“Banks are starting to make a bigger play for a market they’ve long ignored: people without a traditional bank account.

The latest company to aim for customers outside the financial mainstream is TCF Financial. The Wayzata-based company is rolling out a service called ZEO at its 342 branches Monday that enables customers to cash checks, start a savings account, deposit money directly to a reloadable prepaid debit card and pay bills — all without a standard checking account.

The services are sold as a low-risk way for customers to disentangle themselves from the world of check-cashing firms and payday lenders. There’s no minimum balance required on the savings account and no chance of overdraft fees.

But they are also a way for banks, in an era of moderate revenue growth, to attract millions of new customers and drive traffic to branches.

“We’re seeing efforts by traditional banks and credit unions to create new or tweak existing products to market to a population that is not traditionally served,” said Tracy Fischman, director of Prepare + Prosper, a St. Paul nonprofit that helps low-income people with their taxes. “There’s a growing recognition, and I think there’s also growing pressure from policymakers.””

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