Banks can be a great source of convenience to a person’s life, but they can also be a great source of frustration. While the concept seems simple, there are many little nuances that make it confusing, and sometimes expensive, to the unaware consumer. As people get fed up with fees that continue to increase, many have switched to smaller institutions that do not charge as high of fees, but a good number of people have decided that that can live without a bank account. The reason being as credit and debit cards become the preferred way to shop, prepaid cards have been gaining popularity.
Wal-Mart recently released their Bluebird card. Green Dot has been issuing cards for quite a while, and nearly everyone has heard of the Visa prepaid card. Unlike a credit card, none of these require credit checks, so even those with poor, or no, credit history can get them. Unlike a debit card, there are no overage charges associated with them. So when a person runs out of money on the card, they don’t get dinged with a large fee, they simply have to reload the card. Most of the time these cards are free, or cheap, to reload, they all can be used at certain ATM’s free of charge, and many of the prepaid cards offer a direct deposit option so there is no need to deal with a bank even to get your check cashed.
With all the conveniences of the prepaid card, many people have decided to do away with banks completely. They can get nearly all the services offered by a bank, without the hassle of worrying about “hidden” fees or outrageous overdraft fees.
For those times that people need cash or a check, there are ways to get around the banks. Wal-Mart has money centers in many of their stores. These centers provide a great number of services, but one of the main items they offer is check cashing. For a flat fee (unlike many other check cashing services that charge a percentage) a person can get their check converted into cash. For those looking for a check to pay their mortgage or other bills, there are money orders available right there as well.
There are many times where using a bank is a perfect way to meet your financial needs. They are often more convenient and most have good customer service. However, there are those who do not wish to deal with them. They would rather manage their finances on their own without the worry of paying the fees associated with the banks. By keeping their fees low, and easily acknowledged, with a prepaid card and check cashing services, they can keep their money safe and have just as easy access to it as those who keep their money in the banks. This bank-free solution is not right for everyone, but many people will find it to be a welcome relief to banks.