Prepaid cards play bigger role for ‘unbanked’ households

The Wall Street Journal reports today:

More households that don’t have bank accounts are using prepaid cards for basic financial services, such as making purchases, receiving deposits and saving for the future, a government survey found.

Among U.S. households that have no access to the regular banking system, 27% reported using prepaid cards in the 12 months prior to June 2015, when the survey was taken, up from 22% in 2013. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. survey, released Thursday, found that 9.8% of all households reported using prepaid cards, up from 7.9% in 2013.

The sharp increase in prepaid-card usage was among the findings of the FDIC’s latest financial inclusion survey, which looks broadly at the behaviors and attitudes of households that have limited or no access to the mainstream banking system. The survey, done in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, collected responses from more than 36,000 households.

The full article is here. (Subscription required.)