‘The Bank Account Is Extremely Stressful’

This story from All Things Considered last week pointed out that insurance companies often require payment via check or electronic funds transfer and that’s going to be a problem for the 51 million Americans without bank accounts.

Hidden in the piece is this gem which I’ve been thinking about for days: “The bank account is extremely stressful when you don’t have a job that’s reliable.” That’s Tran, a 25-year-old community organizer talking about herself, but she could also be talking about me or anyone else whose main communication with their bank is for fees and overdrafts and low-balance notices. I love her phrasing here, and how it puts the culpability of stress on the bank and not on the person trying to make ends meet. Bank accounts are built for people with regular checks and direct deposits, who can afford to keep a minimum in their account at all times. Those of us trying to use the system without having that are working with a tool not built for us. IT’S NOT OUR FAULT.

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