Having the second-highest level of bank account ownership in ASEAN, we can safely say that many Malaysians are not opposed to basic bank services, but there are still those who do not currently believe in its necessity or even have an account. That is to say, we Malaysians use bank services a lot. But not all of us enjoy the idea of banks completely.
Imagine a world where people just keep their own cash at home. No borrowing or lending from an institution, no credit cards, no loans, and no savings accounts, because there are no more banks. Does this world sound attractive to you?
Why Some People Might Want to Go Bankless
Often times the perception of high fees or the assumed difficulty associated with opening a bank account can lead some to consider forgoing a bank account altogether. Furthermore, some people may carry the idea that banks are inherently bad agents that only seek to gouge the public with extortionate interest rates and enticing people to get into debt. These strong feelings of distrust and frustration may lead them to not use banks at all.
But is it really a better choice to simply go without what has become a commonplace modern convenience? Let’s take a look at the potential pros and cons:
Pros of Being Bankless
A major plus point for these folks that stay bank-free is that they will not incur any account maintenance fees or ATM charges when withdrawing money. Those tiny percentages do add up.
Secondly, some complain about the potentially low interest earnings on savings when compared to returns received from investing in stocks or other instruments.
Another advantage is that it’s much easier to avoid lifestyle creep or lifestyle inflation. Banks often offer to increase your credit limit or credit card with extra perks when your income is found to have increased. This is great incentive for you to keep spending with the bank, even though you don’t actually need to.
Cons of Going Bankless
Let’s see what costs may be incurred as well as the conveniences forgone by not having a bank account:
For one, making bill payments will be troublesome and likely to eat up more time and perhaps even money, if we factor in transport costs.
Next, the notion of keeping your savings under the mattress at home instead of in a bank is rather risky; you can lose all your money in a fire or burglary. Also keep in mind that hard cash is made of materials that can deteriorate over time. Whereas digital bookkeeping in banks means your funds are always accounted for.
Big ticket items like houses and cars require large amounts of cash on hand if you want to pay for it in full. Not having a bank means buying expensive items take a lot longer and is more dangerous, too.
Besides housing loans and car loans, banks also provide personal loans, student loans, and business loans. With no more loans, many people’s education, lives, and businesses will never make it to fruition.
One more disadvantage is that you have to carry cash on you at all times. Which is not a safe thing to do. With a bank account you can safely carry a bank card that won’t weigh your pockets down and has fraud protection too (depending on the card of course) in case your card goes missing.
How to Make the Most Out Of Your Bank Accounts
Despite our frustrations with banks sometimes when things don’t quite go our way, it’s hard to argue against the prevailing necessity of a bank account to live and work in the modern world. For those new to using banks, we suggest you try these to make the most of your bank accounts:
- Sign up for online banking and take advantage of convenient services on offer such a complimentary bill payment services, easy access to your statements and online shopping.
- Get a debit card and carry less cash; you’ll find that it is not only safer (as we’ve covered) but rather convenient too.
- Keep the minimum amount in the bank and you might not have to pay for admin fees, you can simply cover it with interest or dividend earnings.
If you are still without a bank account, you might want to consider opening a basic savings account that only requires a low minimum deposit. Check out our comparison page to see a list of the best basic accounts in Malaysia.