Walmart Offers an Alternative to a Bank Checking Account

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The retail giant will begin offering a low-cost checking account.

America’s largest retailer is getting into the banking business in a big way.

Walmart announced it will soon offer low-cost checking in partnership with Green Dot. The new checking account, dubbed GoBank, will be available at Walmart stores by the end of October. According to USA Today:

GoBank will charge $8.95 a month but will waive the fee if customers consent to a monthly direct deposit of $500. Other fees that are associated with “free” checking accounts at commercial banks — for overdraft, not maintaining a minimum balance or writing bad checks — are waived.

Steve Streit, CEO and founder of Green Dot, said in a statement:

No other checking account makes it this easy and affordable to manage your everyday finances. GoBank is breaking down the barriers to traditional banking and brings the benefits of a FDIC-insured checking account that’s loaded with features to a large segment of Americans.

According to Fortune, it’s expected that Walmart’s new checking account will appeal to low-income Americans and the unbanked. Unlike traditional banks that use credit bureau ratings to determine eligibility, potential GoBank customers only need to pass an ID verification to open an account. Nearly 10 million U.S. households don’t use a bank, Fortune said.

Customers must purchase a $2.95 starter kit to open an account, after which GoBank customers can immediately begin using their MasterCard debit card.

Walmart already offers bill pay, check cashing and prepaid debit cards.

What do you think of Walmart’s new bank account option? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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