Monet Allen, 20, cashes her paycheck at Community Check Cashing, a nonprofit check cashing store and payday lender in Oakland.

Jose Rivera, 62, needed to cash two checks totaling $176—the fruits of a few days’ work as a gardener in Oakland. Though Rivera has a bank account with a small community bank chain based in San Francisco, he doesn’t deposit these or any other checks into it. Since the company closed its only Oakland location two years ago, Rivera has relied almost exclusively on fringe bankers, such as check cashing stores, to handle his financial affairs.

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