15 percent of Canadians are ‘underbanked’ — here’s what that means and why it’s a barrier to equitable recovery

Research shows that 15 percent, or close to five million Canadians, are underbanked, and three percent are completely unbanked, meaning that they have very limited or no access to financial services within the traditional banking sector. 

Ironically, underbanked individuals often come from low-moderate income backgrounds which put them at a higher need for accessible financial services. However, factors like low credit scores, high credit card fees, and non-sufficient fund fees are major barriers that shut Canadians out from banks.

Instances of explicit racism while banking, which include being handcuffed when trying to open a bank account, have further diminished the trust in banks for many Black, Indigenous and people of colour.  



Helping financial empowerment champions deliver critical services to low-income Canadians

Service design consultancy Bridgeable provides an overview of the project partnership with Prosper Canada in April 2020 to take a design sprint approach in providing remote tax-filing and benefits application service solution.

Over the course of four consecutive days, Bridgeable worked with eighteen financial empowerment champion (FEC) partners to generate solutions to four key aspects for remote service delivery:

  1. Communicating with clients
  2. Verifying client ID
  3. Obtaining consent or signatures
  4. Obtaining or accessing client information