems with a previous checking account; 53 percent are dissuaded by such fees as non-insufficient fund penalties for checks or debit card overdrafts, and 40 percent don’t want to pay monthly fees; 47 percent complain that they can’t get cash they need when they need it if it’s the bank; 31 percent don’t want to maintain a minimum balance; 19 percent say checking accounts are an inconvenient way to pay bills.
Service is another area of displeasure. Forty nine percent of those polled preferred the speed of service at a cash-checking operation, and 35 percent pointed to friendliness of service. Bad marks for banks included slow service (30 percent) and inconvenient hours (15 percent).
Even the term unbanked or underbanked may be exaggerated. Aite says a “high proportion of unbanked and underbanked consumers do have access to a bank card,” with the underbanked holding an average of 2.8 payment cards and the unbanked with keeping an average 1.3 cards in the their wallet. Just 3 percent of the underbanked are cardless, compared with 39 percent of the unbanked. And 79 percent of the underbanked hold a debit card, while 67 percent have a major credit card.