I don’t want to sound ignorant (even though I am ignorant of this issue) hence me asking…
Isn’t it possible for most people to deposit checks through mobile banking apps? Both banks I use have this feature, money is usually available same day although sometimes they randomly hold it for 1-2 days for verification measures. (yes, I know one to two days makes or breaks your financial situation when you’re living paycheck to paycheck and need to pay bills) I know that many won’t have smartphones, but many (or even most I’m guessing?) do as a cellphone is a near necessity for working and surviving in today’s America. Is it hard to find a pay by minute or pay by gig cellphone that’s compatible with these apps? I can imagine that many older people won’t know how to access this kind of service which would be a big roadblock.
One of my institutions is a credit union. It is awesome. No fees ever, reimbursement for any incurred atm withdrawal fees, and I even get 5% cash back on checking. Their banking app and their website are great. (access to this credit union is restricted to certain employees and their families, i get it because of my dad’s job)
The other institution is a bank. It’s also great. No fees. Mobile banking app with check deposit. (Capital One).
I know there can be roadblocks for lower income people to even use banks at all, but I’m pretty certain Capital One’s initial deposit is zero dollars or like $5. No minimum to keep the account (i use this account less and most of the time there’s under $100 in there, often hovering around $5 if I forget about it for a while).https://www.capitalone.com/bank/checking-accounts/online-checking-account/
I realize it’s a privilege to even know about these banking options (if you don’t have a bank account and most of the people you know don’t either, you might not hear about Capital One’s fee free checking.) Also, I know that capital one is not available in all areas. When I go to my hometown it’s harder to bank with this account.
It’s kind of unbelievable that in a first world country like the US so many people cannot access banking services. ( I mean, ditto for healthcare though, sigh …)
I think the onus for solving this should be on employers as well. Check cashing places may be less necessary if more people had direct deposit. Plenty of low income workers are employed by very large and massively profitable companies that certainly have the means to provide direct deposit.
I second support for credit unions. I think the government/public schooling/employers need to offer more information and benefits.
Also, if I was in need of this kind of information or support, the first place I would go would be my public library. I think that if libraries aren’t offering educational services like this they should be!!! (in my city a quick search shows personal finance seminars, but seems focused on stuff like retirement savings vs basic financial services to combat poverty and help working class/paycheck to paycheck people)
it seems some states allow employers to require that employees provide banking info for direct deposit of paychecks http://www.hrknowledge.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Direct-Deposit-State-Law-Guidelines.pdf , although I’m not seeing anything about the other way around: employees required to give out direct deposit paychecks or offer the option.