Immigrating to the United States comes with many challenges, not the least of which is financial. In addition to the sheer costs of immigration, the lack of credit history makes financial inclusion extremely difficult for many immigrants.
These “credit invisibles” are often unbanked or underbanked, creating innumerable challenges for them in an increasingly cashless society, particularly in the wake of the ongoing worldwide pandemic, when credit cards and other digital payments have taken precedence. In fact, the use of cash has fallen 57% over the course of the pandemic according to a recent EY survey.
In addition to the he costs of operating in cash can be exorbitant. Few immigrants who travel to the United States are prepared or financially secure. This results in immigrants disproportionally making up a large portion of low-income individuals and non citizens. Being unbanked is one of the most common barriers that immigrants face when trying to build their wealth.
Many immigrants live in low-income areas without means, resources or transportation to easily access a physical bank. “Bank deserts,” areas where no banking infrastructure exists, are becoming more and more prevalent due to the boom in online banking. These “bank deserts” tend to be located in lower-income areas where access to reliable internet or a smartphone are slim. Immigrants often face disparity.
In general, bank operating hours are also outdated. Immigrants often work overtime and tend to carry two or three jobs to sustain themselves and a family. Many don’t have an opportunity to visit a bank within the 9 to 5 operating hours provided. Those who live in a “bank desert,” often find themselves using notoriously predatory and even Harmful lenders that profit from vulnerable populations.
Immigrants Do Not Have Well-Developed Financial Literacy With The United States
banking system. When first moving to the United States, regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented, immigrants face a tremendous amount of cultural changes. The United States privatized banking system and a pay-to-play functionality are both very damaging towards low-income populations and tend to keep them trapped in these environments.Financial literacy deficiencies and language barriers, immigrants can easily find themselves falling victim to different types of alternative financial services that advertise themselves directly to immigrant and low-income populations who might not know better.
The odds of immigrants being unbanked are extremely high and disproportionate to other populations.
“As gig economies expand and payment choices proliferate, payment options become the Norm. It’s my goal that point-of-payment systems strengthen the future of both companies and customers,” states Ashish Bahl, founder of Atlanta based company KyckGlobal. Visit www.kyckglobal.com to learn more.