Millions of Americans live in households without a bank account. Unbanked households tend to be at-risk along multiple dimensions including being subject to the utilization of costly bank account substitutes, such as check cashers and money orders. Their lack of engagement with the financial system might extend to a lack of engagement with the tax system and the social safety net, depriving them of aid for which they might be eligible. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, unbanked households were among the slowest to benefit from stimulus payments because they could not receive a direct deposit to a bank account. This session will foster discussion on historical trends in unbanked households’ characteristics, what program administrators can know about unbanked households, and why households transition into or out of unbanked status. It will also offer insights into how policymakers can improve efforts at financial inclusion.