The U.S. Population of Unbanked Individuals is Shrinking

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Mercator Advisory Group releases new research looking at the business of banking the unbanked and the role of fintech to diminish their ranks.

One of the exhibits included in this research report.

The wave of neobanks and challenger banks that has emerged in the last several years is playing an outsized role in helping to bank the currently unbanked.

The efforts of fintechs and, to a lesser degree, traditional financial institutions to provide robust banking solutions to the unbanked population through prepaid cards are helping individuals to safely store funds, receive deposits quickly, purchase goods, pay bills and get cash at reasonable costs while reducing the overall population of unbanked individuals, as explored in new research from Mercator Advisory group; The U.S. Unbanked Issue is Improving; Are You Part of the Solution?

“The wave of neobanks and challenger banks that has emerged in the last several years is playing an outsized role in helping to bank the currently unbanked. They join other fintech players to offer services with easy access, smart user apps and nearly free banking solutions, attracting millions of customers. Their sustainability is certainly in question, however. Currently these businesses operate at a loss or with thin margins and recent efforts to reduce debit card interchange, neobanks’ primary source of revenue, creates a new threat,” comments Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the report.

Highlights of the report include:

  • A review and analysis of the data measuring the size of the unbanked population in the U.S.
  • The impact that traditional and new fintech-supported accounts have had on attracting the unbanked to more mainstream financial services.
  • How the effects of COVID-19 may ultimately alter the number of unbanked.
  • How the government could play a meaningful roll without reinventing banking.

This report has 14 pages and 4 exhibits.

Companies mentioned in this report include: Bank of America, Branch, Chase Bank, Chime, Dave, Galileo Financial Services, Green Dot, MoneyLion, MetaBank, N26, Netspend, PNC Bank, Sutton Bank, The Bancorp Bank, U.S. Bank, Varo, Walmart, Western Union

Members of Mercator Advisory Group’s Debit Advisory Service have access to these reports as well as the upcoming research for the year ahead, presentations, analyst access, and other membership benefits.

For more information and media inquiries, please call Mercator Advisory Group's main line: (781) 419-1700, send e-mail to

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About Mercator Advisory Group
Mercator Advisory Group is the leading independent research and advisory services firm exclusively focused on the payments and banking industries. We deliver pragmatic and timely research and advice designed to help our clients uncover the most lucrative opportunities to maximize revenue growth and contain costs. Our clients range from the world's largest payment issuers, acquirers, processors, merchants and associations to leading technology providers and investors. Mercator Advisory Group is also the publisher of the online payments and banking news and information portal

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