Lower-cost alternatives to brick-and-mortar banks


A host of new fintech companies and offerings from traditional financial institutions promises to lower costs and add convenience for the un banked and underbanked consumers.

U.S. Bank, one of the largest banks in the country, offers a prepaid debit account with online and mobile banking — two traditional banking perks often not included in prepaid accounts. The monthly maintenance fee is $4.95.

In 2018, PayPal announced a new initiative to help those who go without traditional banking services. The company launched no-fee products in effort to “do more to enable under-served consumers to have more control over their financial health,” PayPal said in a statement. These include a no-fee debit card and a wider range of cash deposit locations, including CVS, 7-Eleven and Rite Aid.

Experts say financial products for the un-banked need to consider most individuals may live in communities without internet access. Vments, for example, allows un-banked individuals to exchange digital cash for actual cash without the need of internet or cellphone signal, making it easier for customers to transfer money.

For individuals seeking a banking alternative, it’s important to read the fine print and have an understanding of monthly fees and charges. Local organizations offer support in finding affordable financial services and can be found through this database.

Southwest Check Cashing & Liquor Store offers the Nexis Prepaid Card which can be purchased at our location on Washington Boulevard in Baltimore.