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COVID-19

Those without bank accounts face special challenges during a pandemic

David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon Apr 28, 2020
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Mastercard is expanding its program, pledging to get a billion unbanked people and 50 million unbanked very small businesses into the formal financial system within five years. Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images
COVID-19

Those without bank accounts face special challenges during a pandemic

David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon Apr 28, 2020
Mastercard is expanding its program, pledging to get a billion unbanked people and 50 million unbanked very small businesses into the formal financial system within five years. Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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More than 84 million Americans were unbanked or underbanked in 2017, according to the latest Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation survey, meaning they either don’t have a relationship with a bank or they rely on alternative financial services like check cashers and payday lenders for everyday banking needs.

The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the challenges of not having access to a bank account, which can complicate everything from buying household essentials online to getting — and cashing — your government stimulus check.

Mastercard has a plan to bring 1 billion people into the digital economy by 2025. The payment technology company also wants to sign up 50 million small and micro businesses for the technology needed to accept digital payments, with a focus on closing the gender gap in the digital economy by reaching 25 million women entrepreneurs.

Michael Froman, vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard, spoke to “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio about the importance of banking access.

“One thing that is sometimes underestimated is how expensive it is to be poor, and the kinds of engagements and transactions that people who are financially vulnerable have to rely on to get access to their money,” Froman said.

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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