alternative banking options

Unsplash/Claudio Schwarz

If you are looking for options beyond a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, you’re in luck. Whether you need a loan, want to cash a check, or need to save money, there are alternatives to traditional banks. If you have poor credit, rarely conduct significant financial transactions, or like choices beyond old-school big banks, you can still make your money work for you.

Pre-paid debit cards

If you want to buy things online or offline, using a pre-paid debit card is a great alternative instead of having a traditional bank account. A pre-paid card may charge a nominal fee if you don’t use it often, but it is widely accepted by most retailers, unlike gift cards. Pre-paid debit cards can be loaded at various places for your convenience, and come with online monitoring.

Online banks

Your smartphone or tablet is not only great for playing games or catching up on social media Many online banks, like Chime, attest to having little to no fees, and convenient banking options at your fingertips. You can also use your online bank account to invest money or connect to online shopping.

Digital money

Feeling tired of traditional forms of currency? Join the future and make the switch to digital cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Litecoin, which are decentralized and conduct transactions with transparency. Many retailers accept cryptocurrency for purchasing goods and services, from pizza to electronics. You can even mine for digital currency to build wealth online, or use ATMs in the offline world.

Currency exchanges

Members of the unbanked world can utilize places like currency exchanges or Western Union to cash checks, grab money orders, or wire money. Instead of dealing with hefty bank fees for an account and services, currency exchanges provide multiple services for a low percentage and even let you load pre-paid debit cards.

Credit unions

If you work for a large corporation or live in a specific county, you might be able to sign up for an account with a credit union. Credit unions offer similar services as a traditional bank, but they operate as a non-profit. An account with a credit union comes with lower fees for joining, so you get to keep more of your money in your pocket.