Shopping and Financial Services at Wal-Mart

Physician's Money Digest, January 2007, Volume 14, Issue 1

Long the ruling retailer for bargainpricedproducts, Wal-Mart has recentlybranched out into the financial servicesarena. Wal-Mart has been experimentingwith money service centers in select stores,offering check cashing, bill payment, andmoney orders. Physicians looking to send aquick money order may want to thinkabout dropping by the local Wal-Mart, asthe retail giant charges just $0.46 for thetransaction, compared to as much as $1.30at the post office.Wal-Mart also charges atmost $3 to cash a payroll check, asopposed to a charge of 3% of the check'svalue at a check-cashing firm. Currently,Wal-Mart averages 1.5 million to 2 millionmoney services transactions per week,mostly from money orders. Although thesuperstore chain is facing stiff oppositionfrom competing financial service firms, theplan is to gradually expand the money centersinto more stores and increase the servicesoffered. They're even considering collegesavings plans, so one day you may befunding your child's secondary educationafter buying a new toaster oven.