BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — It’s always important to keep your money safe, and one of the best ways to do so is by placing it in a bank. However, while safe banking services can be a great way to help consumers manage their finances, not everyone has the same amount of access to them. This means that some individuals are forced to not have a bank account — which can be hazardous to one’s finances. As a new study shows, though, this concern is not nearly as prevalent in North Dakota as it is in other states.

In order to determine the states with the best and worst banking access, researchers with Forbes Advisor examined data for all 50 states (as well as the District of Columbia) in regard to the number of banks, credit unions, and predatory lenders per capita in each area, as well as their percentages of unbanked households and households with no access to the internet. Information on these statistics was gathered from both the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 1-Year American Community Survey and their 2021 County Business Patterns database, as well as the 2021 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households (households in which no one has a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union).

When this data was analyzed, each state was assigned a total score in relation to their banking habits. The ten states with the highest banking scores are as follows:

RankStateFinancial Institutions Per CapitaPredatory Lenders Per CapitaShare of Unbanked HouseholdsHouseholds Without Internet AccessTotal Score
3New Hampshire29.890.571.40%5.90%94.13
5West Virginia44.330.283.00%13.30%88.97
7North Dakota63.911.923.20%10.50%86.48
8South Dakota58.691.213.70%9.90%86.12
9District of Columbia51.502.684.50%7.00%85.05

While North Dakota is not the first state on the list, it is worth noting that the Peace Garden State ranks higher than any other surveyed area in regard to banks and credit unions per capita (64 for every 100,000 residents). This, combined with relatively low numbers of predatory lending establishments and unbanked households, helps place the state very highly on the list — especially when one considers that the state’s low debt-to-income ratio and housing costs mean that ND is also friendly to savers.

In contrast to these higher numbers, southern states such as New Mexico, Arizona, and South Carolina tend to have far lower banking scores than those in the top ten — primarily due to the large numbers of households without internet access, and shares of unbanked households.

RankStateFinancial Institutions Per CapitaPredatory Lenders Per CapitaShare of Unbanked HouseholdsHouseholds Without Internet AccessTotal Score
46New York26.783.125.90%9.50%9.07
49New Mexico27.493.417.00%13.20%2.67
51South Carolina31.616.975.50%10.80%0.00

In order to view the full study — including detailed infographics and additional information about money management and deciding where and how to keep your money safe — visit this page on Forbes’ website.