Bitcoin is often seen as a perfect solution to solve the unbanked problems in the world. But over in Germany, the government is taking matters into their own hands. As of June 19, every citizen in Germany should have access to a bank account and at a reasonable price. All of the banks in the country have to offer this service to unbanked citizens from now on.
Removing The Unbanked Problem
There is an argument to be made as to why some people would prefer to remain unbanked. Relying on the banking system means giving up financial privacy, whereas cash payments do not require personal information. But at the same time, more and more countries want to get rid of cash altogether, forcing consumers into the waiting arms of financial institutions.
Things are quite different in Germany, though. As of today, every bank in the country must offer a fairly-priced bank account to potential customers. A law was passed by the government recently, which enforced this rule. The discussion about providing this service to unbanked citizens dates back to 2012 and is an initiative by the banks themselves.
Moreover, there is an EU guideline which forces financial institutions to offer a bank account to unbanked people from now on. Up until this point, very few organizations willingly provided services to homeless and other less fortunate individuals. But the new guidelines forces all banks to provide these people an account, as long as the individual is a legal citizen within the EU.
As part of this new directive, new customers will receive access to a bank account, and a credit card. However, they are limited as to what they can do with these tools, and going in the red is not an option. Moreover, banks will need to make their fee structure publicly available, giving consumers every available piece of information to make a well-weighted decision.
It goes without saying not all financial institutions are overcome with joy as part of this new guideline. Some of them are worried this type of unlimited access will be beneficial to money laundering. While this may be the case, it remains to be seen whether or not unbanked EU residents will take the banks up on this offer.
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