Sunday, April 06, 2008

Wal-Mart wants your paycheck

Ok, to be fair, doesn't every retailer? But Wal-Mart means it literally with the newest version of their debit/ATM card. You can check out the details here.

I have to admit that it's a smart move for Wal-Mart. It lets them prey on the same people that various checks-for-cash operations target, as well as the plethora of financially disadvantaged and/or unwise unable to maintain regular bank accounts, are wrapped up in the seductive package of an ATM/debit card.

I have a friend that used to have to freeze his ATM card in a block of ice. That way he had to wait for it to thaw and had time to think whether he really needed/could afford to make a given purchase with it. I suspect there are millions like him... it's easy to whip out the card and "worry later" about whether you have money left in the account to pay bills. I remember when I teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, I ended up having to give myself an allowance for non-billed expenses like food and gas, because it was too easy to lose track then bounce something if I relied on the card.

I wonder how the banks will react to Wal-Mart's latest foray into the finance business?



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