Spent: Looking for Change is a film about everyday Americans without the financial options most of us take for granted and the movement giving them renewed hope. Turning to pawn shops, check cashing services, and using payday loans to meet basic financial needs can be costly for many of us, with $89 billion a year going to fees and interest for using these types of alternative financial services.
Spent is a documentary, made possible by American Express, on hardworking Americans who do not have a bank account or access to traditional financial services. There are nearly 70 million Americans that are unbank and financially underserved. They rely on cash and checks and turn to alternative financial services like check cashers, pawn shops, money order services and payday lenders.
For a large portion of Americans the traditional financial system just isn’t working. Lack of access to banking services and credit, as well as adequate financial education are holding people back. But unlike so many societal issues, this problem is solvable. The FDIC estimates that more than 40% of Americans have used an alternative financial service at some point in their life. It’s time for change. New technology, new ideas and encouraging dialogue around this issue can help make managing money simple and more affordable.