Walmart touts lower money transfer fees

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Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 12:00 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is delving deeper into financial services at its stores and shaking up the money transfer business.

The world’s largest retailer introduced a new money transfer service Thursday that it says will cut fees for its low-income customers by up to 50 percent compared with similar services. The Walmart-2-Walmart service is in partnership with Ria Money Transfer, a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide Inc.

Shares of MoneyGram and Western Union plunged almost immediately Thursday after the announcement.

The service, available starting April 24, allows its customers to transfer up to $900 to and from more than 4,000 Walmart stores in the U.S. Customers can transfer up to $50 for a $4.50 service fee and up to $900 for $9.50.

Comparable services elsewhere cost up to $70 when transferring less than $1,000, according to Walmart.

Western Union on its website puts the price of transferring $900 in New York at $20, if using a bank account, to $85 if using a credit or debit card.

Walmart’s announcement is the latest way it’s acting more like a bank.

About a decade ago, Walmart applied unsuccessfully for an industrial bank charter. Those efforts were blocked even though the retailer vowed it would not open retail branches but wanted to use its bank to process card transactions. In 2007, it abandoned those plans, but it has been creating an expanding menu of financial offerings.

Walmart already offers prepaid cards, check cashing services and tax preparation services.

Walmart is aggressively trying to increase foot traffic in its stores after seeing comparable-store sales decline for four consecutive quarters.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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