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Why the Unbanked Community Matters to Your Business

Today, there are 25 million unbanked people and 40 million underbanked people in the United States with no or low credit scores.  The uniqueness of the unbanked and underbanked population is changing the services businesses provide and the way they accommodate their consumers. These consumers have become an important asset to the c-store industry and continue to offer store owners the opportunity to expand their business.  Now, being able to provide products and services that specifically benefit the unbanked and underbanked is as necessary as the standard sodas, tobacco, and snacks in the c-store.

Location is Key

The unbanked or underbanked consumer tends to be a frequent shopper of their local convenience store.  Because many of these consumers are unable to keep reliable transportation, the businesses nearest to their homes are the ones that are most valuable to them.  Convenience and small grocery stores in neighborhoods with a high population of unbanked or underbanked consumers are uniquely positioned to cater to this niche customer group.  The more a consumer can accomplish in their local convenience store, the easier their life can be.

The Most Loyal Customers

Whether it be because of choice, circumstance, or misfortune, being unbanked or underbanked leaves consumers with unmet needs.  These consumers often become loyal customers of the businesses that allow them to overcome their challenges and live a more satisfying life.  Conveniences stores that provide solutions the unbanked and underbanked need in a comfortable and relaxed setting often become regular destinations for these consumers and gain an improved reputation.  This convenient customer experience is one that will keep the unbanked and underbanked coming back time and time again.

Become the One-Stop Shop

Many unbanked and underbanked consumers are often left cashing their paychecks at businesses that charge hefty fees.  They then have to turn this cash into money orders, which also cost money, to pay their bills.  Now, convenience stores can offer these services in one place, without the burdensome fee structure.  Products like bill pay, check cashing, ATMs, and money orders turn the convenience store into a one-stop shop for handling all financial obligations.  By selling prepaid cards, the c-store can even give unbanked or underbanked consumers the ability to take advantage of services like online shopping.  What’s even better is, the customers who come in to pay a bill, cash a check, or anything else are more likely to purchase additional products like snacks or beverages, which brings in even more additional revenue.

Offering services and products that meet the needs of unbanked and underbanked consumers is one of the most promising opportunities for convenience store owners today.  The recurring needs of these consumers is proving to be a great way for even single store owners to grow their business and enhance their value to the community without too much added work or expense.  As technology advances and more alternative banking options become available, c-store owners should be taking advantage and making the most of the additional technology and ultimately dollars.

in Building Your Business, Consumer Trends, goEBT News, The Banking Revolution