Becoming A Responsible Homeowner

Five Tools And Services You Need To Know About If You Are "Unbanked"

Nearly 10 million households in the United States are unbanked, meaning that none of the adults in the house have bank accounts. The reasons for not having an account vary from job loss to dissatisfaction with high bank fees. If you are part of the unbanked for any reason, there are a range of services that you can use in lieu of traditional bank account services. Here are five you should know about:  

1. Payday Loans

Everybody, regardless of their income, needs an infusion of cash once in a while. If you have a bank account, you can access extra funds through a line of credit, or many banks also have direct deposit advance services where you can get an advance on your next paycheck.

If you don't have a bank account, however, that doesn't mean that you can't get an advance. Instead of getting an advance from your bank, you can get a payday loan. Payday loans from sites like are short term loans based on your income. They are funded very quickly, and you must pay them back when you receive your next paycheck.  

2. Money Orders

Money orders work like checks, and they can be purchased for just a few cents at many grocery stores, post offices or other places that provide money services. When you buy a money order, it looks very similar to a check in that it has a place for your signature, the recipient's name and the dollar amount. Make sure you keep the receipt – If you lose the money order, you can reclaim the funds using your receipt.

3. Money Wire Services

With a checking account, you can send anyone a check through the mail, but if you don't have a bank account, you need a get a little creative when sending money to friends or family. Rather than holding your breath as you send cash through the mail, you can send cash in much the same way that people used to send telegrams 100 years ago.

To send cash through a money wire service, you need to visit a company that specializes in sending and receiving funds. You then give them the money you want sent. The recipient picks up the money in another branch of that business using his or her ID or a secret number generated when you first sent the money. Money wire services can be used to send money to friends in remote places, but they can also be used to send money to businesses for bills or services as well.   

4. Prepaid Credit Cards

Unfortunately, there are sometimes items that cannot be purchased with checks or a money orders, and in these cases, you may need a credit card. Even without a bank account, you can get a prepaid credit card. There are two basic types of cards in this category. The first type consists of prepaid credit cards that you buy at grocery stores. These cards can be reloaded with cash as needed, but they do not appear on your credit report.

Alternatively, you can order a prepaid credit card from a company that specializes in this type of credit niche. Basically, you send the company some money, and they keep it in a savings account for you. Your limit is determined by how much money is in the account, but the card shows up on your credit report just like a regular card.

5. Fire Proof Box

Whether you have a bank account or not, a savings account can be critical. You can keep cash under the mattress, but if you want to ensure its safety, you should keep it in a locked and fire proof box in your home. Some researchers are even working on transforming everyday objects like lamps into spots for the unbanked to store cash.