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Household Financial Access and Use of Alternative Financial Services in the U.S.: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

Julie Birkenmaier () and Qiang Fu ()
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Julie Birkenmaier: College for Public Health and Social Justice
Qiang Fu: College for Public Health and Social Justice

Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 2018, vol. 139, issue 3, 1169-1185

Abstract: Abstract Financial access, or the household use of formal financial services, includes the ability to access transaction, credit, and investment products and services from formal financial institutions. In contrast, households that use Alternative Financial Services (AFS), or products and services from non-bank sources, lack full financial access and are considered financially excluded. Financial access is a necessary component of strong household financial well-being. Some researchers discuss the two as opposite sides of the same construct, or “two sides of the same coin” because they are closely related features of one idea. Using national data from the 2015 Financial Capability Study (n = 27,564), this study sought to explore the nature of the relationship between financial access and AFS use using confirmatory factor analysis. Results suggest that the two concepts are weakly and positively related, which suggests that they are not “two sides of the same coin”. The determinates of AFS use are complex, and may include social factors. A holistic approach to expanding financial access may be most effective. Policy implications are also discussed.

Keywords: Alternative Financial Services; Financial access; Financial exclusion; Social exclusion; Unbanked; Underbanked (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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