6 reasons to be unbanked or underbanked

You can avoid debt collectors, sometimes
You can avoid debt collectors, sometimes © Stephen VanHorn/

Some consumers opt out of the banking system to escape debt collectors, who can levy bank account funds in some cases. But going off the grid to avoid debt collectors isn't a good idea, and it may not be all that effective, Weiss says.

"Although it's true that nonexistent checking accounts can't be liened, a skip trace may very well reveal the debtor's place of employment, which will open up the potential for wage garnishment," he says. "The same or similar investigation may also reveal other property that's owned by the debtor, such as a car or house, which may then be liened, seized and sold to satisfy the outstanding obligation."

But if debt is the issue, consumers may want to consider an alternative financial product like a prepaid debit card, says Bertrand Sosa, co-founder of payment platform Rev Worldwide in Austin, Texas.

"Our first recommendation is to settle all outstanding debts, and a good way to do so is to stop using credit," Sosa says. "To this end, prepaid is a great option and one that can help establish a habit of not borrowing money."

But before consumers use a prepaid card, they need to look carefully at the contract for fees and other terms and conditions, Sosa says.


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