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Wal-Mart expands check-cashing service

The mega-retailer will now cash a wider variety of preprinted checks. It's a clever way to get people with ready money into their stores.

By Karen Datko Aug 10, 2011 4:23PM

In a nation with 17.7 million "unbanked" adults -- and likely more since banks began raising checking account fees -- Wal-Mart sees a golden opportunity.

 

The mega-retailer announced this week that it will cash more types of preprinted checks, including those for 401k's, student loans and rebates. A Wal-Mart store is definitely preferable to those check-cashing places with bulletproof glass and large, percentage-based fees -- if there's a Wal-Mart in your neighborhood and you can get out the door without filling a cart with useless stuff.

 

Here's the upside for Wal-Mart, according to the Sun Sentinel in Florida:

It can draw in more check-cashing customers who can spend at its stores. It can encourage those customers to load cash onto its prepaid cards, which can be used at its stores and elsewhere. And it can earn fees when customers use the prepaid cards.

The check-cashing fee at Wal-Mart is only $3 for checks up to $1,000, and it's twice that for checks up to $5,000. If you load that money on a Walmart MoneyCard, the reload fee is waived, Wal-Mart says. Wal-Mart will also continue to offer its bill pay and money transfer services. Post continues after recent video about another Wal-Mart service.

Specifically, here's what's being offered as of this week:

  • More types of checks. Now, in addition to payroll and government checks, including tax refunds, Wal-Mart will cash preprinted checks for rebates, student loans, insurance, pensions, 401k's and other types of retirement checks. Note that personal checks are not included.
  • Cards, down to the penny. Wal-Mart will cash payroll and some government benefit cards, and give the exact amount, including the change. It says it's the first major retailer to do that, rather than sticking to $10 or $20 increments.
  • More forms of ID accepted. In addition to driver's licenses and military and tribal IDs, Wal-Mart now accepts passports and state ID cards.
  • Check-cashing lanes. At more than 650 stores, some checkout lanes will be designated check- and card-cashing only, generally on Friday afternoons and on the first and 15th day of each month, when many people get their checks.

Check cashing isn't available at Wal-Marts in New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island because of state laws.

 

According to the FDIC, in 2009 about 17.7 million people were unbanked -- having no savings or checking account -- and another 43 million U.S. adults were "underbanked" -- having a checking or savings account but also using other non-bank services like money orders, check-cashing services, and payday loans.

 

More on MSN Money:

8Comments
Aug 11, 2011 10:54AM
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bottom line....walmart is sneaking into the banking business via taking advantage of those least able to afford their unfair "business" tactics.....

leave it to them to find a loop-hole in the denial of their request to be a bank....

Aug 11, 2011 9:54AM
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HumanRights... you can be right... but again... not every illegal immigrant is from Mexico, you moron. It's called survival tactics. By the way, who do you think is cutting the checks for these "Mexicans"? Maybe you need to refocus your biased argument to the employer, NOT the employee. The employee earned it. Maybe the employer needs to follow ethical practices and recover FUTA, SUTA, social security, etc. Instead, HE/SHE is the one screwing "our" government, not the immigrant. Have a great day. My caucasian gardener is about to mow my lawn while I sip lemonade.
Aug 11, 2011 8:04AM
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I can take my check to a bank that I belong to and not get charged a fee.
Aug 11, 2011 10:09AM
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that's all fine but lets state the facts here, Wal Mart does not carry the amount of cash that banks do, if you ever walk in to one of the stores the line is out of this world not only for returns but for money grams, money orders as well as check cashing, have other registers open for cash checking? yes! but those will be less registers open for customers who are have been standing in line waiting to be checked out. Wal Mart can say that by having a check cashing service will boost sales but over half the time the customers who just come out of those check cashing lines waiting for their checks to be cashed will just turn and see the long lines and just say im not shopping here the lines are too long, thus they go some where else. Wal mart used to pride themselves on customer service, now you look at the stores and there is no help on the floor and not all the check stands are open. Corporate greed? maybe but they want sales get GET MORE PEOPLE TO WORK then you'll get the sales that you have been searching for.
May 11, 2012 7:58AM
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The best  thing that ever happened in AMERICA so far is WAL-MART, excellent service, convinces, and friendly staff, So you all may as well come on over.  NO I AM NOT AN EMPLOYEE OR STAFF MEMBER I have  just been a customer for the past 24 years.
Aug 11, 2011 9:26AM
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B.S.!!! It is tailored to illegal immigrants to cash their illegal employment checks! Once cashed, those illegal immigrants send a large portion of that money to Mexico. How do I know? I see it almost every week I am there for weekly grocery shopping. No questions asked. No IDs required. Just walk in, cash, and send it overseas. And the most pathetic thing is that our government can't track how that money is being used. I call for an immediate 35% tax on all money sent overseas! This will help us relieve some of our debt. Remember... those illegals don't pay taxes! So they need to be taxed
Aug 10, 2011 10:01PM
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Wal mart is still a horrible monopoly, and I will still not go there for anything!
Aug 11, 2011 10:26AM
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"if there's a Wal-Mart in your neighborhood and you can get out the door without filling a cart with useless stuff."

Enough said!

Walmart is capitalism at its absolute worst.

If you work for Walmart, you hate America.
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