Skip to comments.Retailers offer financial services to 'unbanked'
Posted on 02/01/2011 11:05:15 AM PST by MamaDearest
Snips from excerpt only website: Millions of low-income Americans who don't have bank accounts are finding an alternative to check-cashing stores at an unusual place: their local big-box retailer.
Kmart has begun testing check cashing, money transfers and prepaid cards in stores in Illinois, California and Puerto Rico, with plans to roll out the services nationally later this year. Best Buy has installed kiosks in its stores for shoppers to pay utility, cable and phone bills. Wal-Mart has opened roughly 1,500 MoneyCenters that process as many as 5 million transactions each week.
According to a recent government survey, nearly 30 million households either do not have a bank account or use one sparingly. Nearly 70 percent of families considered "unbanked" earn less than $30,000 a year and many say they will never do business at a bank.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
The comments at the site are most interesting.
Can you pick which one is mine?
This was Sear’s big idea. Just before they collapsed and were absorbed by KMart.
Several years ago WalMart wanted to start a bank. The banking lobby got Congress to shut it down. That would have been some REAL COMPETITION offering customers better services, lower fees and better rates.
Dodd-Frank is accelerating this exodus from traditional banking by nearly eliminating the larger banks’ second and third largest revenue streams-credit/debit card merchant fees, and overdraft charges.
This doesn’t strike me as strange. Supermarkets used to cash smallish paychecks with a “courtesy card” for no or nominal fees. They rightly figured you would spend a chunk of it right there. Many big box retailers like Wal-Mart include full-fledged supermarkets.
In my retirement, I have worked in phone rooms to pass the day and earn some extra money. (Yeah, I could talk all of you into buying a huge barrel of industrial-strength soap—and call you at dinner time to do it. Even if you ARE on the national no-call list. And laugh at you no mattter how irate you get. If the product is honest, I can pitch it and do it well.)
Some of the people I have worked with have paid huge amounts of money in relation to the size of their paychecks, to have their checks cashed at the local high- priced check cashing place. The $3 fee to cash checks at Wal-Mart has been a god send to them.
Locally, there are gas stations which will accept payment for your power bill. Imagine people’s surprise, when they go ttheir late notices....turns out the minimum wage employee at the gas station was pocketing the cash payments.
Used to cash checks at the grocery store all the time. They usually required you spend 10% of it in house to get the rest as cash. Really not a terribly new idea.
Usually “unbanked” is a term used in reference to illegal aliens rather than low-income people. As these banks continue running up fees because they can’t make “enough” money the old way (the spread between interest paid on deposits versus that charged on loans), I wonder how this will impact people (of all classes).
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