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Analysis

2015 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households

Last Updated: October 19, 2020

Public confidence in the banking system stems in part from how effectively banks serve the needs of the nation’s diverse population. Accordingly, the FDIC is committed to expanding Americans’ access to safe, secure, and affordable banking services. The FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households is one contribution to this end.

To assess the inclusiveness of the banking system, and in partial response to a statutory mandate, the FDIC has conducted the survey biennially since 2009.1 The most recent survey was administered in June 2015 in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, collecting responses from more than 36,000 households. The survey provides estimates of the proportion of U.S. households that do not have an account at an insured institution, and the proportion that have an account but obtained (nonbank) alternative financial services in the past 12 months. The survey also provides insights that may inform efforts to better meet the needs of these consumers within the banking system.

Estimates from the 2015 survey indicate that 7.0 percent of households in the United States were unbanked in 2015. This proportion represents approximately 9.0 million households. An additional 19.9 percent of U.S. households (24.5 million) were underbanked, meaning that the household had a checking or savings account but also obtained financial products and services outside of the banking system.

The 2015 survey examines a number of additional topics, including the methods that banked households used to access accounts, use of prepaid cards, use of alternative financial services, saving for unexpected expenses or emergencies, use of bank and nonbank credit, and the methods that households used to conduct financial transactions in a typical month.

See economicinclusion.gov for survey findings, the ability to generate custom tables using 2015 and earlier years of survey data, and data downloads and documentation.

The 2015 survey report, executive summary, and other related materials are linked below. (All items are PDF files. See PDF Help for assistance.)

1 See Section 7 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Conforming Amendments Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109–173).