As debate rages over the role of banks in society today, a sizable number of Americans continue to have no bank account at all.
Close to one-third of consumers who recently closed their bank accounts cited overdraft fees, account balance minimums and other charges as reasons why they put their money elswhere, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. But there are some states where residents are less likely to have a bank account at all than others. Mississippi, for one, has the highest level of consumers that are un-banked, or without a bank account.
Multiple big banks have recently announced new fees, which could cause the number of consumers without a bank account to jump. Bank of America announced last month that it will charge customers $5 per month to use their debit cards for purchases, starting in 2012 and Wells Fargo is testing a $3 per month debit fee this fall. Citibank will start charging some customers $20 per month for low account balances.
Banking industry officials say they need to charge the fees to make up for revenue they're losing as a result of regulations passed as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. Still, some are choosing not to charge the fees; JPMorgan Chase said it isn’t going to charge customers to use their debit card for purchases after testing the program for eight months.
And JPMorgan Chase may be making the right move as consumers fed up with fees are increasingly leaving banks. The volume of new account openings was up more than 20 percent at the nation's largest credit union, the weekend after Bank of America announced its debit card fee. In addition, "Bank Transfer Day" -- when thousands of consumers plan to move their money from banks to other services on November 5 -- is gaining steam on Facebook and elsewhere, ABC reports.
For consumers who decide to opt out of traditional banks due to the fees, there are a variety of options. The AFL-CIO, America's largest federation of unions, recently started offering a prepaid debit card for union members and in California one company called Microbranch launched last year and provides check cashing and credit union services, USA Today reports.
Here are the 10 states where bank accounts are the least popular, according to Pew: