One way to store money without a bank account, could simply be keeping it in banknotes, however that's not very safe. So is there another way to store digital money that is not a bank account? Cryptocurrencies are the only other way I know, but they seem to be immature and fluctuate a lot... What about PayPal? And what if they fail or something? I feel like I am forced to be the customer of a bank, when the only thing I want is a way to securely store money without putting it in hands I don't trust. How come we still haven't figured this out? From slightly different perspective: can the concept of investing be decoupled from the concept of simply storing?

An example of a better alternative could be a sort of digital equivalent of banknotes, that is issued by a central bank like ECB or FED that can create money out of thin air, and that can be kept within an account in these institutions. Why can't we have this? This way, the entire EU or USA should fail in order for me to loose money, whereas if I put the money into a bank that is not a central one, it would be enought to loose money if that single bank failed. I read about the insurance for accounts under 100k, but if this insurance is provided by a government that can't print its own currency, like most countries in the EU, where are they going to get these 100k euros for each person that had that amount or less? The funds that they have setup, will they be enought for the bank savings of major european countries?

Moreover, it seems like we are going towards another big financial crash in 2019, and banks are still very exposed due to the ownership of very inflated financial assets. All major indices are deep in bearish territory, many banks have seen their value depreciated, and quantitative easing has ended. Could this move also be a good way to avoid being among the ones that will save banks through bail-in? I know it could seem exaggerated now, but waiting until the last moment when everybody talks about this will be too late.

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    In the EU, PayPal is a bank, licensed and regulated as such in Luxembourg. – Mike Scott Jan 6 '19 at 8:26
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    "however that's not very safe." - in most countries for amounts you likely have (i.e. under 100k aroundish) it is VERY safe as it is insured by the government. Even in Cypria during the 2008 crisis the bank cut only affected amounts above insurance level. – TomTom Jan 6 '19 at 10:47
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    @Tomtom the OP is referring to storing banknotes at home, as in stuffed under a mattress. Your point seems to be about why keeping them in a bank is safer. – Charles E. Grant Jan 6 '19 at 17:38
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    @CharlesE.Grant After saying that keeping banknotes isn't that safe, OP then talks about digital money. – mkennedy Jan 6 '19 at 18:00
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    This sounds like an X-Y problem. What are you trying to avoid by not using a bank? – Aganju Jan 6 '19 at 23:27

You have 2 options: keep it yourself or let someone else keep it.

  • If you keep it yourself, you can keep it in cash or buy things you might be able to sell, such as gold, rare stamps, wine, antiques, or even land. But you'll need to defend the stash yourself, and if it's not cash, there will be the inconvenience of trying to find buyers, agreeing on valuations, etc.

  • If you let someone else keep it for you, there's always going to be the question of whether they will give it back eventually. It doesn't matter whether it's a bank, a sorta-kinda bank, or a kindly stranger you just met - there's always the chance that they will not return your cash because they lost it, used it for themselves, don't want to give it back, or whatever.

So if you want to store currency with 100% safety, no hassle and no cost, and expect to get 100% back whenever you want it, the answer to your question is no, such stores don't exist. However, government bonds from stable governments do come pretty close. You might also want to reconsider banks - they're usually quite good at this kind of thing as well.

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  • Tel that to my crypto wallets please. – TomTom Jan 6 '19 at 10:47
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    @TomTom The OP excluded cryptocurrencies on the basis of price fluctuation - that relates to the "get 100% back" bit. – Lawrence Jan 6 '19 at 10:49
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    Wouldn't a credit union give you (effectively) 100% safety and no cost? Mine does. – JohnFx Jan 7 '19 at 20:29
  • @JohnFx How does that work? – John Jan 7 '19 at 21:19
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    @John Credit Unions are insured in the US by NCUA (not FDIC). They don't screw you over with fees. I haven't had a "real bank account" in at least twenty years. And yes, my CU even holds my mortgage. – Aaron D. Marasco Jan 7 '19 at 23:13

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