Retailer Expects to Save Customers $500 Million in 2009 and Declares Feb. 18 National ‘Money Management Day’ to Help Customers Get Their Finances Back on Track
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 18, 2009 – With more and more families facing financial challenges, Walmart today is stepping up efforts to provide affordable access to essential money services for the growing number of underserved Americans, including the millions who are not using traditional checking accounts to manage their finances. Dubbed “Operation Main Street: Money Management,” the program includes a $3 Rollback price on the Walmart MoneyCard and a focus on financial literacy.
Combined, Walmart expects this effort – and its everyday low prices on money services like check cashing, bill payment and money transfers – to help consumers stretch family budgets and save more than $500 million* in money service fees this year.
“Now more than ever, our customers continue to trust Walmart to do what we do best – save them money on the products and services they need everyday,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman, Walmart Stores. “Financial issues are the number one concern for our customers, and accelerating our efforts to provide affordable financial services will help them live better.”
Even More Affordable Money Services
Beginning today, Walmart will offer the Walmart MoneyCard, a reloadable, pre-paid Visa debit card, for only $3. Reduced from nearly $9, the new $3 purchase price will provide the more than 35 million** American families underserved by traditional financial institutions many of the advantages of a checking account, including depositing their paychecks on a safe and secure card, checking their balances, paying bills and shopping anywhere Visa debit is accepted. The Walmart MoneyCard is now expected to save customers $50 million annually compared to similar cards. In addition, the card has no overdraft fees.
“Customers who use the Walmart MoneyCard tell us that we’re making a difference in their lives and helping them get their finances under control. The reduced fees on the Walmart MoneyCard will save our customers millions of dollars,” said Jane Thompson, president, Walmart Financial Services. “We will continue to lower prices on the money services that we know our customers need.”
Focus on Financial Literacy
Declaring today national “Money Management Day,” Walmart is working with Visa to make financial literacy tools available to customers nationwide. Available at www.walmartstores.com/moneymanagement, Visa’s Practical Money Skills for Life is a comprehensive program designed to help consumers manage their money wisely.
“Today, more than ever, Americans want to stay in control of their daily finances, and reloadable prepaid cards – like the Walmart MoneyCard – can help people better manage their money and spend within their means,” said Bill Sheedy, president, North America, Visa Inc. “Together, the built-in budgeting capabilities of Visa prepaid cards, Rollback pricing and easy access to our free financial management tools will be especially valuable in helping consumers.”
In addition, Walmart is bringing financial experts to select stores to provide expert advice and give customers the tools they need to manage their money. Best-selling author of Girl, Get Your Money Straight!, Glinda Bridgforth, and Univision’s financial expert, Julie Stav will meet with customers in Walmart MoneyCenters in Atlanta and Houston respectively to showcase their top money management tips.
“For those living from paycheck-to-paycheck, affordable access to basic money services like check-cashing, money transfers and reloadable pre-paid debit cards can be key to getting back on track and having finances that are in order,” said Bridgforth. “Walmart is setting an example and demonstrating how businesses can support – and help – Americans facing financial challenges.”
Walmart will also begin offering its 1.4 million U.S. associates a special associate value. Associates will receive a credit of the initial $3 purchase fee for the Walmart MoneyCard, no monthly fee, and free direct deposit reloads when they sign up for Walmart direct deposit. The company expects this new offering to make managing finances easier for associates who do not use a bank account. Walmart already waives the fee for the hundreds of thousands of paper checks it cashes for its associates every payday.
The Walmart MoneyCard Advantage
Available for customers without requiring a credit check or previous bank account, the Walmart MoneyCard is a convenient, safe alternative to carrying cash, having a checking account or charging a credit card. Because it is a pre-funded card, customers spend only what they have and cannot be hurt by unexpected overdraft or late fees. In fact, those choosing to replace their basic checking account with a Walmart MoneyCard would avoid overdraft and insufficient funds fees, which reached over $24 billion in the U.S. in 2008.**
Under the new $3 pricing structure, customers will pay a one-time cost of $3 to purchase and activate the Walmart MoneyCard, a $3 charge for reloads at Walmart, and a $3 monthly fee. Even better, many Walmart MoneyCard customers use their card in ways that minimize fees. For example:
- If customers reload with direct deposit or after cashing their paychecks at Walmart, there is no reload fee.
- If customers load at least $1,000 per month, there is no monthly fee.
- If customers access cash back at the register instead of ATM’s, there is no withdrawal fee.
The Walmart MoneyCard is accepted at approximately 29 million Visa merchant locations worldwide and can be reloaded at tens of thousands of Green Dot retailer locations. In addition, the Walmart MoneyCard helps customers manage their spending with free daily cell phone or email balance alerts, free balance inquiries at Walmart stores and online transaction history at www.walmartmoneycard.com.
Expanding Community Partnerships
The Walmart Foundation is also helping ensure that Walmart customers have the resources they need to become more financially fit. A recently announced $3.6 million Walmart Foundation grant to United Way and One Economy, a non-profit organization that helps low-income Americans enter the economic mainstream, is funding five “Mobile Tax Center” vans visiting communities throughout the country to increase awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The grant will also fund more than 90 United Way-supported Volunteer Income Tax Assistance campaigns – all in the hopes of returning millions in EITC refunds and saving millions in tax preparation fees.
The Walmart MoneyCard is issued by GE Money Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa, U.S.A. Additional services are provided by Green Dot Corporation (GDC). For additional information on “Operation Main Street: Money Management” and the $3 Walmart MoneyCard, visit www.walmartmoneycard.com or www.walmartstores.com/moneymanagement. For information on the Walmart Foundation and its work with the United Way and One Economy, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
About Walmart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Walmart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $296 million to local communities in the United States. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.
*Savings figures are based on Walmart’s internal research and projected savings when Walmart’s basic money services are compared to major national competitors. Basic money services include: bill pay, check cashing, money transfers, money orders and the Walmart MoneyCard.
**First Manhattan Consulting Group