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Shop Wal-Mart online and pay cash

The stores' new 'Pay With Cash' program lets customers reserve items online for in-store cash pickup.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 22, 2012 12:44PM

This post comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner siteSmartMoney.


The one place cash isn't king is online. But Wal-Mart and other retailers may change that.


Image: Man Taking Money Out of Wallet © NULL/CorbisNext month, reportedly will start "Pay With Cash," which lets customers reserve items online for in-store pickup. Although the target audience may be the estimated 20% of Wal-Mart customers without a bank account or credit card, experts say the service could also benefit consumers who are trying to stick to a budget or are wary that keying in their credit card numbers online exposes them to fraud.


"It's good for the reconnaissance shopper who wants to get in and get out," says Gail Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. "They don’t need to tempt themselves further." Wal-Mart did not respond to requests for comment. (Post continues below.)

Online ordering with in-store pickup is getting more common. Wal-Mart already offers site-to-store shipping, for example, although customers must pay for those orders online. Best Buy, L.L. Bean, Payless and Radio Shack are among the other retailers offering similar options. Those policies help even credit-paying online shoppers avoid shipping fees and stack more discount coupons.


Still, reserving items online for in-store pickup isn't without its pitfalls, says Cunningham. Most stores require the person who ordered an item to be the one who picks it up, with photo ID on hand as proof. Stores may also arrange pickup at the customer service desk, where lines can be nearly as long as those at the register. "We don't yet know with Wal-Mart's program what hoops you'll have to jump through," she says.


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