New bilingual apps are helping Latinos get unbanked debit cards

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Financial technology companies are offering Latinos a way to get debit cards they might not otherwise be able to get for cashless transactions.

COLORADO, USA — Latino households are less likely to use the banking system than non-Hispanic whites, and some financial technology (fintech) companies want to change that by helping unbanked Latinos get debit cards so they can make cashless transactions.

Corresponding NBC Newsa 2019 FDIC survey showed that 12.2% of Hispanic households were unbanked compared to 2.5% of white households.

That top two Reasons to the Unbanked households not having bank accounts were not having enough money to meet minimum balance requirements and a distrust of banks.

Corresponding axiosBanks have historically charged people of color higher fees, made it harder for them to access business credit, or given them more expensive mortgages. Lack of access to banks can also make it difficult for Latinos to access auto leasing, high-yield savings, and good credit.

To help Latinos get debit cards they can use to make cashless transactions, some fintech companies have offer mobile apps that do not require a social security number and accept an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) or a Mexican Matrícula card.

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Some of the newer options offered by fintech and designed specifically for Latino and Hispanic immigrants include the bilingual digital wallets or applications. PODERcard and B9which Axios says offer linked prepaid debit cards that can be used in stores and ATMs with no commissions or minimums.

“There’s this myth that the immigrant and Latino community only wants to do cash transactions, but it only happened because there was no other option,” said Raúl Lomelí-Azoubel, co-founder of SaberesPoder (SEP). axios. “We know this community wants to save and invest and needs these financial solutions.”

Historically, Latinos have used fintech products like PayPal’s Remitly and Xoom Send money from the US to Latin America and the Caribbean instead of banks, Axios said.

NBC News said unbanked people can take a big hit in their wallets by cashing checks, the cost of bank checks or high-interest payday loans.

The cost of cashing a check can range from 1% to 12% of the check value; Cashier checks cost between $10 and $15, and those who use payday loans end up paying more than 300% interest, according to NBC News.

Axios says Latinos, particularly undocumented people in the country, are more reliant on robbery services payday loanthat have very high interest rates, or check cashing or money order services that incur high fees.

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