Is a Bank Account Worthwhile for Poor People

It is absolutely worthwhile for all people to have a bank account. In fact for people who do earn less than average it is just plain smart to open a free account at a local bank or credit union. When I was just a teenager, and starting to get into the job market I really had no money. I was working for a telemarketing company, and I earned $8.25 per hour. Still not too bad for someone my age (I was 18 at the time.) Each week I would get paid and eagerly run to the check cashing store, and wait in line for about 30 minuets to get passed all the people, so that I could cash my check to make sure that I had the money to pay my rent, or whatever bill was due that week.

These check-cashing stores charge you an average of 2% just to give you you’re the money that your hard work has earned. I was averaging something like $300 per week after taxes, and I was paying $6 per week in order to get my check cashed. One day I decided to add it up. I was paying $312 a year just to have my check cashed. I was basically working 1 week for free each year just to cash my check and paying $12 a year in money orders to pay my rent.

For someone who is earning very little every single penny counts. I opened a free checking account at a bank that just happened to be located inside the Wal-Mart that I frequented often, and I was able to have my check deposited directly into my account at absolutely no cost to me. My first box of checks was free, and I decided that I would use these checks only to pay my rent. That allowed me to write a check for my rent, and that saved me the $12 per year on money order fees. So basically when I was “poor” I saved myself $324 just by opening up a bank account.

Having a checking account also made it much easier to keep track of exactly where all of my money was going each week. When you deal mostly with cash its hard to really tell where everything was spent. But with my bank account I could just look at my debits and really see how much I was spending, and where.

I now have moved on and make more than enough money, and would never consider having to pay someone a percentage of my check in order to cash it. Everyone should have a bank account regardless of income.