Are you ready to switch your bank to Walmart?
The retail giant is hoping to become a big player in the banking business, according to a recent report on NPR, and it's offering enticements to get you to try it.
Alternative to mainstream banks
Traditional banks are great, if you can keep a thousand dollars or more there.
But for many people who live paycheck to paycheck, that's not an option, as bank fees, late fees and overdraft fees can eat away at whatever you have.
Enter Walmart. NPR says Walmart's prepaid MoneyCard -- issued by Green Dot -- is becoming a "bank" choice for millions.
While it is not a traditional bank (sorry, no free toasters), it allows you to deposit paychecks, access cash and, of course, easily shop at Walmart -- all without the sky high fees of some prepaid cards.
It even encourages you to save with a "Vault" feature that offers a chance to win cash.
Many of the same downsides
But from the "doesn't that stink" file, there are some downsides of Walmart's MoneyCard.
NerdWallet.com says while cash withdrawals are free at a Walmart store, you'll pay a $2.50 fee to use an ATM elsewhere.
Do that a lot and you'll say "doesn't that stink?"
It really makes sense, then, if you live or work near Walmart and will make all your ATM withdrawals there, to avoid extra fees.
Another downside: you can still be hit with a $5 monthly fee for not keeping $1,000 in your account, just like with big banks.
However, NerdWallet says its fees are "on the low side" compared with many other prepaid cards.
The bottom line
Obviously many people have no interest in banking with a store where they shop.
But for the millions of people who don't have a checking account at a standard bank, you can avoid some bank fees this way and get some bonus points. It might be worth looking at so you don't waste your money.
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