Post Office Financial Services Could Benefit 68 Million Unbanked Americans
Unbanked and underbanked Americans may soon be headed to the post office to cash their checks. The U.S. Postal service is pushing to bring budget-friendly banking services to your local post office.
USPS already offers some financial services, such as money orders and international money orders, but the new plan could make way for a variety of other opportunities for underserved Americans. In The Road Ahead for Postal Financial Services, the Office of Inspector General reveals a growing need for affordable banking in America, thanks in part to the move to digital banking.
The report states, “Entire industries are scaling back their brick-and-mortar facilities and setting up digital platforms for services like e-commerce, e-health, e-government, and e-banking. One unintended consequence of this digitization trend is that some citizens are isolated and cut off from important services they need.”
The idea of post office banking was first discussed just over a year ago, when USPS announced a possible expansion of their financial services, including payday loans, digital currency and check cashing. At that time, the Office of Inspector General said, “If just 10% of the money underserved Americans currently spend on alternative financial services were instead spent on more affordable products from the Postal Service, it could generate some $8.9 billion in new revenue.”
Predictions from the latest report indicate the proposed financial services could actually boost revenues by $10 billion, easily covering the $6 billion annual deficit projected for this year. The new services could provide banking options for 68 million underserved U.S. citizens.
If executed correctly, post office banking could help citizens and the USPS alike. There is already a similar program in India, providing core banking services and money transfers in rural communities throughout the country. The modernization of India’s postal service has proven to be a benefit for citizens and that postal system.