America Saves Blog
Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
AUTHOR: By Michael R. Roush, Director, Real Economic Impact Network, National Disability Institute
Oftentimes, individuals with disabilities may not be familiar with savings options that are available to them or they may be afraid to save money due to the fear of jeopardizing public benefits. There are a wide variety of saving strategies that individuals with disabilities can potentially access to achieve their savings goal and build their financial well-being.
The age-old saying,” When it rains it pours” is especially true when an unexpected emergency pops up- as if you had nothing better to do than fork out $500 on new tires, or visiting the doctor. Recently the Federal Reserve noted that almost half of Americans do not have $400 available in an emergency fund.
Consumers want to build a strong financial history. From buying their first car to planning for retirement, consumers face many obstacles with ensuring they stay on the right path to positive financial health. Understanding what is in their credit report is an important first step. However, a traditional credit report only gives part of the consumer’s history.
For most banks, when a consumer applies for a bank account, the bank will not pull a traditional credit report but instead a report like ChexSystems to analyze past “banking” transaction information.
Estimates of the number of unbanked consumers who used to be banked is around 50%. Many of these individuals are no longer banked because their previous bank closed their account due to overdrafts (bounced checks). In these cases, there will be an outstanding amount due to the bank, which appears on the ChexSystems report. Most banks will turn down a potential new customer, if such a negative appears.
Non-profit financial coaches express frustration when this happens, since their client becomes discouraged and is often embarrassed by being turned down. Wouldn’t it be better if the financial coach could access this report before the consumer visits the bank, in order to identify negatives, such as past due amounts. Then they could work out an action plan with their client in order to address the negative and increase their odds of being approved by the bank.
Last September, Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) added ChexSystems' ChexAdvisor Educational Report to our Access service, and so far it has been a great success with many of our non-profit members. It has helped them expand their product offerings to serve a wider variety of client needs, such as access to banking services.
An example of this success is found with Ms. Tee:
After attending a Working Credit workshop, Ms. Tee told her counselor she had a high fee, pre-paid debit card but really wanted to open a checking account. She had tried a while ago, but was denied due to a debt owed to a financial institution, and was afraid to reapply. Her Working Credit counselor pulled her ChexAdvisor report through ChexSystems and discovered that she actually had no red flags on her ChexAdvisor report. Her counselor explained her report to her and recommended some low-cost checking accounts near her home and work.
Written by: Credit Builders Alliance
During America Saves Week 2019, America Saves and the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education® (AFCPE)® collaborated and launched the Connect to an AFC® pilot. The pilot connected over 50 individuals to Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) professionals across the country.