Walmarts Tries To Become Your Bank With The "Walmart MoneyCard"

“Would you like to load your check onto a Wal-Mart MoneyCard?”

Get ready to hear this phrase whenever you cash a check at Walmart (which you shouldn’t do anyway, but that’s another post.) Walmart has launched a prepaid debit card, issued from the same bank that also issues their credit cards.

Why is Walmart doing this? They’re going after the “unbanked” market, the same group of people who get screwed with payday loans, income tax advance refund loans, prepaid debit card fees, auto-title loans and every other awful “service” that this website warns you about.

Check our Walmart’s awesomely evil deal: Cashing your check costs $3.00, but if you put the money on a Walmart MoneyCard, they’ll waive the $4.64 “loading” fee. Neat! After that it’s only $4.94 a month to keep your money on the card.

Want to know how much is left? That’ll be $0.70 to check your balance .This card, in essence, takes people who don’t have access to the banking system in this country and makes Walmart their “bank.” Except it’s a “bank” where it costs $1.95 to get money from an ATM, but getting “cash back” from Walmart’s POS is free! If you deposit more then $1,000, Walmart will generously waive the monthly maintenance fee on the card. Want to speak to a teller? That’ll be $3.50. Your paper statement? $2.00. What a deal! —MEGHANN MARCO

Walmart MoneyCard Fee Schedule
Walmart MoneyCard Site
First National Bank of de Wal-Mart [Behind The Counter]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. scoobydoo says:

    At first I thought you were kidding, but it is right there on their site:

    ATM Balance Inquiry $0.75

    That is just brilliant. There is NOTHING you can do with this card that doesn’t cost money.

    Looks like it is just a rebranded greendot card…

  2. mikyrok says:

    “Safer than cash”

    Maybe if your cash carries smallpox.. otherwise probably not.

  3. acambras says:

    I live in Connecticut, where Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is a pit bull on consumers’ behalf. I wonder if WalMart is trying to launch these “Money Cards” in every state, and what legal action might be taken against them.

  4. nweaver says:

    One comment: Although Wal*Mart is being traditionally exploitative of the poor and underserved in this way, they seem to be far LESS exploitive than most of the competition.

  5. Falconfire says:

    @acambras: What will be interesting to see is how these will work in those few states that makes it illegal to put fees on gift cards, of which this card is just a glorified version of.

    They cant pull the “these work just like ATM cards” BS because so do Amex gift cards.

  6. acambras says:

    It’s like the “Behind the Counter” blogger implied — this is going to exploit people who don’t have access to the banking system (read: undocumented immigrants).

  7. raybury says:

    nweaver is right on the money. This is a back-door bank account, with all the things banks don’t want to give you, like paper statements or interfacing with humans, charged for and thus discouraged. Are you given an account register to balance your account, I wonder? I see there is online access. The working poor could save a fortune on money orders if they can’t swing a minimum balance at a bank, but can be sure to load up the account in time for the rent (some places take plastic – great for points addicts) or other bills they can pay by card. Notice the fee waiver is NOT minimum balance, but minimum amount loaded (deposits) — a lot of working poor go through much more than $1000 a month but may not be able to afford to keep $100 lying in the bank.

    Finally, while I called this a back-door bank account, might things like this be exempt from asset inquiries for entitlements? If so, the $3000 max is a mixed blessing, but this could beat the mattress as a place to park cash.

  8. swalve says:

    I wonder why we think the poor are any less able to read the fine print than we are?

  9. gibwar says:

    I can’t believe that they have that many small fees for every little thing you do… it is almost like they are mugging you with a smile on their face!

  10. acambras says:

    @swalve:

    I wonder if said fine print will be translated into languages other than English? Because like I said in a previous comment, it looks to me like this card is being touted as an option for undocumented immigrants.

    Sure, there are undocumented immigrants who speak English, but certainly not all of them do. And I’m betting the fine print isn’t even in English, but Legalese.

  11. @swalve: How many people who aren’t poor read the fine print?

  12. raybury says:

    The monthly fee is waived for over $1000 in loads (deposits), which is good for foks who go through a lot of money each month but don’t have $100 to leave in the bank to avoid a $15 fee. And there is online access so you don’t have to go to Wal-Mart for a free balance inquiry. Balancing a checkbook is a skill the working poor — and the middle class, for that matter — would be served well by.

    Also, since it may not quack quite like a bank account, maybe this is a way around the problem highlighted last week where you can’t get some government benefits due to money in the bank. The $3000 limit means that no robber barons will be getting food stamps, but you might have enough to buy shoes and subsidized food.

  13. Trick says:

    So basically don’t use this service even though it may cost far less than check-n-cash joints because Wal*Mart is doing it?

    It just kills some people that some people need Wal*Mart because their limited means can’t do any better.

    Maybe Target should do this and charge a little extra. Then everyone will rejoice over how great it is…

  14. fonzette says:

    “If you deposit more then $1,000, Walmart will generously waive the monthly maintenance fee on the card.”

    THAN, people, THAN. The word to use when comparing things is THAN, not THEN.

    Please! This is what separates us from the animals.

  15. chrismar says:

    Russell Simmons has been doing this for years with the Rush Card.

  16. dohtem says:

    I can’t wait to hear the Wal-Mart apologists justify this one. They will come en masse.

  17. dohtem says:

    Forgot to add that there’s an easy solution to this nonsense.

    Open a checking account with a *Credit Union* and get a debit card.

    No fees, no credit check, free account access online and at any ATM and in the Credit Union’s branches. Use the card online and in Wal-Mart.

  18. ancientsociety says:

    @acambras: I’m sorry but if you come to this country and you can’t read a lick of English, then you deserve to get “exploited”, legal immigrant or illegal alien. Not everything needs to be in 20 different languages because certain “undocumented immigrants” can’t bother to learn the predominant language.

  19. Dan25 says:

    This doesn’t seem so bad. It cant be any worse than check cashing joints. This could even be a good solutions for people that have landed themselves in ChexSystems and can’t open an account at a regular financial institution.

  20. acambras says:

    @ancientsociety:

    I think you missed my point. The fine print on a lot of these “deals” isn’t exactly in plain English. The legalese is often so complex that even native speakers of English have trouble getting through it.

    Many of the immigrants I’ve known (both legal and illegal) have made great efforts to learn English. And they’re always surprised that I (an American) can speak languages besides English, because Americans have such a reputation for monolingualism.

  21. Falconfire says:

    @raybury: My BoA account has only a 3 dollar fee for bank account for balances under 300, and completely free checking

  22. royal72 says:

    • Safer than cash
    consider your safety, did you know that 90% of people with $20 or more in their pocket, get robbed at gun point and half of them are shot?!… yeah we did this study and it totally confirms it.

    • No credit check
    we already know you have no credit (though we could make a lot more money on credit check fees… we’d like to send you information about upgrading your walmart debit card to a preferred member platinum card with more fees).

    • No bank account required
    because if you had one, you wouldn’t use our card. besides, we prefer you pay us the fees you’d be paying some stupid bank anyway.

    • Pay your bills & shop online
    say it with me: more fees!

    • Pay at the pump
    we all know the hassle of paying with cash and there are more fees.

    • Get cash at ATMs
    yay, more fees!!!

    … you know we’re really in this together! you should think of the word “fees” as a good thing, because it will help us better analyze your needs, so we can add more services* and make your life easier.

    *additional services may require additional fees. contact your local walmart representative for more details. by offering more information, you agree to a sign up for a walmart debit card, or pay us $25 or both.

    ps. don’t read the cardholder agreement, because it’s really long and boring. it’s just standard legal mumbo-jumbo that says you have no rights, we can’t be at fault for anything, and with a lil luck, you’ll be in debt to walmart for the rest of your life.

  23. Raanne says:

    @ancientsociety: no one “deserves” to be exploited. Just because someone hasn’t learned the language to the point of reading legal documents, means that they “haven’t bothered” to learn the predominant language. There are few people who can read legalease in their non-primary language, and completely understand it.

  24. Twitch says:

    why is it that people do business with this company again?

  25. Avery says:

    Why are people defending this? Are you a bunch of Wal-Mart shills? No bank EVER charges you $0.70 to check your balance or $2 to retrieve money from a bank-owned ATM. It doesn’t matter how convenient Wal-Mart is, that’s just ridiculous.

  26. bowersst says:

    This could turn into a way to MAKE money. Here is my idea:

    Buy a Walmart gift card with you credit card (a good card will have 2% cash back)

    Use that Walmart gift card to buy a walmart cash card.

    Use the Walmart cash card to Get you money back from the ATM.

    In summary:
    Credit card –> Gift card –> Cash card –> Cash

    It would cost you $4.64 for a loading fee and $2 to get your cash.

    Costs= $6.64

    If you did this with $5000, you would get $100 back (if you get 2% back from your CC).

    100
    -6.64
    ————
    =$93.36 profit!

  27. SOhp101 says:

    There’s lots of banks out there that give you an account with no minimum balance, little or no fees, etc. Only the outrageously high risk customers will need to get something like this.

  28. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    My BoA student checking account has no minimum balance. But other banks like citi, chase and others offer accounts with no fees or minimum balance. And uh ING Direct.

  29. nobourgeoisangst says:

    Dudes, poor people can’t get bank accounts. Walmart is actually providing a service. Not hard to not know this, when you’re not dirt poor.

  30. mopar_man says:

    This could turn into a way to MAKE money.

    Not just “COULD” but it WILL. Has Wal-Mart every done anything just to be nice for anyone? Hell no. I’m sure I’ll have several relatives who will think this will be a great idea and I’ll have to slam them over the head with a 2×4. I should be doing that already for how much money they pump into Wal-Mart because it’s “convenient” and “cheap”.

  31. funkadelica says:

    This is perfect for those jackasses that don’t have a “real” bank to bank with. Last I checked, there are free accounts rolling around at various institutions across the country, if you’re smart enough to keep your self out of ChexSystem’s clutches. If not, you take what you can get. I consider this a “stupid fee” issue – if you’re too stupid to maintain a normal relationship with a bank, then you deserve this.

    As for the immigrants, SOMETHING should make them feel like they have less rights and privileges than the average citizen – THEY DO!!

  32. bowersst says:

    mopar_man,

    I meant that it would be possible for the consumer to make money off of the transaction. Read my post again.

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, pardner.

  33. shades_of_blue says:

    I hate to say it, but I really find this amusing. Every time I read about how some major corporation like Walmart exploits those ‘less fortunate’ I get a sense of self-satisfaction.

    I can’t believe that even someone with poor credit history would be so gullible as to actually consider something like this a worthy investment. I’d rather invest money to send an iceberg to the middle east, for snowcones before pissing my money away with that gimmick. [see Bruster's Millions, for iceberg reference]

    The only people who [i]might[/i] benefit from this would be the illegal aliens who built the f’n Walmart stores to begin with… Ah, maybe that’s the concept, make it easier to pay their illegal alien construction crews and at the same time take a portion the money back. Sorta like a 3% cash back credit card, only aimed at benefiting Walmarts execs.

    @poor people can’t get bank accounts. Where exactly did you get that piece of information? I don’t know about you, but most banks will not cash a paycheck for those who aren’t their members. So if a poor person could not get a bank account, they could not cash their paycheck, with the exception of cashing it at Walmart, for a fee. Virtually anyone can get a bank account; the only people who would have problems are homeless people and illegal aliens.

  34. techpuppy says:

    I am not a Wal-Mart fan, but for some this will be a useful service…me for instance.

    I am self employed and was doing fine until suffering from extreme back pain and spasms. I was hospitalized ($58,000) and had to stay home for an intense antibiotic IV treatment (About $500/day) for over a month. My resources were wiped out. Some automatic payments hit my bank accounts before I could stop them and I got hit with fees from the bank. Then they started daily fees. Before I could take care of things the fees added up to over $1400. (Let’s not even go into the fine, friendly credit card folks.) When I went in to pay I was told that my accounts had been closed and I had been listed with chex systems. There’s more, but you get the idea.

    Opening a new account is practically impossible. Try running a business without a checking account. I finally got a savings account which allowed me to deposit business checks, but there are fees for withdrawals over 4 in a quarter. Buying money orders to pay bills is expensive and time-consuming. The Wal Mart card does have some fees, but they will be less than what I’m paying for money orders. I can check my balance online if needed without charge and there are many places to reload the card other than Walmart so I don’t have to go there.

    Better still “deposited” money is available immediately. When I made a deposit at a BOA account on a Friday morning the funds weren’t available until just past midnight on the following Tuesday…”Next Business Day” they called it.

    In addition you can’t get a motel room at many places without a credit card which makes travel a hassle. Ordering supplies and merchandise is just about impossible unless you have the plastic to place an order. Sure Walmart will make a bundle off of this scheme. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a better deal for this type of service from anyone else.

    There is a growing underground economy in this country and I think you’ll see more businesses catering to its needs. It’s not all illegal aliens and homeless people. The only difference between non-homeless and homeless people is about 3 house payments. The walmart card requires positive ID so I’m not sure it would be ideal for an illegal alien anyway.

  35. MandM813 says:

    Shades_of Blue_:

    Just because Walmart CAN get away with something, doesnt mean they should. For your information, even honest people cannot get a bank account sometimes. Several years ago, I had a bank account with Citibank, and closed it because I was not satisfied with their customer service. A year later (I was working as a server, off cash tips, so didnt need an account at that time), I went to open an account at another bank. Guess what?

    Citibank had sent me to chexsystems, claiming that I owed them money when I closed the account. It was false, I had no balance when I closed the account. I went in to my branch, and the rep who had helped me open my account in the first place admitted that something didnt look right in their system. She said she couldnt do anything until she requested for her corporate office to mail her a copy of my last statement.

    Do you know how long that took, my friend? FOUR months. That is even with me going in person to my branch, pleading with them almost in tears one time. Every month it was “Oops, I didnt get them yet. Let me request them again. That will be another couple of weeks….”

    Finally, I called some corporate number that I had found and got them to fix the issue. I wish I had done that in the first place, for some reason I had thought that if the branch and their manager couldnt do anything, neither would someone over the phone.

    As compensation for all this, they offered me some stupid offer if I opened an account with them again. I dont even remember what it was, but AS IF i would actually go back to them after this.

    Another error in your post, is stating that banks will not cash checks if you dont have an account. Not true. If your employer uses Wachovia as a bank, and the check comes from that bank, you can go in and cash your paycheck even without an account.

  36. Metrosun says:

    Okay,
    I read all of the posts, and there seems to be quite a few mixed reactions. I for one am not an American citizen, but I do business in the states, I live here temporarily while doing so. I did purchase this money card and let me tell you, fee’s schmee’s-I have been dealt a far worse hand by the so-called Banking industry in America, fee’s are how they make all of their money (I have been charged $35.00 for being overdrawn for as little as 0.25 cents-bollocks!!!) The credit card companies are even worse here. I would rather pay the minimal fee than pay out the nose later. This card has allowed me to purchase on-line, POS, gas and more. The fact that fees are applicable are just a part of business, I don’t mind as long as my items are paid for out-right. It is very convenient and practical. As many, I am not a fan of Wal*Mart for general shopping because I see what they have done to small business in America (that’s why you can’t find Wal*Mart’s in Canada-we ain’t havin’ it)But the American industry does not look out for the small guy and Americans are subliminally prompted to consume, spend and charge everything. This service is necessary for those who need it, and if you don’t need it why do you care????

  37. 2dumb4bank says:

    I love the money card because I am no longer able to keep a checking account straight. The money card has been a blessing. I don’t worry about the fees most of the time. I don’t like the $4.64 fee every time I reload my card but it is a lot cheaper than the last year has been with my bank. 2 pay periods in a row they got my whole check and I still owed them money. I am talking about a fairly good check as I was an RN. I have felt almost rich since I closed my checking account and started using my Walmart money card. Also, I use money orders from Walmart after all they are only $0.46 each. I always put over $1000 on my card per month so I don’t have to pay the monthly fee or a fee to talk with a customer service person. So far, so good.

  38. Joe-pr says:

    Some of you are real characters. “Evil” ha. If you are going to put your money somewhere the least you can do is take the time to read the fine print. This is not the 18th century where we are putting our mark on the line. Take a few minutes to read the agreement instead of watching useless tv programs or what ever it is you people waste your time on. You should never make a commitment without fully knowing what you are getting into. I learned that the hard way after I signed an open contract with the Corps. You people have a choice, so if you don’t want it MOVE ON!

    Some of you have valid points and others are just freakin retarded. I’ve been using the card for a few months now for direct deposit of my military pay and untill recently have had virtually no problems. At first my only issue was not being able to understand the customer service representatives. I like getting things done in a timely manner so naturally this irritated me. The other problem I’ve ran into is an inability to utilize their online bill pay service. I am currently away from home and it could greatly improve the efficency with which I pay bills. I don’t have a vehicle here and I hate buming rides. It seems like if a company is going to advertise a service they should atleast make sure they can provide it. Every time I click on a bill pay link the system kicks me back out to the login page. Its been doing this to me about two weeks now. Customer service is taking their time resolving this issue and it seems as if they are giving me the run around. Has anyone else experienced problems will the bill pay service?

    Btw, the card is FDIC insured. The max amount you can place on the card is $5,000.00. The most I’ve ever had on it was about $4,500.00. The only fees I’ve ran into are atm fees and foreign transaction fees (less than a dollar). Any company will charge money for services provided, this is not a new concept people. Overall its a great program if you know exactly what you are getting into.

  39. MeThink says:

    Comment about ScoobyDoo’s comment:
    Did you know that if you deposit $1000.00 in this account each month, (and most people do) there is no charge to call the 800 # and get your balance for FREE? And by the way what does your bank charge you to use the ATM to get your balance? My old bank would charge me $2.00 plus the ATM machine would charge me between $1.50 to $2.50.

    Now what do you think of the VISA Wal Mart Card?

    I know of a lot of other items the card is being slammed about that aren’t true and it’s a simple matter of reading about bank charges compared to the VISA Wal Mart Card charges. I have been using banks most of my whole life. I now use the VISA card since April of this year and I see no down side to it yet. I have paid little to no charges. What is the big debate about? A typo of “then” instead of “than”? I just don’t understand all the talk about putting Wal Mart down. They are no different than all the other companies out there using the VISA or MASTERCARD name in front of their name.

    Let’s be concerned about GAS prices instead!!!

  40. MeThink says:

    I am also a ‘little’ person who had a run in or two with a bank and could not prove I was right. They had me paying charges that I didn’t agree with but what do I do about it? They don’t seem to care either. You either pay them or close the account and don’t pay them. But you cannot open another bank account until you pay them off no matter who was right or wrong. So I don’t like using banks anymore.

    As for the WalMart card. I have been using it for about four months now and have paid very few charges probably less than I did with the banks. The ATM withdraws are about the same and I use direct deposits and put in over a thousand each month in deposits so there is no monthly fee nor charges to call and get all the customer support that I need. I have computer access for all the balancing that I need to do also. Other points of interest are my old bank charged me .50 for any calls over 20 to the auto call center for balances and so forth and walmart card does not, I can use a cell phone to get my current balance but not with a bank account and also any deposits are credited at that moment not one or two business days later as can happen with banks. I don’t use their bill-pay system which is a per use charge but instead just charge each bill that I need to pay with my ‘VISA’ (walmart) card just like it was any other credit card. I have not missed having a bank account as of yet and don’t see myself missing it either.

    I don’t know what all the hype is about, like who is rich and who is poor, who is smart and who is dumb AND who can’t have a checking account and who can, as determining who uses the card or not. Every person has it’s own reason for using or not using this new Credit Card known as the Walmart “VISA” Credit Card. Other companies have almost the same concept, do they not? Have you not heard of other company names in front of the VISA or MASTERCARD names? I know I have. I don’t know their terms and all but I feel like they are gonna be close to one another. Why pick on Walmart?

    Happy Customer and glad to have that choice to make!!! To each His Own!!!

  41. Anonymous says:

    I use the Walmart Money Card as a would any other debit card. I do not pay amonthly fee, as i have my paycheck directly depositted to it and it well exceeds the $1000 minimum. I choose to manage my money this way to avoid the astronomical fees charged by banks, such as the $35 overdraft fee when you moscalculate by $2! With this card the transaction is simply denied…….that’s all. And ATM fees, all BANKS charge them when you do not use THEIR machines sometimes up to $2.50!. And the fee to SPEAK to a representative to get account information is $2 not $3.50, for the rare occasion I need to do so. As far as i’m concerned this is a refreshing change from the conventional bank. By the way, I am not poor, nor am I unbankable. Using this card is the intelligent choice I have made, as is my right as an American. My money is hard earned and I refuse to give it to the banks any longer!