Here is comes, banking at Wal-Mart!
Sounds kind of funny, but it is anything but. Many big-box stores are adding financial services to their inventory, and of course there are many grey areas that come about because of this.
These big box companies are offering anything from home improvement loans to new boat loans. They are taking advantage of a group of people, 1 in 5 to be exact, that use alternative banking methods like payday loans, non bank money orders,check cashing, pawn shops and tax refund loans.
People are fed up with excessive bank charges and like the idea of one stop shopping. People do need to be aware that these corporations are not subject to the regulations banks are, and do not offer the same services the banks do.
What all is offered?
Lets take a look at who is offering what kinds of services and where this may be headed.
- Wal-Mart offers tax preparation in-store bill paying,money transfers,check cashing, prepaid money cards and checking alternatives.
- Home Depot offers up to $40,000 home inprovement loans.
- Costco is offering mortgages, boat loans, RV loans, identity protection and health insurance.
Wal-Mart seems to be taking this chance to tap into a 78 billion dollar business very seriously. They have partnered with American Express, and their reloadable Bluebird card has many services offered.
- Direct deposit
- Pre authorized check cashing
- Balance up to $100.000
- No overdraft fees
- No monthly fees
Wal-Mart also has around 200 stores in the southern states testing sales on their life insurance policies. Seems time are really changing in the banking world.
Is this a good thing?
Only time can tell if this will all work out to the advantage of the consumer. I would be a bit cautious of what services you are getting and what you are not getting, and how much any fees may run.
The idea of these corporations allowing things like title loans and payday loans is a bit scarey, as they will really become a one stop money shop and could take advantage of the already poor.
I am also a bit worried about a big box corporation holding the title to my home or car, but maybe this will be the new look of our banking business.
Are you in trouble with payday loan debt?
When I start seeing help offered to people who are already in trouble with payday loan and title loan companies at these big box stores I will start thinking they really are there to help people, and not just take their money to up their bottom line.