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What is Economic Inclusion?

Last Updated: October 25, 2022

Economic inclusion means that all consumers have access to safe, secure, and affordable financial products and services. Ownership of a transaction account is a first step toward economic inclusion. Transaction accounts at insured depository institutions offer consumers a safe place to keep deposits, conduct financial transactions, and build savings.

The Benefits of Being Banked

Deposit accounts at federally insured depository institutions are covered by deposit insurance and other consumer protections. Ownership of an account at a federally insured depository institution provides households with a safe place to keep deposits and to save for emergency and long-term needs, and it facilitates households' financial transactions. Having a bank account and a banking relationship can also facilitate households' access to responsible, affordable credit, and such access can help households build their credit history.

Despite these benefits, millions of U.S. households are unbanked. Unbanked rates are higher among lower-income households, less-educated households, Black households, Hispanic households, working-age households with a disability, single-mother households, and households with volatile income.

FDIC's Role

The FDIC is committed to expanding Americans' access to safe, secure, and affordable banking services, which is integral to the FDIC's mission of maintaining the stability of and public confidence in the U.S. financial system. To this end, the FDIC works to fill the research and data gap regarding household participation in the banking system and use of nonbank financial services.

One such contribution is the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. Conducted biennially since 2009 partly in response to a statutory mandate, the survey is administered in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau and collects information on bank account ownership, use of prepaid cards and nonbank financial transaction services, and use of bank and nonbank credit by U.S. households.