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Poll: Which Financial Tools Do You Use?

February 9, 2014 Economy, Featured, Weekly Poll 9 Comments

I’m learning more and more about the “unbanked” and “underbanked” citizens in our community. From September 2012:

The percentage of households in the St. Louis region that are ‘unbanked’ rose to an estimated 9.7 percent in 2011, according to a survey released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Wednesday, an increase from 7.6 percent in 2009, when the survey was last conducted.

The percentage of unbanked African-American households soared to 29 percent locally, among the highest rates in the nation, though down slightly from the last survey.

Nationally, 8.2 percent of U.S. households, or about 10 million, are unbanked, an increase of about 821,000 households since 2009. (stltoday)

A year ago a local effort was made to spread good financial literacy:

Financial institutions, community based organizations, social service and faith based agencies, community leaders, local and state officials, advocacy groups and grassroots members formed to create the St. Louis Regional Unbanked Task Force. The Task Force’s mission is to identify and address systemic and individual barriers that prohibit unbanked and under-banked households from utilizing traditional banking products and services. The Task Force is using data from sources such as the FDIC, Neighborhood Data Gateway, and data collected by individual member banks in a variety of ways: to understand and educate people about the need, to help set goals for the number of unbanked households who will open and maintain new accounts, to target marketing and outreach initiatives, and to measure their progress. The Task Force’s first major initiative, driven by data about the specific needs of the unbanked and underbanked in the St. Louis region, will be BANK-On SAVE-Up, which is launching February 21, 2013. (source)

The Bank On Save Up St. Louis program

Which brings me to the poll this week:

Q: Not everyone uses all available financial tools, which of the following do you use? (check all that apply):

  • Checking account at brick & mortar bank
  • Checking account at brick & mortar credit union
  • Checking account online
  • Savings account at brick & mortar bank
  • Savings account at brick & mortar credit union
  • Savings account online
  • Investment portfolio
  • Retirement account through employer
  • Credit card(s) paid each month
  • Credit card(s) with a balance each month
  • Debit card(s)
  • None: no checking, savings, debit, credit, portfolio

The poll is in the right sidebar, the answers will be presented in random order.

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  • JZ71

    Clarification / confusion – when you say “Credit card(s) paid each month”, I’m assuming that you mean paid in full / paid off each month – “Credit card(s) with a balance each month” also need to be “paid each month”.

    And where does checking with interest fall into this continuum, along with CD’s (certificates of deposit)? They both pay minimal interest, but are (nearly?) as safe as a dedicated “savings account”, that also pays minimal interest.

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      Yes, paid in full. I didn’t distinguish between interest & non-interest checking or consider CDs.

  • RyleyinSTL

    Why would someone choose to be “unbanked?” My regular checking account has no fees. Assuming you have a social security number you’d be daft not to have a bank account.

    • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

      Agreed, but financial literacy isn’t something everyone has learned.

    • Fozzie

      Most people who don’t have accounts are running from creditors or child and spousal support payments..

      • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

        Untrue! “Among the main reasons people cited for not having a bank account in the FDIC’s report were a lack of money or that they didn’t need or want an account, didn’t trust banks, thought the fees and minimum balance requirements were too high or were denied accounts because of identification issues or bad banking track records.” See http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/14/pf/bank-account-states/

        • RyleyinSTL

          Sounds like the issue is 95% ignorance…”didn’t need an account?!”

          • http://urbanreviewstl.com/ Steve Patterson

            In a way yes, many are financially illiterate. We’re not born with good money habits, these skills must be learned.

        • JZ71

          ID issues, as in illegal aliens? Locally-legal drug industry (Colorado)? The biggest issue for the truly poor is the fee structure – if you’re barely scraping by, paycheck to paycheck, leaving even $100 in an account (for “free” checking), untouched, or seeing the account wiped out by overdraft fees, is difficult or impossible.

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