Oct. 24, 2018 — The number of U.S. households without a bank account continued to fall in 2017, according to the latest FDIC unbanked and underbanked survey. Unbanked households declined to 6.5 percent last year, the third consecutive decrease and the lowest rate since the agency began the survey in 2009.
The unbanked rate was down from 7.0 percent in 2015 and the high of 8.2 percent in 2011, largely attributed to improving socioeconomic circumstances. One in six of these households visited a bank branch in the past year, possibly offering an opportunity to inform them about products and services that would meet their needs.
Underbanked U.S. households—those with a bank account that have nevertheless used alternative financial services in the past 12 months—were also down. In 2017, 18.7 percent of U.S. households (24.2 million) were considered underbanked. That is 1.2 percentage points lower than 2015.
Unbanked and underbanked rates were higher among lower-income, less-educated, younger, and minority households, as well as households headed by individuals with a disability or with incomes that vary from month to month.
For banked households, the survey found that mobile banking use nearly doubled to 40.4 percent, with 81 percent of those households also visiting a branch at least once in the past 12 months. Further, nearly 13 percent of households demonstrated unmet demand for mainstream small-dollar credit, while one in five did not use mainstream credit in the prior 12 months.