Wal-Mart Lowers Price on Debit Cards

What: Wal-Mart’s prepaid debit card just got cheaper—once $9, it’s now just $3 (other fees associated with the card have also been lowered). The typical price of a money card like this is anywhere from 10 to 15 bucks.

What They Say:

“While we’ll make a little less money than we would with that other pricing, we feel like this is one of those game-changer type moves,” said Jane Thompson, president of Wal-Mart’s financial services division, in an interview.

What We Say: The debit card is just one of the many moves the retailer we love to hate has made to keep customers coming back day after day; it’s also opening 1,000 financial services centers (instead of its own bank, a recently abandoned idea) in 2009. By doing this, Wal-Mart can target shoppers who don’t have bank accounts but still need to pay bills, transfer money, and do other basic tasks. And for those who do have bank accounts/credit cards, etc, there will be just one more reason to one stop shop at Wal-Mart.

Should we applaud Wal-Mart for making it easier for folks on a budget to buy what they want and need, or feel a little nervous about this expansion? Let us know if you’ve used Wal-Mart financial services or its debit card – what has your experience been like?