Is there anything Wal-Mart doesn’t want to sell you? The country’s biggest retailer has announced it will offer low-cost checking accounts to anybody 18 and older.
Wal-Mart is partnering with Green Dot, best known for prepaid debit cards. Wal-Mart says many of its customers are looking for an alternative to high fees at traditional banks.
“GoBank” is a mobile checking account with no overdraft fees, no bounced check fees and no minimum balance requirement. Wal-Mart has tried to obtain a banking license but bank regulators have rejected the idea.
Mike Moebs, CEO of the economic research firm Moebs Services, says by partnering with a bank like Green Dot, Wal-Mart can still get a slice of that business. “Wal-Mart has already done this with check cashing and with money orders and with money transfers and they’ve done it very, very successfully,” says Moebs.
Moebs expects Wal-Mart to get a cut of the so-called “swipe fee” every time a customer uses GoBank’s debit card. Wal-Mart declined to comment on its financial arrangement with Green Dot.
It does say it’ll be quick to sign up for an account. Daniel Eckert, Wal-Mart vice president of financial services, says customers can literally sign up with a smartphone app “in the parking lot.” Apparently that “always low prices” thing is now also “always fast banking.”
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