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It is a tall order for the poor or underbanked to participate in the mainstream banking system today. So many individuals are hesitant to engage when they’re convinced they’re unable to out-maneuver the overdraft penalties and banking fees they know are on their way. Concerns like those are why the poor and under-engaged fail to even utilize basic financial assets like savings accounts and credit lines. They’re spiritually defeated before they even start.

The numbers have been glaring for America this last decade: the Financial Health Network’s annual November study revealed in 2019 only 28% of Americans claimed to be financially healthy, while 30% say they have more debt than they can manage. To top it off, 36% are unable to pay all their bills on time.

Those findings immediately steer struggling individuals and families towards alternative means of accessing capital – check cashing and payday loan storefronts or online lenders charging APRs nearing 700. In fact, two-thirds of those who are unbanked stated they have utilized at least one alternative financial service (AFS) in the prior year, per a report by the Federal Reserve. That means a there’s a huge chance those consumers get caught in a debt trap from which they may never see the light of day again. It also means lost market share for credit unions offering much more common-sense and affordable short term lending options.

All of the above suggests a massive opportunity for present and future credit unions to serve their communities in new ways. With so many households reported as “financially unhealthy”, it is vital credit unions move the needle on digital innovation by providing the cognitive behavioral therapy programs and accompanying financial literacy tools necessary to stem the present tide of financial wellness in America.

It is with that continuing mission that QCash Financial puts forward our latest white paper “Financial Wellness for Today”. This paper addresses the state of America’s financial wellness, the ways under-engagement can be felt, stories crucial for understanding what tools are currently available for credit unions, and QCash Financial’s innovative digital wellness app, available for CUs and their communities anywhere.