As consumers grow weary of banks with high fees, bad hours and unethical business practices, more and more people are looking for alternative to traditional banking institutions. If you’re looking for a different way to handle your money, check out these 6 alternatives to traditional banks.
1. Virtual Currency
Virtual currency is a new and exciting option for many consumers. There are already unregulated virtual currency companies popping up that allow consumers to purchase their “money” at an exchange, similar to the way you would purchase foreign currency.
While there aren’t any major online retailers that are accepting virtual currency just yet, the trend is sure to take off in the future, giving consumers a different way to buy and sell their goods and services.
2. Small Loan Websites
If you just need a small loan and you don’t want to go through the lengthy bank process to get it, a small loan website may be for you. They operate in a similar way to a traditional bank by charging customers interest, but the main difference is in getting the loan. The entire process is done online, so you can apply whenever you’re available and the application process tends to be easier. Also, there’s no minimum loan amount, so you can get only what you really need.
3. Town or Local Currencies
Some towns are ahead of their times and are instituting local currencies that can be used at businesses in the area. The main draw of these local currencies is that they offer consumers a great bargain – a single dollar of local currency usually costs less than one US dollar. In return, the currencies have to be spent at local businesses, which spurs the local economy.
4. Bank at Walmart
Walmart stores are opening banks within their stores that offer a low-cost alternative to a traditional bank. They offer check-cashing services, pre-paid card loading and other types of in-demand services.
5. State-Owned Banks
Currently, only North Dakota has a state-owned bank, but you can expect others to soon follow in suit. There are currently 18 states looking into the banking industry, giving consumers a greater selection of choices. State-owned banks differ from traditional banks in one key way – deposits are guaranteed by the state, not the federal reserve. State-owned banks typically offer better interest rates, lower-cost services and loan-friendly policies.
6. Credit Unions
If you work for a large company you may be able to join a company credit union. Credit unions offer all of the traditional banking services to members at competitive rates.
These 6 alternatives to traditional banks will give you plenty of options for all of your banking needs. As people grow more weary of traditional banks, more alternatives will take route, giving consumers greater financial independence and control.