This has probably happened to you. You are out shopping and are ready to purchase something and you realize your wallet is completely devoid of cash. Luckily, you find the nearest ATM to withdraw money or you pay for your goods with a credit card. Luckily, you are banked.
For the 1.7 billion people who are unbanked, however, there is no solution to this common occurrence. Living without access to financial services, like a savings account or an ATM, means their lives are very unpractical. They may store their money in unsafe places, like under the mattress or in a tin at home. Or they may borrow money from friends or neighbors when cash is running low. For many others, low cash flow means the need to take on a second job or selling their assets.
Saint Louis Medecene and Dalia JaNoelle know how unpractical life can be as they were unbanked most of their lives. As farmers in Haiti and parents to 10 children, the couple has had their share of problems making ends meet. Sometimes, Saint Louis would work part-time in construction or clean the yard of an estate just to get extra cash in his pocket. Other times, when they faced great difficulty, they would reluctantly sell their goats to purchase seeds for the farm.
Saint Louis had previously approached several banks to obtain loans but was consistently rejected. “When a FINCA loan officer came to my neighborhood, it was a lifesaver,” he says. Today, with access to FINCA loans, he doesn’t worry about having to sell his goats.
The loans have changed my family’s life a lot.
With the profits from his farm, Saint Louis and Dalia don’t worry about having to pay for their children’s school fees, food and other needs.
Easily accessing money when they need it is one of the ways small business owners like Saint Louis and Dalia can remain unstoppable. The couple can now focus their time on growing their farm, providing for their family and planning for their futures.
You could be unbanked, too.
FINCA recently launched a new campaign, the Unstoppable Campaign, to showcase how FINCA transforms the lives of unbanked people around the world. It is also an opportunity for you to get a glimpse, first-hand, what it is like to feel “unbanked.”
Head to IamUnbanked.org, watch our latest campaign video and join the Unbanked Challenge, where you’ll pledge to spend one day or more without using credit and debit cards, ATMs, payment apps, checking and savings accounts, and with no online access to your money. You’ll only use the cash in your wallet to understand what it would be like to be unbanked. Don’t forget to share your experiences on social media with the hashtag #IamUnbanked.