Reporter Lives For Month Without A Bank, Fee Orgy Ensues

As an experiment, an AP reporter tried to live for a month without using a bank so she could get a taste of how people who can’t get an account, or choose not to, live. She discovered fees and confusion galore, and found that it would end up costing her $1,100 a year just to spend her own money. That’s not even counting the cost of standing in “Soviet-style” lines in grungy check-cashing places to cash her paycheck alongside the great unwashed, and unbanked. Overall, depressing, anxious, and time-consuming experience

Living without a bank: Fees and confusion galore [AP via LowCards.com]

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  1. FatLynn says:

    Activity fees AND non-activity fees!

    • galm666 says:

      Yo dawg, I heard you like banking fees, so we put banking fees on transactions you make with us as an account holder and banking fees on transactions you make with us if you aren’t an account holder so you can pay fees even if you’re trying not to pay fees.

  2. jason in boston says:

    Fees galore – but say someone didn’t have a bank account and had to cash a check. Where did people do it before “check cashing” places?

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      At the bank that issued the check…
      But now, they charge a fee to cash THEIR OWN CHECKS?!?

      • apple420 says:

        M&T Bank got me with that one. They would charge $5 to cash their own checks. Everytime they would suggest I open an account since there was no fees and only required a $5 minimum balance. I changed employers and stopped cashing checks there. Next thing I know my “free account” was digned with inactivity fees and was negative. They told me I owed them money, and I refused to pay. I never heard from them again.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      They went to a bank where back then the banks actually cashed checks from other banks and not just their own. In other words, they provided good customer service to all AND gave you a free toaster.

    • mexifelio says:

      I believe they would have to go to a local branch of the bank the check was written from.

    • mac-phisto says:

      taverns & bars actually used to cash payroll checks for a lot of people awhile back.

      • mexifelio says:

        That is a great concept :)

        Do I hear McD’s Check Cashing in the near future???

        • 99 1/2 Days says:

          I would think it’s only worthwhile to the business if they have a chance of getting a good proportion of that money back. I never knew bars cashed payroll checks, but I can certainly see why they do. I wouldn’t be surprised if casinos did as well…

      • Elginista says:

        They still do. My ex was anti-bank and always cashed his paychecks at the local liquor store. Always seemed sketchy to me, but he said he would rather do it there for a couple bucks than pay bank fees.

    • SugarMag says:

      I did it in grocery stores. They would cash checks, and for a purchase, you could write over the purchase amount up to like $50 or $100 cash back if I remember. A neighborhood upscale grocer here still allows the over-write for cash. How quaint.

      • ogsoleysol says:

        This actually doesn’t answer the question, though. Because if you were writing checks, you clearly had a bank account…

        • damageddude says:

          Paychecks. I used to work in a supermarket in the 1980s and I remember customers cashing paychecks. They had to have a store check cashing card first and there was an application to fill that out.

      • Robert Nagel says:

        So will Sam’s Club. Up to $40.00. At least they do if you use a Discover card.

    • Paul Schuster says:

      Like some one said, the bank the check was made out from, though now they can charge for it. Also most local bars used to cash payroll checks as long as you where a regular.

    • keepntabs says:

      Some of the larger retail stores would cash checks up to a certain amount if the check was from a local bank branch, you had proper ID, and you were making purchases.

    • Corinthos says:

      I used to work in places that would cash your check with no fee. You get your check on friday and they you could hand it right back signed to cash it. Two of my previous jobs did that. One was telemarketing for MCI (yeah thats been awhile) and the other was a grocery store. I had a bank account but would cash my check at work.

    • J-Mac says:

      You used to be able to cash checks at the bank it was written on. They don’t allow that anymore.

  3. dwtomek says:

    I have to imagine the Walmart cash card would have been a more enjoyable experience for him?

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    Don’t forget the insufficient funds fee, where if you don’t have enough funds to cover the transaction the charge is denied but you STILL end up getting charged a fee even though there was no transaction.

  5. Floobtronics says:

    So, I always see this stuff about people who “can’t” get a bank account. I just don’t get it. You deposit your money, and then withdraw it over time either by writing checks, using a debit card, or just plain withdrawing it.

    You walk into the bank, you fill out the form, give them the money, and you’re set. I don’t buy the “don’t have enough money to open an account” strawman either. I’ve never seen a bank that didn’t offer a low-end checking account. I’ve got one that I use for PayPal transactions. I keep $100 in it, and never have a fee. Ever.

    If you choose to not use a bank, you’re not a victim, you’re just foolish.

    • C. Ogle says:

      not everybody can pass a credit check. Particularly if they already had a checking account once and screwed it up, good luck getting another.

      • Jfielder says:

        It’s called ChexSystems, I think. It’s basically a credit reporting system for checking accounts… How do I know? Let’s just say they burned me in the past…

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      ChexSystems controls who can and can’t get a checking account. Even if their information is wrong, good luck trying to get it fixed.

      • FatLynn says:

        Does this apply to savings, though? It seems like you’d still be able to get an account and cash checks, even if you couldn’t write your own.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          Yes, my co-worker couldn’t even open a savings account.

        • LadyTL says:

          Yes, I tried to open up a savings at a bank and was denied through that Chex system thing.

          • craptastico says:

            how in the world can a bank deny a savings account? that’s ridiculous. they refused to hold your money for you? i’m not saying i don’t believe you but it seems pretty unbelievable.

            • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

              Yes, as silly as it sounds, and the worst part is… most people don’t know they exist. Equifax, etc, sure. But nobody knows about chexsystems until they deny you. Not just one bank. ALL, including credit unions.

            • Doubts42 says:

              Not only that but many banks will automatically “convert” your savings account to a checking account (with more and larger fees) if you make too many withdraws. USAA just did this to my wife and myself.

              • mmmsoap says:

                Yeah, that’s actually the law. You can only make a certain number of transfers per month out of a savings account. If you exceed that, then you’re not using it as an interest-accruing savings account, but as a passbook (ie-checking) account, and it gets converted to such.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Not so much a “can’t” but some recent immigrants don’t know English and don’t understand the concept of a modern banking system. There are still societies built upon bartering or cash exchange. Not everyone from China is from thoroughly modern cities like Beijing, for instance. Some people have an inherent distrust that is borne from cultural differences, and they may not have anyone to help them. In other cases, it isn’t uncommon for teenagers or those in their 20s to have to assist their parents and grandparents with modern things, like banking, because their parents never had to do it before coming to the US.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      Pretty rude to insult people who choose not to deal with banks. I would not have a bank account if I didn’t need one for direct deposit & paypal. My current bank is the only bank I’ve ever dealt with that has not screwed me over with a million fees. I hate banks to be honest.

      And you must have perfect credit if you’ve *never* had a problem getting a bank account. There was only one bank in my area that would give me an account thanks to my average credit score, and even then it was ‘second chance checking’ & I got charged $9 a month. After 6 months with no overdrafts, they finally transferred my account to regular free checking. Getting an account may be a piece of cake for you, but it’s not for everyone.

      • Floobtronics says:

        Perfect credit? Nope. I do pay my bills, and have a reasonably good score, but by no means perfect.

        I’ve got these crazy habits that plague me though, you know, like not writing checks for more than I’ve got in my account. I’ve had checking accounts for 28 years now (got my first when I was 10). I’ve never once bounced a check, because of such habits.

        • BD2008 says:

          Once you are put in the Chex System, you are completely hosed if you want to get another bank account for five years. There are numerous ways to get into the system, not just bouncing a check. I have been financially responsible my entire life yet my divorce led to a small banking issue that I was unaware of until too late. Now I can’t get a bank account.

          Judgemental much?

          • acadianone says:

            I got screwed by ChekSystems and I was able to get an account with USAA. They approved me no problem. It may be because I’m a vet and I have insurance with them, but it might be worth a shot if you have no other options.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      You walk into the bank, you fill out the form…

      And get denied. How is that confusing to you?

      • edman007 says:

        Why would they deny you an account? I have never seen that happen, they are not extending you credit, they are giving you fast lane access to their services (and a reason to charge you fees and a way of cashing checks with minimal risk). I’ve had savings accounts when I was 10 (or younger?), just a parent to sign, turned 18 got my own, got to college and opened another account, I’ve see $100 to open, but none of mine had any miniumn requirements when I opened it and all gave me free check cashing and some finite interest. If you have no money then I understand denying credit and stuff.

        • Egat says:

          I have multiple friends who are unable to open bank accounts. I will say that they have not made good financial decisions. If your credit score is not good, or you have bounced a few checks, it’s not hard to get blacklisted and from there it can quickly become impossible to open a bank account.

        • evnmorlo says:

          Besides people who have bounced checks, banks will also deny people they suspect to be “disloyal rate-chasers,” i.e. people who demand that their bank have a competitive product.

        • chocolate1234 says:

          You haven’t seen that happen because you aren’t listed on the Chex system. Every time you open an account at a bank, they run your information through Chex. You’re automatically accepted, but a lot of people are denied, and they aren’t allowed to open accounts. If they owe money to another bank it will show up on there, and often they won’t be able to open an account. Even if they pay off the debt after the fact, they STILL show up on Chex, so they are still unable to open an account.

          • dpeters11 says:

            Exactly. It doesn’t matter if you paid your debt. It’s there for the five years. I had an issue, I paid it, but it was already in Chex Systems. I finally was able to get an account when I was able to get a letter from the old bank that I was in the clear with them.

    • evnmorlo says:

      If you go to that bank to cash your paycheck so you can buy food and pay your rent will they give you more than $100?

    • Alecto says:

      Go through a divorce. When your ex-spouse not only cleans out the checking account, the savings and overdraws up to your overdraft protection limit, it really puts a cramp in getting a new checking account.

    • quijote says:

      Foolish because it’s so difficult to live without a checking account, as the article points out. But I think the idea is that we shouldn’t have to do business with a bank if we don’t want to, and if we don’t want to, it shouldn’t cost us money just to get our own money and pay our bills. You shouldn’t have to pay a fee to not have a checking account.

      • Alvis says:

        Some may find it less convenient, but that’s what cash is for. Nearly all the fees in this story could be avoided by just using cash.

        • chargernj says:

          last time I paid my Sprint bill in cash they charged me a $5 fee, and that was an actual corporate owned Sprint store.

          • VermilionSparrow says:

            Yes, but that fee is for paying a bill in person. You’d pay the same $5 if you used cash or credit as well, just because you talked to a CSR (they charge this for over-the-phone payments too)

        • Gulliver says:

          My employer is 3 states a way. Do you recommend he send cash through the mail? Should I drive to that state to cash the check he sends?
          Again, I think this shows why banks should be nationalized. Canada has fewer banks and operates much more like a socialized banking system, and they do not have the problems the US does.
          Socialism works on many levels.

    • mandy_Reeves says:

      yeah…I choose not to deal with a bank anymore. Too many dam fees. I have to get a savings account though…my paychecks are from out of state(I work at home, in NJ…and the company is based in California) and none of the check cashing places will cash them. I end up having to get my mom or sister in law to cash them at their banks. We start direct deposit soon and I use my walmart debit for that.

    • Beeker26 says:

      If you’ve ever had a bad experience with a bank they will put your name into the Chex System, essentially blackballing you for the next 5 years. Virtually all banks will refuse to open an account if you’re in the Chex System. That’s how people are unable to get bank accounts.

      It goes like this: the bank scams you and says you owe them money. You tell to go scratch their ass and refuse to pay them. They close your account and blacklist you in the Chex System. You’re done. No account for you no matter which bank you go to.

      The trick to avoiding this is to quickly open a new account before your name hits the Chex System. That’s what I did when Wachovia scammed me to the tune of over $1000 in fees that I simply will not pay. But unless you know this you can easily find yourself SOL.

      • pot_roast says:

        “The trick to avoiding this is to quickly open a new account before your name hits the Chex System.”

        That won’t work nowadays. The banks check ChexSystems every so often and will forcefully close your new account citing your entry in ChexSystems as the reason. I was stuck in ChexSystems limbo for almost five years with US Bank (and they were straight up assholes every step of the way about it) claiming that i owed them like $200 but never were able to provide any proof. I was stuck in the same check cashing limbo even with a decent job. (I had a girlfriend at the time and I would just write my paychecks over to her) I was finally able to hire a lawyer to go after US Bank, and suddenly I was dropped from ChexSystems.

        I think crap like ChexSystems needs to be destroyed along with the current FICO system. It’s a huge mess of unverifiable information that can screw up your life.

    • Yamantaka says:

      One data point isn’t a trend, and so forth.

      However… 1992… Boatman’s Bank (Belleville, IL; St. Louis Metro-East area) would not let me open an account with less than $500.

      Some banks — especially regional or local banks — may impose restrictions that make it impossible to open an account without a predetermined initial amount that can be significant for (or outside the reach of) the working poor. Small towns, like Monmouth, IL (my experience there is dated 2003, so it’s marginally more recent), don’t necessarily have branches of the big banks. The local banks in those towns may have more stringent rules surrounding the creation and maintenance of new accounts. I believe the official line is that this is supposed to indicate whether or not the customer is a good risk and whether or not the account will be worth the expense of its maintenance within the bank’s records.

      If this is incomprehensible for you, then you’ve probably never been a member of the working poor in a rural area.

      • haggis for the soul says:

        Wow, I haven’t thought of Boatman’s Bank in years. I miss all the little local pre-merger banks.

      • MrEvil says:

        One of my aunts used to live in Belleville. Nice town. My aunt and uncle lived there while my aunt wound down her software business to retire.

        I also remember Boatmen’s bank. They started gobbling up small banks all over the midwest back in the 90′s (Including the First National Bank of Amarillo). Then they merged with Nations, then Bank of America.

  6. sufreak says:

    This is if you are forced to use the electronic card systems. What about going cash only? You can pay your cell phone bill in cash at the store, gas stations and grocery stores take cash.

    Just about everyone takes cash….. So if you are paying these fees, then you’re an idiot.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      How the heck do you pay a cell phone bill at the grocery store? What kind of cell phone company has that kind of system?

      • dawnitopia says:

        I’m sure they meant in person at the cell phone store or kiosk.

        SuFreak – the OP doesnt mean that they are paying fees to pay bills, they are talking about fees for cashing a check in the first place. –

        • sufreak says:

          1. My apologies for my poor grammar. No excuse for that.
          2. I understand the fees. But there is no need to do anything to incur the fees.

      • rmorin says:

        They said at the store, not grocery store and it’s 100% true. I know a lot of people that don’t use online banking and simply go into the service provider store and office and pay for cell phone/landline/cable etc. in person. It actually may end up helping you if there is a problem to have somewhat of a relationship to brick and mortar entities.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Ahh, I see now. I wrote grocery store because the sentence “you can pay your cell phone bill in cash at the store, gas stations and grocery stores take cash” has poor punctuation. It should really be two separate sentences.

      • jamar0303 says:

        On a tangent- why hasn’t America adopted the Asian system of taking your bills to the convenience store to pay them?

    • Mom says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Those prepaid cards are obviously a scam, but I don’t know why someone with a limited income would need one. She was trying to travel and stay at business class hotels, which apparently requires some sort of plastic, but the typical person without a bank account doesn’t actually do that.

    • craptastico says:

      easy if you get paid in cash, but one problem they had there was cashing their paycheck.

    • outlulz says:

      AT&T charges you a fee if you pay your bill in cash at their stores.

  7. Speak says:

    After reading the article, it sounds like the reporter makes too much money and lives to rich a lifestyle to live without a bank. I did some figuring and based on the fee percentage stated, this person takes home over 75k a year. Also the rent at over 1k per month would be a little high for most people living without a bank account. Others would not use those cards for a Hotel stay because they wouldn’t have enough money for a hotel. I wonder what a person living on a limited income could do by cashing a smaller check, not having a lot of luxury bills, and shopping around for a good card first?

    • georgi55 says:

      75K is not rich in big city, and good luck finding rent for under $1000.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Not rich, but it can be done. There are some cities, like Denver, with pretty low rent (I’ve seen $500 a month) and if you’re in a good industry, you can make more than $75,000. It’s impossible for that combination to exist in the DC area – you can rent a room, maybe, but if you make more than $75,000 and you want an apartment of your own (and not a home), you’re looking at minimum $1,000 depending on where you want to live. If you’re in the deep suburbs, $1,100 can net you a small house. The closer you get to DC and the subway lines, the more money you’ll need. We’re talking $1,400 minimum. The cost isn’t the biggest difference, it’s how much space you get.

        • georgi55 says:

          I’m in DC suburbs and used to rent until bought a house last year, and even at 25 miles away from DC where there is no metro, there is no way to find a rent under $1000 for a one bed room apartment unless you go into bad neighborhoods.

          • Preyfar says:

            I’m by DC (Reston) and every one bedroom apartment I can find has rent at about $1,100 a month… oh, and a big stipulation that if you earn more than $42,000 a year you are not legally allowed to rent the place due to it being “subsidized” housing.

            Yep. $1,100 a month for a single room apartment in this area is considered subsidized housing.

            Cheap non-sub’d apartments are around $1,300-1,400 easily. It kills me. I paid $600 a month for my apartment in North East Philadelphia, and that was right on the SEPTA rails, in a great community. What I pay here makes me cry.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            I used to live ~25 miles away, and I agree. I was talking about the deep, deep, middle of nowhere surburbs like Stafford.

    • eccsame says:

      75K? Maybe not.
      I think this is one of those “can’t solve the problem with the information provided” since the writer doesn’t specify how often they are paid.

      • eccsame says:

        Further, it’s not a terribly well-written story. Basically, “I got fees and stood in lines” and “I have a Platinum Card” but not much depth or “reporting”. I hope she doesn’t make 75K per year.

    • keepntabs says:

      The reporter couldn’t stop living life because of the story. The experiment was how difficult and expensive it can be to live without a bank account; not about how much was spent and what were the living expenses of the reporter. Also, as stated in the article there are multiple reasons why a person may not have a bank account, and having a modest income was only one of them. The mere fact that the check cashing place is in the reporter’s neighborhood (a more expensive part of Manhattan) is a great indicator that there is a client base there. It doesn’t matter how much money a person makes there will always be people who don’t have a bank account for one reason or another.

      It is very possible that the hotel stay was required for work, and often times you have to come out of pocket first and then get reimbursed from your company. Although the room may have been paid for my the job, hotels typically require some form of guarantee for incidentals from the person staying in the room.

      Yes, you are correct that a person probably could find cheaper options that what the reporter used, but I doubt that they would find the deals the first time out, and would pay higher prices just like the report. For example, the reporter could have paid only $2.60 for two U.S. Postal service money orders. However, what would it cost in trying to save the extra 90 cents that she paid for the rent money orders?

      Also, $1300 rent in the upper west side is a pretty good rate. I am in the SF Bay Area, and people would be beating each other silly to get a decent apartment for that amount of rent. Another thing, $75K may go a long way in many parts of the country, but depending upon where you live and your family’s size and total household income that money could disappear quickly. The reporter is lucky in that her transportation can have a fixed cost by using the subway, and buying a monthly pass. I am sure this is the case for many metropolitan places, but the price of commuting rises significantly if you have to come from outside of the city. It costs as much as $11.90/rt to ride the BART train to and from San Francisco, and that doesn’t include the price to park at the station. It also costs $6 to cross the Bay Area bridges during commute hours. These are costs that are incurred by people who make a lot less than $75K.

      The one thing that irked me about the story was that reporter appeared to be a snob, and conveyed in her story that using money cards was something that she was ashamed of doing. Why should it matter how the cashier looks at you when you pay with a temporary cash card? Does having a Platinum credit card make you a better person than someone without one? Those types of considerations would only come from someone who suddenly finds herself in a situation that she’s not accustomed to. People who have been long-term users of check-cashing or payday loan places are usually more concerned about how to best use their money than what someone thinks about them using the card.

  8. cmdr.sass says:

    I lived without a bank account for awhile when I was young. You can avoid most of those check cashing fees by cashing your paycheck at a grocery store. The fees are pretty minimal. The bonus is that most also sell money orders, too, so you can get everything done in one trip with a short line.

    • Beeker26 says:

      Pretty sure that Wal-Mart will also cash payroll checks and the fee is pretty minor, 3% I think.

      • quijote says:

        But even at 3%, if you make $1500 a month, that’s $45 every month just to cash your checks. I did it for a while when I was younger, and it feels like you’re getting robbed, especially when you’re struggling to make ends meet.

      • LadyTL says:

        It’s not 3% it’s a flat fee per check. Like 3 or 5 dollars.

  9. The cake is a lie! says:

    Wow…. That was a fascinating read. I know a lot of people who don’t have bank accounts and I feel terrible for them. Many of them are for just the reasons stated.. Their credit is so screwed up that they can’t get an account. Some just don’t want accounts for the government to have access to when they don’t pay their child support or when they try to screw the government on taxes. There are also cultural reasons. Many hispanics don’t use banks because of bad experiences in their home country. In fact, it is well known in the law enforcement community that hispanic homes are always targets for break ins from other hispanics because they know that there is likely a cache of money somewhere in the house because the resident likely doesn’t use a bank.

    I once wrote a check to a guy I found on Craigslist who came over and changed my brakes. I felt terrible when a check cashing place called me an hour after he left asking if I wrote the check. I told them not to cash it and to send the guy back to my house so I could give him cash. I wasn’t about to let this place take 30% of the check I wrote just because I didn’t have cash on hand. I went to the ATM and got him his money so he didn’t have to pay the fee.

  10. Jfielder says:

    I’ve had to do this for a year or two before… The place I worked didn’t offer direct deposit, so I had to take my checks to the bank…. well National Shitty messed up one day and deposited my check into someone elses account, causing me to massively overdraft. They wouldn’t return all of the funds scammed from me even though it was their fault, and I refused to PAY them by dumping money into my negative checking account. They closed it and reported me to ChexSystems, which kept me from getting a new account for a year, and even then I could only get some weird checking account from Chase… it was a checking account with no checks.

    But basically I lived out of my sock drawer bank account for a while and I know a guy at a liquor store who would only charge me 1 dollar plus any change on the check to cash it. It was the cheapest way to do it.

    And yes, it sucked.

  11. peebozi says:

    Hopefully, the banks are reading this and preparing to buy up some of these prepaid cards. The mob, the government and banks don’t like this kind of competition!

  12. me_grimlok says:

    An alternative would be to get direct deposit to a prepaid visa card. I used to have one, it’s free with direct deposit. To save on ATM fees buy a pack of gum at a grocery store and pay as debit with cash back, the one I used the most charged $.35 for the transaction. It is also a standard Visa check card, the only limitation was that I couldn’t verify PayPal with the 2 small deposits they require, however I could accept payments and transfer the amount to that account.

  13. LadyTL says:

    Well, her first problem was not even looking around for a better way to cash her checks. Hell, Walmart MoneyCards can be direct deposited and are actually fairly honest. She just went to the first place she saw, no wonder she had bad fees.

  14. KrispyKrink says:

    Is this “reporter” an inept retard or what? My mother on SS has refused to use a bank account for years. She gets her check cashed for a flat $3 fee. That’s it, a whopping $36 per year to cash 12 checks and it only takes her a whole 2 minutes to walk in, say hello and walk out with the cash.

    Sounds like this reporter went out of her way to find the ass-rape.

    • Hoss says:

      The reporter is certainly out of touch. But with regard to your mother, she was probably cashing checks at the market or retail store. I don’t know what forms of ID they need, but it’s not the same as a check cashing store. In a check cashing store you don’t show ID. They take your picture and charge a huge fee for the risk involved. Why pay the fee? Obviously there is a large segment of immigrants that don’t have a social security # which they would need for a bank account. There are also those that completely distrust banking.

      • KrispyKrink says:

        It is a check cashing store that has a flat fee of $3 for any check drawn from the US Treasury. And yes, they ask for ID for Government checks.

  15. Hi_Hello says:

    there are people with bank accounts who pay fees and there are people with bank accounts who doesn’t pay any fees.

    The same is the same for people without bank accounts.

    The writer went into a world of no banks without really learning how to do it without having to pay all those fees.

    my mom never had a bank account for most of her life, and she never ran into problem like the writer.

    my s.o. doesn’t have a bank account and she hasn’t paid a single fee.

    • ghostberry says:

      Ya this reporter obviously didnt do any research on how to live without an account, most likely to make the story more sensational.

  16. nocturnaljames says:

    People have become so used to free banking they think it’s a right. They forget that banking is a service, that costs money to provide. If you aren’t going to use a bank, then you are going to have to pay a premium to others for the same services (check cashing, transfers, payments).

  17. UnicornMaster says:

    Great. now I know how much she gets paid and how much she pays in rent!

  18. smo0 says:

    Wow… okay so… here’s some news. Here in vegas, we cash our paychecks at casinos, FOR FREE! Even sometimes … we win free shit!!

    We hold cash, we pay with cash… no fees…. so… what did I miss?
    I think money orders at the grocery store cost like 75 cents too… lol…. that’s like… maybe a $1.50 a month for stuff that you can’t pay with cash.
    Even my phone bill, I can go into a t-mobile store.. pay with cash.. grocery stores have a lot of stuff like the gas and power companys set up to go down there and pay…

    This reporter…

    IS BAD.

  19. parrotheadmjb says:

    I still don’t use a bank account to cash my checks…the place I work for is in debt up to their nipples, if I deposit the check at my bank…I risk having it bounced (granted by employer would have to pay those fees, its just a damn hassle). Sometimes I have to wait until the following Monday to cash it at their bank since they don’t always have enough cash in the account on payday. Either way, its not really a hassle since the bank is right across the street, they don’t charge a fee to cash all I have to do is show a Driver’s License.

  20. PortlandBeavers says:

    She didn’t know what she was doing. There can’t be many people using those check cashing places every two weeks and taking the butt-raping. It reminds me of the story where the lady tried to score some liberal points by going on food stamps, then spending them all too quickly on overpriced organic yuppie food. Or the other story where someone just dropped into a town where she didn’t know anyone and tried to survive on a Wal-Mart salary (as if anyone moves across the country with no support structure to work at Wally World).

    The working poor just aren’t that stupid. They find cheaper alternatives to cashing checks. The check cashing stores are for people in a pinch. No one will use them regularly. They will find friendly store clerks or even friends who will cash them. In the old days, people would cash checks for co-workers in exchange for the change on the check plus a dollar. I’m sure it has gone up to a few bucks but there’s no way the idea is forgotten. Once your check is cashed, you just make do with cash for most things. The working poor aren’t paying rent to far-off companies. The landlord is local and can accept cash. Most other bills can be paid in cash, in person, especially in NYC, where everything is close by. There’s nothing wrong with using cash. Sure, it could be stolen, but so can balances in accounts via identity theft.

  21. whgt says:

    It’s just really hard for me to understand why people connect get a LOCAL bank account. I finally got my girlfriend to switch from a big name bank to a local (regional) bank and she could not be happier with the customer service she now gets.

    I can say I positively have not had any bank fees at my bank EVER and I believe the minimum amount to open an account is $100 which is pretty standard fare.

    Additionally, I have three businesses and I require them ALL to have everyone on direct deposit to a checking account. It’s less work for me and they workers can check their accounts online Friday morning to confirm everything. I never hear from anyone about “why didn’t i get paid?”

  22. whgt says:

    It’s just really hard for me to understand why people connect get a LOCAL bank account. I finally got my girlfriend to switch from a big name bank to a local (regional) bank and she could not be happier with the customer service she now gets.

    I can say I positively have not had any bank fees at my bank EVER and I believe the minimum amount to open an account is $100 which is pretty standard fare.

    Additionally, I have three businesses and I require them ALL to have everyone on direct deposit to a checking account. It’s less work for me and they workers can check their accounts online Friday morning to confirm everything. I never hear from anyone about “why didn’t i get paid?”

  23. ambergris says:

    You can do a much better job that the reporter did. $28 to cash a paycheck?!? Maybe it depends where you live. Check-Cashing centers aren’t your only option. Your employers bank will typically cash checks free or quite cheap. My boyfriend does that every time he gets paid….

    Money orders are typically less than a dollar at every grocery store I’ve ever been to. Banks actually charge way more for one (about $3.00). The last time I tried to get a money order at my bank (I was out of checks), they said I should go to Kroger.

    Not anywhere near as bad as the article indicates…..but again – maybe it depends where you live.

  24. dognose says:

    Trying to live without a bank, then promptly getting a prepaid card (run by a bank of sorts?). Get paid in cash and pay in cash and you won’t have to pay any ‘fees’.

  25. SynMonger says:

    I did this for about 6 months myself after a battle with Wachovia. Those check cashing places are pretty scary after dark!

    I ended up going to the bank my paycheck was drawn on and would make a stink when they wanted to charge a fee for cashing. If they were busy, all it would take is politely asking to see the branch manager and they would magically waive the fee “this time only”. Worked very well during the lunch rush.

  26. banmojo says:

    This is criminal. This is ‘the wealthy’ taking advantage of ‘the poor’. Disgusting. All is NOT fair in love and war. there is morality and ethics to consider. We are all in this together, and those who act so selfishly need to be weeded out. Our government appears impotent to fix this kind of problem (on ANY level it seems) but in actuality COULD fix this if it chose to. Again, selfish behavior. Needs to BE WEEDED OUT.

    I feel a revolution brewing, and like it or not change will come, one way or another. I hope it’s change for the betterment of ALL rather than for the few most powerful.

  27. omg says:

    The next time Congress tackles financial regulation, it might be a good idea to consider ChexSystems and PayPal.