10 Million Homes Don’t Have Bank Accounts

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(Photo Credit: MGN Online)

By Blake Ellis

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The number of people who don’t have bank accounts is on the rise, as many Americans turn to alternative ways of getting cash — like payday loans, pawnshops and check-cashing services.

About 8.2% of U.S. households, or nearly 10 million, lack a bank account, according to a report released Wednesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That’s up from 7.7%, or about 9 million households, in 2009.

Instead of putting their money in a bank, many Americans who either don’t have easy access to bank branches, are denied accounts because of past account mismanagement or prefer not to use banks, are resorting to less mainstream ways of getting the money they need.

Over the last year, a quarter of households have used at least one form of alternative financial service like a money order, check cashing service, tax refund anticipation loan, pawn shop, rent-to-own service or payday loan. And about 12% of households have used one of these products in the past 30 days.

Related: I was denied a bank account!

In addition to the one in 12 Americans who don’t have a bank account, there’s a group of people known as the underbanked. These are people who have access to bank accounts but who still choose to use these alternative ways of getting cash. About one in every five households is considered underbanked, representing 20.1%, or 24 million, U.S. households. That compares to a rate of 18.2% in 2009.

Altogether, more than one in four U.S. households, or 28.3%, are either unbanked or underbanked.

The FDIC conducted its survey with the U.S. Census Bureau in June 2011, surveying nearly 45,000 households. The FDIC’s last comprehensive study on the unbanked was released in 2009.