Crypto Usage Growing Among Unbanked and Low Income Americans

Americans to Splash $40B of Stimulus Checks on Bitcoin and Stocks, Survey Finds

A high number of unbanked and low income-earning persons in the United States are using cryptocurrencies for investments and transactions meaning crypto is playing a vital role in providing them an access to financial services that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

Most of those utilizing cryptocurrencies in the United States are using it as an investment compared to those using it as a payment method or for sending money to friends and family. Majority of those using it as an investment option earn over $100,000. Majority of those using it for transactional motives (payment or to send money) have an income of less than $50,000.

This is according to a recent Financial Well-Being survey report by the Federal Reserve Bank which surveyed 11,874 people. Out of the surveyed, 11% are using crypto for investment, 2% for payments, and just 1% to send money to friends and family. Therefore only 3% are using it for transactional motives. Most or 60% of adults using crypto for transaction and not investment have an income of less than $50,000. Only 24% of those using crypto for transaction and not investment have an income of above $100,000.

13% of all surveyed adult crypto users in the country are underbanked and using crypto for transactional motives compared to 1% of the underbanked who are using it for investment, and 6% of unbanked who did not use cryptocurrency at all.

While 81 percent of all those surveyed had a bank account and never used an alternative financial service, the 13 percent had a bank account but used an alternative financial service because banks did not meet their financial service needs and are categorized as underbanked. The 6% of the surveyed never had a bank account and are therefore categorized as unbanked. The unbanked and underbanked populations increased this year. Most of these are turning to financial alternatives like cryptocurrencies.


Crypto is also being used heavily as an investment option among high earning persons than low income earning individuals. It may tell a story of higher earning populations that are looking for alternative investments. According to the report, 46% of surveyed adults using crypto for investment motives had an income of $100,000. Only 29 percent of those using it for investment had an income under $50,000. 89% of no-retired crypto investors have at least some investment savings, which cements the notion that majority of those investing in crypto are looking for alternative ways of investing.

Majority or 99% of those using crypto for investment and not transactions have a bank account. This agrees with the fact that majority of higher income individuals — or those with $50,000 and above — have a bank account.

The financial well-bring of Americans is increasing after the pandemic economic disruption but the national perception about the economy has declined, notes the report. 78% of adults are doing OK or living comfortably financially, 48% (or 43% more this year) rate the local economy as good or excellent, and three-fourths (or 8% more this year) of parents are doing ok financially.