February 03, 2004

To Bank or Not to Bank? A Survery of Low-Income Households

Christopher Berry

BABC 04-3: Recently there has been a surge of interest in the market potential for mainstream financial service firms to serve unbanked and marginally banked consumers. The industry is gradually awakening to the message that low-income consumers comprise a huge untapped market for financial products and services. Despite the general recognition of unmet demand among lower-income consumers, important gaps in information about this market segment pose obstacles to conventional financial services firms. In particular, while there is an evolving consensus around the description of who is unbanked, relatively little is known about why. Moreover, many low-income consumers who have bank accounts also conduct business with fringe institutions, straddling both sides of the “dual” financial service system in ways that are as yet not well understood…

Category: Working Papers

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