Is a Bank Account Worthwhile for Poor People

Having a bank account is always a good idea despite your financial status. “Poor” is a definition that can vary from person to person. If you are struggling to survive, financially, and sustain your daily life on government funding, you could be considered poor. There are also many whom may appear to have all of the materialistic things that one would think only financial stable individuals would be able to pay for, however, do we really know how these items were paid for? Perhaps these “things” were gifts, or this person is in debt because he/she lives well beyond their means. 

Most companies, organizations and/or agencies use bank accounts for deposits to individuals, among other valuable reasons to obtain checking or savings accounts.  Important reasons for a bank account may include direct deposits from employers, cashing personal checks, access to a use of a debit/credit card, and some government agencies will authorize direct deposits  as well.

In a world when a lot of things are being dominated by technology and the theory that “going paperless” is better, most employers offer their employees the option of having their paychecks directly deposited into there bank accounts. Direct deposit can work for a number of reasons. The first reason is that most who opt for this option will receive their paychecks up to a full day sooner than if it were mailed to them.

Secondly, your money is readily available, you no longer have to wait until there is a small window of time in your busy schedule to make a trip to the bank. How many of us have run into the situation where your paycheck gets defaced by the early morning coffee, the young child who needed something to color on, or you simply lose the check before you get it to the bank. Not only are the previously mentioned situations annoying, how about the check you stick in the visor of your vehicle and you “forget” to cash it before its no longer valid? Direct deposit of your paychecks are simple, fast, efficient, and generally a good way to go.

If you choose not to have your paycheck deposited, you may have a difficult time getting it (or any other check IE: personal checks) cashed if you don’t have a bank account. Some banks may offer to cash the check for you, however, fees may be charged. The check cashing fees can vary from one bank to another. Be sure to inquire about these fees before having the check cashed. Another route to take when trying to cash a check without a bank account is to endorse the check to someone you trust to cash it for you. Again, this may be difficult if the person you choose does not have an account or enough funds to cover the amount of the check.

Most financial institutions also offer the option of linking a debit/credit card to your account. These cards are beneficial when it comes to convenience. Debit/credit cards are linked directly to your checking account and reduces the risk of overdraft fees. You can’t overspend as easily with a debit card as you can if writing a check. If you’re lucky, your bank will also have an overdraft protection policy. With this kind of policy in place, you also need a savings account. If, by chance, you are making a purchase without enough money in your account,  the overdrawn portion of your purchase will be automatically deducted to cover these expenses. You may want to check with your institution about their debit/credit card policies before going on a shopping spree.

For those who do receive assistance from government programs such as cash assistance and/or food stamps, child support services, etc. can have there benefits deposited into their accounts as well. Yet again, this can be another means of convenience. However, this practice is also becoming more common in a variety of states. With many of the same benefits as direct deposit of your paychecks, your benefits are more easily available and accessible. In many cases, if you are receiving benefits of this kind, having a bank account can help you with budgeting your finances as well as saving.

For all of these reasons and more, it is a good idea for anyone to obtain a bank account. When deciding if a bank account is right for you, look into your different options. Some banks have better options than others and never rule out the possibility of seeking the services of a credit union. As with anything else, do your research and have some patience when trying to find the financial institutions that will best suit your needs.