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Living Bankless

The CBC had an interesting article about the growing number of Bankless Americans. One in twelve families do not deal with banks in the U.S., but a lot of it may be the same reason folks on welfare in Canada can’t cash their cheques: the Banks do not want their business.

In Canada, one of the most significant issues is Banks refusing to open bank accounts for people with no fixed address, who usually live on government assistance. These folks cannot cash their cheques at the bank (and maybe put some money in a bank account, or worse, cannot afford $20 a month to leave money in their account), so they have to go to Cheque Cashing places, which charge usury fees to cash the cheque! These places are the modern-day equivalent of the Loan Shark (in my opinion).

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Banks are a funny business in that they can actually turn away customers yet still have obscene profits (remember the best way to make income from a bank is to buy their stock).

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I still cannot believe our politicians won’t take a stand on making something about accessibility to basic services. Every bank should offer one free chequing plan with a minimum of included transactions and no unfair fees (and it shouldn’t be up to them to decide what’s included). Same with telecoms, I know it kind of exist already but since up to the corps to decide what the basic plan is, they make sure it is crap so no one actually chooses it. Cheque cashing should not be a line of business.

  2. Better than nothing, I guess, but why not allow for no fee, if you buy a minimum of $50 or whatever? I think this whole thing is a shell game, that I don’t like.

    But it’s a start, as long as they don’t have to use Money Mart!


  3. Wal-Mart is providing some banking services in the US. For example, cheque cashing for $3. That can help customers without bank accounts.

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