The Federal Reserve finds a significant percentage of working Americans who have no bank account and no credit cards.
There are indications Americans are becoming more comfortable with their financial situation, but there are some Americans who are simply living their financial life in ways that are different than all the rest.
In the Federal Reserve’s extensive study of American finances, titled Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014, many questions revolved around banking and credit decisions. The report states that while a majority of individuals believe that credit is available to them if they need it, a sizable majority of individuals who have applied for credit had difficulty getting approved.
For instance, only 60 percent of those surveyed said they are either somewhat or very confident they would be approved for a mortgage if they applied. That of course means that 40 percent are less than somewhat confident they would be approved.
At the same time, just under one third of Americans who applied for credit in a 12-month period including most of 2014 were turned down or given less credit than they applied for.
Is it a surprise that only 76 percent of Americans own a credit card? Of those that do, 56 percent report they paid off their credit card bills in full throughout the previous year.
Is it a surprise to learn that 20 percent of Americans have no bank account or have used some form of alternative financial service in the past year? Those alternatives include a check cashing service, money order, pawn shop loan, auto title loan, paycheck advance or payday loan.
For the purposes of the study, 8 percent of respondents were called “unbanked’’, for they have no checking, savings or money market accounts. Twelve percent were called “underbanked’’, meaning they have a bank account but use alternative financial services as well.
Among those with an annual income under $40,000 a year, 17 percent are unbanked and 18 percent are underbanked, a total of 36 percent who do not bank in what is considered traditional fashion.
For 2014, 37 percent of survey respondents applied for some type of credit, an increase from 31 percent in 2013. Sixty-five percent applied for a credit card and 56 percent applied for an auto loan. Almost one quarter of those who applied for credit were denied at least once (equal to 9 percent of the total population).
Twelve percent of Americans who did not apply for credit in 2014 wanted to do so but 6 percent did not do so because they thought they would be turned down and 6 percent decided not to take on extra debt.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.