Walmart targets the poor with new checking accounts

Walmart targets the poor with new checking accounts

[Ed. – Targets?]

By offering low-fee checking accounts, Walmart dares to go where most big banks won’t. Few major financial institutions are willing to give lower-income Americans checking accounts these days — without exorbitant fees.

But, unlike the big banks, Walmart really needs low-income customers.

The retail goliath on Wednesday announced it would offer customers checking accounts with no minimum balance and no fees for overdrafts or bounced checks. Those who get a direct deposit of at least $500 every month — a floor that includes many people receiving government benefits — will have the $8.95 monthly fee waived.

The decision to introduce the checking account, which will be available by the end of October, came after hearing from customers that “traditional banking fees are just too high,” said Molly Blakeman, a Walmart spokeswoman. “We think that our customers have a need there and we’re looking to help them fill that.”

Walmart’s core customers — low-income Americans — have been squeezed bygovernment benefit cuts, high unemployment and stagnant wages.

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