When reading this report about public's awareness about CBDC, I saw a headline that:

Underbanked Adults Are More Likely to Be Favorable of CBDCs

I am trying to find the definition from google and Cambridge dictionary. The definitions are

used to describe groups of people with a particular level of income who do not use all the financial services that those with that income would normally be expected to use

Unbanked adults are defined as those without a checking or savings account. Of those, half report that someone in their household does have a checking or savings account, and half — or 5 percent of all U.S. adults — report that no one in their household has either a checking or savings account.

But this explanation and example seem to be really ambiguous to me, I am looking for an easier-to-understand clarification and/or intuitive example.

  • 6
    "Underbanked " is really economics argot. Perhaps it means having fewer bank accounts and services than average... and perhaps not. One would need to at least read the rest of the article for the definition. Note the advanced use of FLA, rather than TLA (four letter acronym, i.e., CBDC, rather than three letter acronyms), to increase obscurity. Feb 14, 2022 at 1:48
  • 1
    Underserved means those without adequate provision of some service(s). Underfinanced means not having/receiving sufficient finance. Underbanked fits the same pattern. There probably isn't an exact, universally-agreed formal definition (in terms of number of bank accounts or other universally-agreed formal criteria) if that's what you're looking for, but it's more of a tendency indicated by various statistics. Similarly, there are many definitions of "poor".
    – Stuart F
    Feb 14, 2022 at 17:14
  • 1
    Guys, @StuartF is correct. It's not some vague meaningless term. It's financial industry terminology primarily, and it is meant to be understood along the lines of the other under- terms. Feb 15, 2022 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


"Unbanked" describes a person who doesn't use the bank.

"Underbanked" described a person who doesn't use the bank enough.

If Jo is employed in a good job, you might expect them to use a current account, a savings account, and a credit card. They might have the bank pay bills automatically. They might use an a phone app to track their finances. If Jo only has a current account they might be described as "underbanked."

There is a fairly productive context in which "un-" can be replaced with "under". For example:

"Unemployed" describes a person who doesn't have a job.

"Underemployed" describes a person who doesn't have a good enough job.

If Jo has a degree, but works as a cleaner, Jo is underemployed.

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