Wal-Mart Stores seeing increase in its financial services business amid U.S. furor over bank fees

LOS ANGELES, California , November 8, 2011 () – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has seen an increase in the number of people using its financial services as consumers abandon traditional banks over fees, the New York Times reported on Nov. 7.

In addition to offering a prepaid debit card, which costs US$3 to purchase and $3 in maintenance fees every month, Wal-Mart will cash checks for customers, charging a $3 flat fee for checks ranging from $300-$1000 and 1% for checks under $300. Wal-Mart will also help customers pay bills, or wire money overseas. According to The New York Times, Wal-Mart’s large size allows them to offer lower prices than their competitors, which typically charge a percentage of cashed checks and sell their debit cards for up to $4.95, with an additional $5.95 in maintenance every month.

Long a refuge for cash-poor consumers, many of whom have never had a bank account, Wal-Mart officials confirmed the number of people using its financial services has increased as people who are dissatisfied with their respective banks increasingly turn to Wal-Mart for their financial needs. A Wal-Mart spokesperson declined to comment on the precise number of customers who utilize Wal-Mart’s financials services as well as the amount of money that Wal-Mart expects to make by providing these services.

The primary source for this article is the New York Times, New York, on Nov. 7, 2011.

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