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FDIC Releases National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked

Unbanked Households Decline to 9.6 Million

October 29, 2014
Media Contact:
David Barr (202) 898-6992

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today released the results of the 2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, the most comprehensive survey on the subject in the United States. The survey indicates that the proportion of unbanked households declined from 8.2 percent in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2013, while the share of underbanked households remained essentially unchanged at 20.0 percent. The decrease in the proportion of the unbanked can be explained by improving economic conditions and the changing demographic composition of households.

The survey, conducted every two years by the FDIC in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of the Census, provides the banking industry and policy makers with insights and guidance on the demographics and needs of the unbanked and underbanked.

New to the 2013 survey are questions related to how consumers access their bank accounts. Nearly two out of three households primarily used bank tellers or on-line banking when accessing their accounts. These banking methods, along with ATMs, were also the primary methods underbanked households used to access their account. Notably, underbanked households, however, were more likely to use mobile banking devices relative to other groups: 29.2 percent of underbanked households used mobile devices to access their account compared to 21.7 percent of fully banked households.

"The findings of this survey add to our understanding of the challenges facing unbanked and underbanked households and underscore the value of the FDIC's partnership with the Census to do this survey every two years," said FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg.

Other key findings of the survey include:

Also unchanged from 2011, is the finding that one-quarter of households have used at least one alternative financial service (AFS), such as non-bank check cashing or payday loans in the past year. In all, 12 percent of households used an AFS in the past 30 days, including four in 10 unbanked and underbanked households.

The Survey report drew three implications from the findings that could point the way toward better meeting consumers' needs:


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Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's banks and savings associations, 6,656 as of June 30, 2014. It promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars — insured financial institutions fund its operations.

FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at, by subscription electronically (go to and may also be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200). PR-91-2014