The Mesopotamians used clay tablets as transaction receipts, while the early Egyptians swore by their grain banks for barter. The Greeks used their gilded temples as a medium of monetary exchange and the developing cultures just stored their money under their mattresses.
The first official bank (and the oldest in existence today), the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, was established by Giovanni Medici in 1397. Once set up, this bank served as a model for other banks the world over and thus set rolling global commercial banking operations.
Today, experts estimate that there may be around 15,000+ banks in the world. You’d think that this overabundance in banks would encourage more people to have bank accounts. But sadly, no. Even today, you’ll find people who do not have a bank account to their name.
Living without a bank account
If you’re tired of having a bank account and decide to get rid of it, then you’ll need to know some tips to navigate life without a bank account. Here are some important things that you need to know about, to conduct your affairs comfortably, without a bank account in tow:
- Daily spending
Cash is the best option for everyday spending. Almost all places accept hard cash and you won’t find it too difficult to conduct transactions. The only problem of using cash for everything is that you’ll be forced to carry large wads of cash wherever you go. This is bound to attract unwanted attention.
You may also find it difficult to get/give the exact change and going to an ATM isn’t an option, considering you have no bank account. The best solution for this problem is to use prepaid debit cards or traveler’s checks when you go shopping.
- Prepaid debit cards
These are cards that you can load with money and use when out shopping. You’ll find a lot of shop vendors selling prepaid debit cards. There is no minimum balance that you need to maintain and no credit checks that will be done to ascertain your financial standing.
Just purchase the debit card and load it with money. You can keep topping-up the card as and when you want to.
- Bill payments
Certain local service companies accept cash for bills. If cash isn’t an option, go ahead with a prepaid debit card. Some cards even offer the facility of online payment.
If the company doesn’t accept prepaid debit cards, pay your bills using a money order payable to the biller. Here, you’ll be issued a document (a money-order) after you pay the issuer the money and you can have the money-order addressed to the service company.
- Dealing with checks
If you’ve been asked to encash checks, get in touch with the bank of the person issuing the checks. These banks will encash your checks for a fee. If however, the bank refuses, ask a retailer like K-mart to encash checks for you in lieu of any purchases you make.
- Money transfer
PayPal and Venmo are two favored options for transferring funds. Although you need a bank account to operate these applications, you can also consider loading money onto the applications through a money order or a prepaid debit card.
You can also use the cards offered by the applications like the My Cash cards by PayPal.
- Savings without a savings account
The best way to keep your hard earned money safe without a bank account is to lock it into a secure home safe. You could also load your money into applications like PayPal and use their My Cards option to pay for what you need.
Apart from these, you also have the conventional 'under the mattress', a piggy bank, and the can of beans. You could also invest in property or jewelry which you can later sell and liquidate. You could also consider lending your money to a loved one for safe keeping.