SAN JOSE, Calif. — Wal-Mart's first effort to reach out to underbanked and unbanked customers does not offer them such a good deal, according to a firm trying to compete in the same space.

According to BanX, a firm that issues a prepaid debit card that carries the brand of MasterCard's Maestro network, Wal-Mart's new prepaid Visa card is one of the most expensive options on the market for cardholders. BanX reported that Wal-Mart charges $8.94 to issue its card, $8.94 to issue an additional card, $4.64 to reload the card if the cardholder does not cash a check at Wal-Mart (its free to reload if they do), $1.95 for every domestic ATM transaction and a $4.94 monthly maintenance fee for the card.

The retailer also charges $2.00 per month to issue paper statements, BanX said. Wal-Mart has not yet replied to BanX's observations.

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