FDIC Offers Online Resources for Unbanked and Underbanked Consumers

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC, fdic.gov) is an independent agency created by the U.S. Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation’s financial system, including by insuring deposits made to banks. Its website boasts that “Since 1933, no depositor has lost a penny of FDIC-insured funds.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the FDIC has been working to develop resources that will make it easier for consumers without a bank account to find a bank where they can open an account online from a computer or mobile device without having to go to into a branch. They developed a new, easy-to-remember web page, fdic.gov/coronavirus, that was launched last week (available only in English at this time), dedicated to helping unbanked or underbanked consumers access the information they need to receive an economic impact payment (stimulus check) electronically.

Unbanked/underbanked consumers can do the following:

  1. Follow the link above or click on the FDIC logo at right to watch a short video on how to open a bank account online.
  2. Click on this link to access the Bank On Coalition’s list of banks that offer remote account opening with a $0 balance in anticipation of the Treasury deposit. The FDIC Coronavirus web page also links to the American Bankers Association’s list of banks that offer remote account opening all across the country (developed in response to the COVID-19 situation), along with additional resources for consumers. Changes to this page and information contained therein might change as the current crisis evolves.
  3. Once someone opens their account, they can then provide the information to the Internal Revenue Service to receive payments electronically through the IRS portal.
  4. The FDIC website has information available in Spanish, but it appears to be general in nature, not necessarily focused on COVID-19. Click here to view. The IRS portal has some information in Spanish about COVID-19 economic impact payments and the link to the English-language fdic/gov/coronavirus page. Click here to view.

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