Black and Hispanic Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to be unbanked or underbanked, meaning they either don’t have a bank account or mostly use things like check cashing services or payday lenders.
Low-income families are more than six times as likely as wealthier families to fall into those categories. People of color and low-income people are also more likely to not have a credit score, according to a new report from the Joint Economic Committee in Congress.
“Usually people are unbanked or underbanked because they don’t have enough money to have a ‘free checking account,'” said Mehrsa Baradaran, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. “Most checking accounts have a minimum account balance, which, if you go under, you will get charged.”
A lot of people can’t afford to leave hundreds of dollars or more just sitting in the bank, she said.
“The other problem is, there’s a lot of communities in America that don’t have a bank branch that is close to them,” according to Baradaran.
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