NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As the holidays arrive, the problems of the "underbanked" -- loosely defined as consumers with no bank accounts who often turn to higher-risk financial services such as payday loans, prepaid debit cards and direct deposit advances -- grow worse.
While the National Retail Foundation expects holiday spending to rise 4.1% from last year, a bigger rise than over the past 10 years, not everyone is taking part.
According to Think Finance, a Fort Worth, Texas, personal financial services provider, 45% of the underbanked are so sick and tired of worrying about financial issues they "wish they could skip" the holidays altogether.
A glimpse at the data provided by Think Finance reveals why so many financially distressed Americans are so distressed over the holidays:
- 45% of underbanked Americans surveyed say they don't have enough money to cover holiday expenses.
- 85% say they will spend the same or less money on holiday gifts this year than they did in 2011.
- 44% define their anxiety level going into the holiday season as either "high or extremely high."
- 41% say they will take advantage of store layaway programs (even 50% of Americans in the $75,000 to $99,000 annual income bracket are counting on using layaway programs this year), but most underbanked Americans say they need another financing option beyond layaway to keep holiday spending under budget.
- 59% say they will carry extensive debt into 2013.