Wal-Mart to offer GoBank mobile checking account with linked debit card
Saying it hopes to poach customers from mainstream banks, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is rolling out a mobile checking account with a linked debit card — a program that it promised would remain low-cost by eliminating fees charged for overdrafts or failing to maintain a minimum balance.
Wal-Mart is becoming a financial institution. They are trying to be a full-service company. Customers come in to put money on the debit card and stay to shop in the store. - Ron Friedman, a retail expert at consulting and accounting firm Marcum
The monthly membership fee of $8.95 is waived if customers set up direct deposits of at least $500 a month, something that even consumers with subprime credit scores probably would be able
to do. Users also may load cash into their accounts at participating stores or deposit checks remotely by taking photos with their smartphones, officials at the Bentonville, Ark. company said Tuesday.
The service, known as GoBank, will compete against numerous mobile banking programs now available. It will be operated by Green Dot Corp. a Pasadena prepaid-cards specialist that has a subsidiary bank. Green Dot Bank began test-marketing GoBank to customers early last year, a pilot program that has included offering the product in a few Wal-Mart stores.
A formal announcement of the new push was to be made Wednesday, according to the companies, which said GoBank would be available in most of Wal-Mart's nearly 4,300 U.S. locations by late October.