Why American Banks are in distress, Walmart encourag 17.7 million "unbanked" adults -- and likely more since banks began raising checking account fees. Wal-Mart sees a golden opportunity.
The mega-retailer announced this week that it will cash more types of preprinted checks, including those for 401k's, student loans and rebates. A Wal-Mart store is preferable to those check-cashing places with bulletproof glass and large, percentage-based fee.
It can draw in more check-cashing customers who can spend at its stores. It can encourage those customers or illegal customers to load cash onto its prepaid cards, which can be used at its stores and elsewhere. And it can earn fees when customers use the prepaid cards.
The check-cashing fee at Wal-Mart is only $3 for checks up to $1,000, and it's twice that for checks up to $5,000. Banks document the transaction does Walmart?