The following post comes from the America Saves Blog. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

July 3, 2013

In a new report released last week, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) revealed that basic savings accounts remain an important savings vehicle for most Americans, especially for low- and moderate-income (LMI) families.

Basic Savings Accounts Important for Lower-Income Families

o    Nearly half of all families (49%) had a “traditional” (or basic) savings account with a median balance of $2,400.
o    More than one-third of all LMI families (37%) had one of these accounts with a median balance of $800.
o    That represented 16 million LMI families with total balances exceeding $13 billion.

Basic Savings Accounts Help Families Save for Emergencies

As the report notes, these basic savings accounts represent the best source of funds for LMI, and even many middle-income, families to pay for unexpected expenses such as car repairs and many medical and dental bills.

Availability of Savings Accounts

o    Basic savings accounts are offered by nearly all of the more than 14,000 U.S. banks and credit unions;
o    are guaranteed by the government;
o    are easy to access because of low opening balances ($100 or less at 89% of the banks, and $50 or less at 39% of the banks) and the ubiquity of ATMs;
o    and are free if minimum balances requirements are met or, at many bank branches, if automatic deposits of as little as $25 are made monthly.

Other alternatives, including payday loans, are almost always more costly financially or socially.

The report was based on analysis of two new sources of data – unpublished data on traditional savings accounts from the Federal Reserve Board’s 2010 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) and research of the websites of the 50 largest banks (by number of branches), 50 typical medium-size banks, 50 typical small banks, and 10 largest credit unions, supplemented by phone calls to many of the institutions.

Need help saving?  Want to pay down debt?  Take the Military Saves Pledge today then visit for information and inspiration.

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | April 22, 2014

    Is your child a victim of Identity theft? Find out!

Saver Stories View all »

When You Start Small, Saving is Easy

Written by Lila Quintiliani | August 12, 2019

When Attiyya first got married, she and her Marine husband had just graduated from college and were focused on paying off student loan debt. They had both attended private schools and had sizeable loans. Then three months after the wedding, the couple found out they were pregnant with their first child.

The first year of their marriage, says Attiyya, was a balancing act between paying down debt and saving for the future.


Setting a Goal Leads to Success

Written by Super User | May 24, 2019

Growing up, Marisa’s dad had always talked about saving first, but she said she didn’t really internalize it until much later. “I was drifting along with no plan, carrying a little bit of revolving debt, saving some money here and there, but without a real plan for it.”


Living the Dream: This Military Couple Retired Early

Written by Jackie Toops | March 18, 2021

“Continuous dedication to financial peace pays off,” shares military couple, Denise and Jim. They would know, because at ages 52 and 53, they are already retired. The couple enjoyed life as an Army family for 32 and a half years and started planning for retirement decades ago. Denise shares, “We are not working a paid job, but are volunteering and meeting some personal fitness goals and enjoying some time together after many years spent geographically apart. It can be done!”