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Safe Accounts for Immigrants

Safe Accounts for Immigrants

What is meant by Safe Accounts?

A Safe Account is a non-interest bearing savings account. As such, it does not have to be reported to Internal Revenue Service. Offering such an account is legal and approved by NCUA and other regulators.

Who needs Safe Accounts?

Many immigrants who come to the U.S. do not have social security numbers or qualify for SSNs. They are able to obtain Individual Tax Identification Numbers or ITINs, but until they get one they may have difficulty opening accounts at mainstream financial institutions which often require SSNs to report interest earned to IRS. Many of these immigrants then are forced to use high cost check cashers to convert their payroll checks into cash. It also means many of them carry their money in their wallets or hide their funds in their homes, making them primary targets for crime.

Other households, for religious purposes, do not desire payment of interest. These households could also benefit with a Safe Account.

Why should credit unions care?

Millions of immigrants in the U.S. are unbanked because they do not have a SSN. Many police departments encourage immigrants to open accounts at financial institutions to reduce their vulnerability to crime. Credit unions can be the financial institution of choice for many of these unbanked immigrants.

What can credit unions do?

By offering a Safe share account, credit unions can invite unbanked immigrants without SSNs into their membership. They can give these immigrants a safe place to keep their money and to cash their payroll checks at an affordable cost. It’s an important first step in building a relationship with these households.

Western

Columbus, OH

Safe Accounts » View details

A Safe Account is a non-interest bearing savings account. As such, it does not have to be reported to Internal Revenue Service. Offering such an account is legal and approved by NCUA and other regulators.
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