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Comparing Costs of Financial Services: What is Non-Banking Costing You?

A December 2009 survey sponsored by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. found that approximately 7.7 percent of U.S. households are unbanked. That's 17 million people. It also found that an additional 17.9 percent of U.S. households, representing 43 million Americans, were underbanked. Together, some 60 million Americans either don't utilize traditional banking services or use alternative financial services to meet their needs.

Many of the unbanked and underbanked are people in low-income and minority households.  These households rely on alternative financial services, citing convenience or the ease of qualifying for a loan compared with a traditional bank. A significant portion rely heavily on simply using cash.

Type Description Monthly Cost Cost Per Year

Checking Account: eBanking with Bank of America

Checking account at an FDIC insured depository institution. Non-interest bearing.

$8.95 per month. Fees waived only when electing to bank only, use paperless statements and make deposits and withdrawals only at ATM - no teller.

$25 deposit to open.

$0 - $107.40
Check Cashing: Pay-O-Matic Check cashing service that charges on a per-cashed check basis. 1.91 percent of amount of check cashed. Varies. Assume $1,000 paycheck bi-weekly = $496.60
Wal-Mart Check cashing service that charges on a per-cashed check basis. Flat fee of $3, up to and including $1,000; $6 for checks above that up to $5,000. Varies. Assume $1,000 paycheck bi-weekly = $78. (For $1,001 or above = $156.)
"Under the mattress" Stashing money in the house or somewhere else considered secure and accessible. Free. Not insured, and subject to loss from theft, fire, flood, etc. Personal peace of mind; hassles from creditors, etc.

Your Money and You: The purpose of the website is to help provide you with better information regarding financial services. The choices you make with your money matter. The marketplace is awash with financial services products. Which are the best for you? Which best meet your needs? Which are the most cost efficient and will help you build wealth? This website is a resource for answering questions like those. By providing quality information we hope you can make more confident and informed choices about the financial services products that best align with your needs and your goals.