It used to be that kids would get a savings account at some point during their middle school years before transitioning to a checking account in adulthood. That’s the way we’ve been doing it for generations. Today though, having a bank account is not automatic. There are plenty of people who don’t use traditional banks for whatever reason.
What may have seemed impossible just 20 years ago is very possible now. It’s fairly easy to manage without a bank account. Thanks to modern financial services companies, consumers who have no interest in traditional banking can still access the services they need without ever depositing a dime at a credit union or savings and loan.
Are you curious to know more? Here are five services that can help you manage without a bank account:
1. Check Cashing
Check-cashing services are nothing new. Long before there were companies built on check cashing, local bars and supermarkets would do it for you. You simply signed over your check and got your cash, less a certain percentage as a payment for the service.
Today there are businesses that specialize in check cashing and similar financial services. Their service works much the same way. A local outlet will cash a check in exchange for a certain percentage they keep as their fee. Customers only need a valid form of photo ID to cash a check.
2. Money Orders
Money orders also are not new. The post office and banks have been offering them for as long as most of us can remember. But now you can get money orders at a local check-cashing store, a grocery store, and even at pharmacies and third-party postal providers. Money orders are great for people who want the benefits of writing checks without having a checking account.
3. Electronic Bill Pay
Paying your bills electronically saves you the hassle of stuffing envelopes and buying stamps. Today’s consumers can walk into a check-cashing store or a grocery store and pay their bills instantly. They just need cash and the bill statement or account number.
4. Money Transfers
Sometimes you need to send money but you don’t have enough time to issue and mail a money order. Such situations call for money transfers. There are lots of companies that offer this service for a nominal fee. In many cases, you can set up a money transfer either online or by visiting a local outlet in person. The person to whom you’re wiring the funds generally has to pick up the money at an outlet in their local area.
The beauty of money transfers is that they are not limited to your state – or even the country. You can wire funds around the world with most services.
5. Prepaid Cards
It’s nearly impossible to get a bank debit card without also having a bank account. Still, debit cards are very handy when you don’t want to carry cash. Thankfully, consumers can now buy prepaid cards instead. A prepaid card is backed up by a big-name credit card issuer (like Visa or MasterCard), so it’s usable wherever major credit cards are accepted.
You simply buy a prepaid card with a predetermined amount of cash. That cash is then digitally ‘loaded’ onto the card for your use. When your balance runs low, refill it with another cash payment. It’s all very simple and straightforward.
From check cashing to transferring money around the world, there is so much you can do today without having a relationship with a bank that more people are eschewing bank accounts altogether. It’s quite fascinating to observe.