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Wal-Mart tries new payment system

A Wal-Mart store sign in Miami

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: This month, Wal-Mart starts rolling out a new program: the retailer won't issue any more paper checks. Employees can either get paid through direct deposit, or they can get their money loaded onto a pre-paid debit card. Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports on what this means for Wal-Mart workers.


Alisa Roth: Wal-Mart is pitching the new program as a winner for everybody. Workers get their money more quickly and Wal-Mart saves money on payroll, though it won't say how much.

Kimberly Gartner works with people who have limited access to traditional banks. She sees the new program -- and others like it -- as a boon.

Kimberly Gartner: The pre-paid cards provide a really solid option that in many ways have the same opportunities or features and functions as a checking account does.

But some consumer advocates worry the move toward pre-paid cards pushes people away from traditional banks. And helps create a kind of two-tier financial system.

Deyanira Del Rio is with an economic justice resource center in New York. And she says companies should help employees get access to regular accounts.

Deyanira Del Rio: Our concern is essentially that pre-paid cards on a whole are just a very expensive way for most people to conduct financial transactions.

Wal-Mart isn't the first to use these cards for payroll. Several other companies have made the switch. And last year, the federal government started using similar cards to pay social security benefits.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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It costs 2 dollars each use after the first each pay period to wal-mart, plus whatever the atm fee is. Shouldnt be legal, i know i have one.

For those wishing to view their paystub.

Go to w w w dot mywalmart dot com, click on benefits -> my benefits.

You will be redirected to a portal site (you will need to register an account) where you can view/print your paystub online. Just click "online paystub" after loggin in.

I want to see my paycheck stubs.

I can not find a site to view my current pay stub. I want to know where I should go to to find this information.

How are the employees suppose to check the deductions made by Wal-Mart? Are they just to trust the company?

I would love to hear how they are able to do this in CA especially with the employee voluntary authorization. This seems like too much of a risk for WalMart to take on without legally finding a way around.

I'd be very interested to know how Wal Mart is getting away with forcing employees to participate in direct deposit. Certain states do not allow employers to mandate direct deposit participation. CA for example requires employee voluntary authorization.

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