Check cashers: moving from the fringes to the financial mainstream
Once relegated to the margins of the financial services industry, check cashing outlets (CCO's) are now more visible parts of the urban landscape. Check cashers offer convenient check clearing and bill payment services, mostly tailored to meet the needs of the "unbanked" in low-and moderate income communities. The industry has grown dramatically over the years and is generating new products and services to meet the needs of its niche clientele. While some argue that check cashers are offering marginalized lower income Americans more responsive products than those available from banks, ...
Landmark payday loan act in Illinois
On June 9, 2005, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed a landmark Payday Loan Reform Act that for the first time will regulate the payday loan industry in Illinois and strengthen protection to consumers, especially working families and members of the military against predatory and abusive practices. The Act became effective in December 2005. ; ?Payday loans are supposed to help working people cover unexpected costs and emergencies. They?re not supposed to break their bank accounts. We needed to do something about this, and we have achieved it,? said Gov. Blagojevich upon signing the law during a ...
Strategies for banking the unbanked: are they working?
Banks are looking at new approaches to serving the unbanked, but many barriers exist. KeyBank is a pioneer in offering banking services to the unbanked.
The latest frontiers for financial inclusion: Using mobile phones to reach the unbanked
The goal of community development should be to improve the lives of as many disadvantaged people as possible with a minimum amount of resources. The field can achieve this goal by identifying those community development projects that are both efficient and have significant social impacts, and then scaling up. However, without effective evaluations, it is impossible to gauge progress. Effective evaluations include randomized experiments and well-designed observational studies, both of which can measure the impact to society. This article analyzes the best evaluation methods in international ...
Financial access options for the underserved
This issue of Banking and Community Perspectives explores the features and limitations of two of the existing products and services for the financially underserved--prepaid cards and small-dollar loans.
Financial inclusion and consumer payment choice
This report examines similarities and differences among three groups of consumers: those without a checking or savings account (unbanked), bank account adopters who have used alternative financial services (AFS) in the past 12 months (underbanked), and bank account adopters who did not use AFS in the past 12 months (fully banked). Consumers in the three groups have different demographic characteristics, income, and payment behaviors: ?The payment behavior of the underbanked is similar to that of the fully banked. ?Unbanked consumers make fewer payments per month than the fully banked and the ...
General purpose reloadable prepaid cards : penetration, use, fees and fraud risks
Prepaid cards are the most rapidly growing payment instrument. General purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards, in particular, have gained considerable traction especially among the unbanked and underbanked. How these cards are used is now of acute interest to both policymakers, seeking to ensure broad access to electronic payment methods, consumer protection for prepaid cards, and payments system security, and to payment card industry participants, desiring to advance their product offerings and business models. This study examines the end-user experience of using a GPR card. It investigates ...
Driver of choice? the cost of financial products for unbanked consumers
This paper examines whether some of the unbanked consumers' choice of general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid cards over checking accounts and alternative financial service (AFS) products can be explained by the cost incurred by those consumers. We compare the three types of products by constructing consumer models based on the actual behavior of GPR prepaid cardholders and applying those models to the fee schedules of actual products offered in the market. Overdrafts are a major factor affecting the cost rankings. For consumers who regularly or occasionally overdraw their accounts, checking ...
Strategies for banking the unbanked : how bankers are overcoming entrance barriers
As consumer demographics continue to change, an increasing percentage of the U.S. population is represented by those of Hispanic origin. For financial institutions, this change is significant because many Hispanic consumers lack formal banking relationships. The are unbanked. This article discusses future population projections and how these changes are playing out in the Tenth District states. The authors also describe survey results from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's survey of Hispanic consumers in Garden City, Kansas. These survey results help explain why many Hispanic ...