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posted on 22 August 2016

Access To Electronic Payments Systems For Consumers Without Banking Accounts

from the Kansas Fed

-- this post authored by Fumiko Hayashi

In 2013, nearly 8 percent of U.S. households, or about 17 million U.S. adults, did not have a checking or savings account (Burhouse and others). Many of these consumers - who are considered "unbanked" - rely heavily on cash to meet their transaction needs.

Some consumers may choose not to have a bank account solely due to personal preferences such as for privacy. Others, however, may be influenced by factors they cannot control, such as minimum requirements to open accounts and high fees. If the latter is the case, access to more affordable electronic payment products could enhance unbanked consumers' economic well-being by reducing the cost and time associated with payments and broadening their options of where to make purchases.

Increasing unbanked consumers' access to and use of electronic payment products are high priorities among policymakers around the world (Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and World Bank Group). Payment services are, in their own right, an important part of the overall package of financial services, but they also serve as an entry point to other financial services such as savings, investments, loans, and insurance. The Federal Reserve's mission in payments is to foster the integrity, efficiency, and accessibility of U.S. payments and settlement systems to support financial stability and economic growth.

Promoting electronic payments systems with broad public access is key to achieving accessibility as well as efficiency

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Source: media/ files/ publicat/ econrev/ econrevarchive/ 2016/ 3q16hayashi.pdf

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