Walmart is getting into the banking business, and that’s good news for people who customers who can’t qualify for a regular checking account at a traditional bank like Bank of America or Chase. ABC News reports that the retailer will start offering a mobile checking account at the end of October, and it will be fee-free for most customers.
GoBank, a collaboration between Walmart and Green Dot Bank, will offer mobile checking via a smartphone app. Walmart executive Daniel Eckert tells ABC News that the account is aimed at people who have had trouble getting a checking account due to “poor credit or other financial issues.”
— GoBank (@gobank) September 25, 2014
The checking account will have no minimum balance requirements or overdraft fees, something that most big banks charge sky-high fees for. ATM withdrawals will be free at over 42,000 ATMs nationwide, and there is no doubt that many of those ATMs will be conveniently located inside a Walmart store.
“GoBank is breaking down the barriers to traditional banking and brings the benefits of a FDIC-insured checking account that’s loaded with features to a large segment of Americans.”
There is a monthly membership charge of $8.95 to maintain the checking account, but customers can get the fee waived if they have a direct deposit of at least $500 per month. Bill pay, a free money-transfer service and a debit Mastercard, are some of the other services Walmart will offer customers who open a GoBank account.
USA Today reports that GoBank is federally insured, and although proper identification is required to open a checking account, a credit check is not required. The bank states that almost any consumer who passes a simple ID verification will be able to open an account.
Expect to see starter kits for the GoBank checking account in all Walmart stores by the end of October. There will be a $2.95 fee to activate the account, and customers can complete the entire application on a smartphone via a mobile app that can be used to manage the account.