Assisting the unbanked and the underbanked

It has been reported that nine million American households continue to be unbanked. This is concerning as a bank account is one of the essential financial tools available. However, the unbanked and the underbanked are resourceful. They use alternative financial services such as check cashers, payday loans, and prepaid cards to maintain a sense of normal behavior. For the average consumer, these financial alternatives are inconvenient and inefficient. But, for the unbanked and underbanked, they are a genuine necessity. 

Many government agencies and private initiatives have attempted to redress this issue, although there continue to be systemic failures in delivering an inclusive alternative to the problem. The burgeoning advancement and growth of AI and IT, and the prevalence of the mobile phone, are but two tangible examples of how the situation can be addressed – cheaply, inclusively, and successfully.

It does not take a Ph.D. to work out ways to utilize available technological tools to sensibly intervene in and prevent the problem. Readily available to the conventional banks are mobile banking apps, such as Monzo, Chime, and Youtap’s white-label banking apps. These are just three of the many mobile banking apps that are now proliferating throughout the financial sector. This technological ubiquity ensures that essential tools and applications can be implemented to include the unbanked and underbanked into mainstream banking practices. 

These applications, and their legion competitors, provide a voice for the underserved within the traditional financial sector. It is this substantive voice that the financial sector needs to court, particularly if they want to maintain market share and profitability in the coming years. Looking after the underbanked by giving them freedom, normalcy, and a voice will add to the sense of care and community in these pandemic times.

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