Research shows that 1 in 20 Hispanics in America are unbanked, preferring to use a check-cashing service or buy a prepaid debit card instead of depositing their paychecks into a financial institution. Why? Many believe they don’t meet the requirements or have the identification needed for opening an account.

Although using alternative financial providers may sound easier, they are in fact costing Hispanic families hundreds of dollars a year. According to financial review site NerdWallet, unbanked consumers spend anywhere from $200 to $500 on fees each year for services like check cashing, money orders, and prepaid debit cards.

However, thanks to a growing number of credit unions who are committed to serving their Hispanic community, Hispanic Americans no longer need to rely on these alternative services to manage their money. Many credit unions, like Ascentra Credit Union, have a bilingual staff, a welcoming environment, and a genuine understanding of the financial needs of this community.

Choosing a credit union as your financial partner is much easier than you may think. Credit unions are more likely than traditional banks to accept alternative forms of identification, like your passport or municipal ID, to open accounts.

Setting up direct deposit with your employer also can help you save hundreds of dollars annually in check cashing fees, and linking your checking and savings accounts with overdraft protection helps cut the likelihood of overdraft fees. Your employer may also want to help you set up direct deposit, as it’s often a much easier way for them to get your wages to you than writing a check.

Many credit unions offer more flexible account options than traditional banks. For example, you can add a joint account owner to your checking account and get them a debit card that can be used internationally.

Plus, credit unions represent an extremely safe and secure home for your money. Every account in a credit union is protected by the NCUA up to $250,000. That means that, in the very rare circumstance your credit union gets into financial trouble, your money is secure.

This week, rather than parting with a portion of your paycheck at a check-cashing service, visit Ascentra to see how we can help you safely keep all your money.

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