A multi-layered account from TandemMoney strives to offer liquidity to the unbanked and underbanked.

Establishing an emergency fund is often considered the first step step for Americans who want to pursure other financial goals such as paying down debt and investing for retirement.

However, it is often absent in the financial toolbox of many consumers, especially for those without a significant relationship with a bank.

TandemMoney offers a solution for such short-term cash needs. A TandemMoney account consists of a prepaid card, savings account, and a line of credit that requires the customer to sign up for direct deposit.

Initially, the credit line serves as a source of “rainy day” funds backed by the trust of having direct deposit. Then, as the customer’s deposit balance grows, a combination of savings and credit will help to pay for unexpected expenses. Finally, the customer is expected to build significant savings to the point where credit is considered the last option for emergencies.

The prepaid card serves as the payment method for these situations.

In the U.S., there are approximately 60 million adults who either don’t possess bank accounts or don’t fully utilize one, according to a 2009 survey by the FDIC. Some 64% of Americans are not able to cover a $1,000 emergency expense, according to a poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

The TandemMoney account caters to this group of Americans, said Nicole Pullman, Director of Marketing at TandemMoney, at FinovateFall 2011, a financial and bank technology conference.

Deposits into the TandemMoney account are FDIC-insured. The prepaid MasterCard is issued by Urban Trust Bank, a community bank in central Florida. The savings account and credit line (reported to credit bureaus) are offered by Premier Bank, a community bank in northwest Iowa.

TandemMoney is scheduled to launch in late October this year.

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