BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart, the nation's leading retailer, has announced an effort to make its stores a significant source of financial services for lower income and underserved consumers, the retail giant said in June 20 press release.
The nation's leading retail chain, has announced that it will open up 1,000 new money centers by the end of 2008. The new centers will be in a quarter of the chain's stores nationwide.
The chain will also roll out a reloadable, Visa branded prepaid card, called the Wal-Mart MoneyCard and said that the centers will help low income consumers with check cashing, money orders, bill payment and money transfers. Together with the Wal-Mart MoneyCard, the chain said low income consumers will have "many of the advantages of a checking account" in their pockets, an easy, safe and convenient way to manage money, pay bills and make purchases. "Wal-Mart is providing a foundation from which customers can achieve their financial goals," the chain said in a prepared release.
"Many of our customers are paying too much, traveling too far and not being well served," said Jane Thompson, president of Wal-Mart financial services. "But they still need to pay their bills, cash their checks and transfer money. We're offering them a safe place and a card to help them manage their money. We've seen firsthand what a difference that can make. It changes lives."
Wal-Mart said it conducts more than two million money services transactions each week and that last year, claimed that customers who used Wal-Mart's services saved an average of $450 per year. With the opening of additional Wal-Mart MoneyCenters, total savings are expected to grow dramatically this year, putting over $320 million back into customers' pockets, Wal-Mart said.
"The $40 our customers save each month can grow to become the down payment on a house or help pay for a child's college education," said Thompson. "That's our goal--to help our customers prepare and save for the future by giving them access to greater financial opportunities."
With 225 currently, Wal-Mart MoneyCenters will double to 450 by the end of this year and then more than double again to 1,000 by the end of 2008, the retailer predicted.