Protecting the Unbanked in Philadelphia

Full article as originally published on NPR.org

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Philadelphia just became the first large city in the nation to ban cashless businesses in the city, in part to protect people like some construction workers who don’t have a bank or credit card.

Nearly 13 percent of Philadelphia’s population — close to 200,000 people — are unbanked, according to federal banking data. That’s more than double the regional average.

Excerpt: The following is except from news article from PBS on Philadephia deciding to ban “cashless” stores.

The Unbanked and Underbanked in Philadelphia

Last fall, a veteran lawmaker in PA introduced a bill outlawing cashless businesses — shops and restaurants where customers can only pay with credit and debit cards.

The Mayor of Philadelphia signed it into law last week, making Philadelphia the first big city in the country to ban cash-free stores. Beginning July 1.

The PA lawmaker thought it was discriminatory for businesses to turn away low-income residents who don’t have bank accounts, a population often referred to as the “unbanked” or the “underbanked.”

Read The Full article on NPR.org


More on Cashless and Underbanked

2017 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households

The FDIC is committed to expanding Americans’ access to safe, secure, and affordable banking services. The FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households is one contribution to this end.

To assess the inclusiveness of the banking system, and in partial response to a statutory mandate, the FDIC has conducted the survey biennially since 2009.1 The most recent survey was administered in June 2017 in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, collecting responses from more than 35,000 households. The survey provides estimates of the proportion of U.S. households that do not have an account at an insured institution, and the proportion that have an account but obtained (nonbank) alternative financial services in the past 12 months. The survey also provides insights that may inform efforts to better meet the needs of these consumers within the banking system.

Estimates from the 2017 survey indicate that 6.5 percent of households in the United States were unbanked in 2017. This proportion represents approximately 8.4 million households.   Some other estimates put that number as high as 50 million. An additional 18.7 percent of U.S. households (24.2 million) were underbanked, meaning that the household had a checking or savings account but also obtained financial products and services outside of the banking system.

The 2017 survey examines a number of additional topics, including the methods that banked households used to access accounts, bank branch visits, use of prepaid cards, use of alternative financial services, saving for unexpected expenses or emergencies, use of credit, and the methods that households used to conduct financial transactions in a typical month.

See economicinclusion.gov for survey findings, the ability to generate custom tables and charts using 2017 and earlier years of survey data, and data downloads and documentation.

The 2017 survey report, executive summary, and other related materials are linked below. (All items are PDF files. See PDF Help for assistance.)

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