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Basic bank accounts needed for the 2.5 billion 'unbanked'

Published 19 June 2012 by

A report in The Financial Times highlights the need for basic bank accounts at a time when many banks will reject people because they have no credit history, or a bad credit history.

2.5 billion of the world's population are currently 'unbanked' and are missing out on the stability and the benefits that come with keeping your money in your own bank account.

The figure comes from the Measuring Financial Inclusion: The Global Findex Database report from the World Bank Development Research Group, which suggests that most people without bank accounts (65%) don't have enough money to use one.

David Black, banking specialist at Defaqto, says that basic bank accounts are the best option for many of the unbanked. Basic bank accounts are like current accounts - you can pay in wages, a pension or benefits, you can pay bills by Direct Debit or standing order and withdraw cash from ATMs, and some also come with a debit card - although you can't write cheques and there's no overdraft facility.

But you can do all this without having to pass a credit check - you just need to prove where you live and your identity.

It's reported that banks are under pressure from governments to provide basic bank accounts, or provide them as part of a social responsibility agenda, but they don't make these accounts as accessible as they should - because they lose money on them.

There are also fears that while banks are looking for more ways to make profit, they could begin to withdraw these accounts, or charge more fees on them. Graham Lloyd of PA Consulting Group argues that this isn't really happening and it would be very bad PR for the banks if it did.

If you're looking for a basic bank account that's available without a credit check, try the thinkbanking account: click here to find out more about our basic bank account.

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