You're out of a job
With the national unemployment rate still stubbornly high, it's not surprising that a lost job can drive someone to quit his or her bank or supplement financial dealings with alternative finance products. In fact, the unemployed are often automatically exposed to alternative financial products whether they like it or not because many states actually use prepaid debit cards as a way to distribute unemployment funds. So it's not surprising that there's an overlap between the unemployed and the underbanked.
But while a job loss is certainly an economic hit, it doesn't have to derail your ability to use a bank, says Matthew Amster-Burton, a personal finance columnist with Mint.com.
"Your ability to open or keep a bank account depends on your consumer record and your bank's rules about fees and minimums," Amster-Burton says.
Still, it's a good idea to think ahead, and switch to a more affordable banking option while you still have a job.
"The time to switch to a bank with low fees and minimums is now, not when you're in the middle of a personal financial crisis and suddenly can't maintain that minimum balance that seemed easy last month," Amster-Burton says.