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November 11, 2011 / Raffy Pekson II

Wal-Mart Quietly to Banks – WTF

The 1000th Walmart MoneyCenter, located in Chalmette, La.

Americans say they are fed up with banks. They are protesting on Wall Street and raising a ruckus over outsize fees. Now there is a surprising beneficiary: Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart here has a clerk in a brightly painted Money Center near the entrance, like more than 1,000 other Wal-Marts across the country. Customers can cash work and government checks, pay bills, wire money overseas or load money on to a prepaid debit card. At most Wal-Marts without dedicated Money Centers, the financial services are available at the customer service desks or kiosks.

WTF – Wal-Mart Transactions in Finance. It’s just a pun I used to catch your attention!

Four years ago, Wal-Mart abandoned its plans to obtain a long-sought federal bank charter amid opposition from the banking industry and lawmakers, who feared the huge retailer would drive small bankers out of business and potentially conflate its banking and retail operations. Ever since, Wal-Mart has been quietly building up à la carte financial services, becoming a force among the unbanked and “unhappily banked,” as one Wal-Mart executive put it.

For instance, it offers prepaid debit cards via the Green Dot Corporation. The cards cost up to $4.95 to buy and $5.95 a month to maintain at other retailers, while at Wal-Mart they cost $3 to buy and $3 a month to maintain.

Read more at The New York Times

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