Thinking of a Career as a Bank Teller? You Might Want to Reconsider.

A blog about business and economics.
March 26 2014 7:28 PM

One in Five Americans Hasn’t Been to the Bank in More Than a Year

Branches are shutting down across the country as online and mobile banking takes off.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Are physical banks going the way of the telephone booth?

Alison Griswold Alison Griswold

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.

One in three people in the U.S. reports not visiting the bank for personal financial reasons in the past six months, while one in five hasn’t gone in over a year. That’s according to a new study from financial information aggregator Bankrate, which surveyed 1,003 people on their banking and finance habits earlier this month.


Here’s a chart showing the full breakdown of when people say they last visited a bank or credit union location, using data from the Bankrate report:


The low percentage of regular bank goers shouldn’t be too unexpected, considering the vast number of online and mobile banking options available today. Why schlep to your local teller when you can deposit a check from a smartphone or transfer funds between accounts with a few clicks?

In equally unshocking news, the Wall Street Journal reported in January that branch closures in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 1,487 in 2013. Branches themselves have been declining steadily since 2009, with their numbers shrinking to 96,339 last year.

In light of all that, what might be most surprising is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics isn’t predicting dramatic losses in employment for bank tellers over the next decade. Rather, the BLS projects that employment among bank tellers will remain relatively flat in the years leading up to 2022.

That prediction sure seems optimistic based on the grim outlook for bank branches and low percentages of frequent bank goers. It’s possible that the forecast, which is for the 10-year period between 2012 and 2022, was created before online and mobile banking really began to take off and threaten physical locations.

At any rate, it’s looking like workers shouldn’t put all their stock in a career as a bank teller. In 10 years, there might not be too many counters left to work behind.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nicolas Sarkozy, Thrice Married, Says Gay Marriage Humiliates the Family

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 3:16 PM Watch the Best Part of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.