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Alternative Financial Services: Do We Need Them?

There are LOTS of ways to borrow money, but not all of them are healthy. The infographic below lists some ways that a consumer can borrow--from banks to pawn shops. Some are the traditional sources of financial services, and others are called "alternative" financial services.


Now some will argue that there is a need for alternative financial services. Perhaps they provide the access to credit and bill paying that traditional banks are not interested in providing to some consumers. Or maybe there are some consumers who simply don't trust traditional banks, and choose to rely on alternative financial services.


The controversy continues because of this tension between whether alternative financial services meet a need in our society or whether they are indeed predatory and should be stopped.


For discussion:

  • Read through the infographic below. What are some of the benefits and risks associated with these providers of alternative financial services? 
  • In your opinion, should alternative financial services be stopped?
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