Sep 24, 2014 7:48 AM

Wal-Mart launching mobile checking account

The Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Wal-Mart is launching a mobile checking account for its customers that will eliminate some of the fees charged by banks.

The company said Wednesday that the GoBank checking account has no minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees. A monthly membership charge of $8.95 is waived if a direct deposit of $500 is made each month.

The company said that credit bureau ratings and other scores traditionally used to determine eligibility are not part of the process.

Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S., said that the retailer's customers "feel they just aren't getting value from traditional banking because of high fees."

GoBank will include a 3 percent foreign transaction fee a fee for using an ATM that is out of network. Customers can receive payroll direct deposit earlier than their normal payday if their employer notifies GoBank of a deposit in advance.

The account will also notify customers in real time if they can't afford a purchase they are planning to make. A feature called "Fortune Teller" will crosscheck the product's price with a customer's planned income and expenses. In addition, customers can send money instantly to each other at no charge through either email or a text message.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, is operating the new account through Green Dot Corp.'s federally insured Green Dot Bank. The chain already offers prepaid cards through Green Dot.

A MasterCard debit card can be linked to the GoBank account, which can be set up with a starter kit that costs $2.95.

GoBank is exclusive to Wal-Mart, which will have it available at its stores nationwide by the end of October. The company has more than 11,000 stores in 27 countries.


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