Research Says Unbanked Still Use Credit Cards
NEW YORK - A leading market research firm says that its surveys are showing that people without bank accounts are often still users of some sort of credit card, whether from a retail store, oil company or financial institution. Scarborough Research said its surveys of 200,000 adult consumers in 75 metropolitan locations in the U.S. found that 22% of the men and women who don't have a relationship with a financial institution nonetheless used a credit card in the past three months. Visa is the preferred brand, the survey found, with roughly 13% or about 1.3 million consumers without bank accounts using a Visa card in the last three months. The primary candidates for cards among those without accounts are the young and lower income, the firm said. "The unbanked are young, tend to be ethnic and just starting out. Credit cards are an important transaction option as they do not have basic financial services, like checking accounts, established yet," said Karla Horton, manager with Scarborough. "Credit card companies aggressively target the younger age group. Often, credit card applications are widely available on college campuses and in malls. Banks and credit card brands who establish relationships with these younger consumers may have an advantage when they are ready to begin using other financial services."