Approximately 95 percent of U.S. households had bank accounts in 2019, based on a new survey from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
For this survey, FDIC partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to collect responses on banking from approximately 33,000 households across the United States. The two organizatons have collaborated on the survey on a binnial basis since 2009.
The study, entitled How America Banks: Household Use of Banking and Financial Services, found that only 5.4 percent of U.S. households that were “unbanked,” or that did not have a bank account during 2019. This was a record low for the survey, which started in 2009.
Since the previous survey in 2017, roughly 1.5 million households gained bank accounts. The percentage of unbanked U.S. households was 7.6 in 2009 and reached its peak at 8.2 percent in 2011. That number has steadily decreased, dropping to 7 percent in 2015, 6.5 percent in 2017 and 5.4 percent in 2019.
“It is encouraging that a record number of households had bank accounts in 2019, though we continue to pursue actions to create a more inclusive banking system,” FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams said in a statement. “New products and technologies have the potential to bring even more people into the banking system and the FDIC will encourage this important innovation.”
Not having sufficient money to meet balance requirements was the primary reason for individuals not having a bank account, according to the survey. Almost half of the respondents – 48.9 percent – cited minimum balance requirements as a reason why they did not have an account. Twenty-nine percent said this was the main reason for not having one.
Other notable reasons cited for not having bank accounts included a lack of trust in banks, seeking more privacy, high bank fees and unpredictable fees. In total, 36.3 percent of those surveyed without bank accounts said they didn’t trust banks while 36 percent avoided them for greater privacy.
More than half of individuals who were unbanked in 2019 had previously had a bank account. There were 50.4 percent of the total number of unbanked who had previously had a bank account, which was higher than in 2017 and 2015, which 47 percent and 47.3 percent, respectively, of the unbanked reported having a bank account in the past.