The High Price Of Financial Transactions When You're Poor

Many of the approximately 70 million Americans who don't have a bank account or access to traditional financial services end up relying on check-cashing services, which come with hefty fees. (Orin Zebest/Flickr)

Approximately 70 million Americans don’t have a bank account or access to traditional financial services, according to American Express. And this ends up costing a lot — in fees and time.

Many end up relying on check-cashing services, which come with hefty fees. When it comes to paying bills, having no checking account can mean that a person must pay a bill in person with cash.

As The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson writes, “for tens of millions of Americans without a bank account, paying a bill isn’t just an odyssey, it’s a part-time job.”

Thompson joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss the issue and a new documentary called “Spent: Looking For Change,” which was produced by American Express and aired at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June.

  • Are you one of the millions of Americans without a bank account? How has it affected your life? Tell us on Facebook or in the comments.

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