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Reporter Closes Bank Account, Opens Can of Worms

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Candice Choi, a reporter with the Associated Press, recently spent a month living without a bank, making a go of it "on the economic fringe."

Choi writes:

"The fees were constant: $28 to cash a paycheck. $1.50 for a money order. A dollar or more every time I swiped the prepaid cash card I bought at the drug store.

"In all, I racked up $93 in fees in a monthlong experiment of living without a bank and making a go of it on the economic fringe. That works out to $1,100 a year just to spend my own money.

"It may be hard to fathom why anyone would live this way, but a federal study last year found that about one in four U.S. households skirts banks and relies on services such as check-cashing and payday loans. Many of these households bring in less than $30,000 a year.:

She posits that "Some do it because they believe they don't have enough money to open a bank account or were burned by fees in the past...Many can't open an account because of a history of bad checks or damaged credit...Language barriers intimidate some would-be customers, or they simply feel banks aren't welcoming."

But others might do it for altogether different reasons. Like, say...oh, I don't know, maybe while someone's reading an article online about how usurious and needlessly expensive check cashing places and payday loan shops are, an ad suddenly appears touting all the benefits of what the reporter in question is in the process of debunking?

Nah...that's never happen. Oh...wait. Uh....

I stand corrected.
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