News Feature | May 1, 2017

Walmart Launches New Money Transfer Platform, Lowers Fees

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Walmart-2-Walmart Service

Price cuts and new digital experience celebrate the third anniversary of the Walmart2Walmart option.

Walmart has slashed prices on its Walmart2Walmart money transfer service, which already offered some of the industry’s lowest prices on money transfers. On the third anniversary of the Walmart2Walmart option, the retailer celebrated with price cuts and the introduction of a new digital experience for customers.

The Walmart2Walmart program was launched in 2014, as Innovative Retail Technologies reported, allowing customers to transfer money between all 4,000 stores across the U.S. It charged fees that were half of what competitors were charging for money transfers.

When the Ria platform was introduced, Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S. explained, “After listening to our customers complain about the high fees and confusion associated with transferring money, we knew there had to be a solution. Walmart2Walmart brings new competition and transparent, everyday low prices to a market that has become complicated and costly for our customers. We’re doing what we do best – launching a new service that challenges the status quo and drives down prices for our customers.”

Now, Walmart, Ria Money Transfer and American Express have announced further improvements to this service that help save both money and time for its consumers. The new fees allow customers to save 20 to 90 percent on cash transfers compared to its competitors, and Walmart boasts transparent national pricing in all of its locations, compared to competitors who often offer prices that vary by location.

In addition to the lower fees, Walmart and American Express are pleased to announce the introduction of the Bluebird2Walmart Money Transfer Service. With this platform, Bluebird accountholders will be able to send money digitally for cash pickup at Walmart locations. Recipients of the transfers do not need a Bluebird Account and can pick up their funds at any Walmart store within minutes of the online transfers. Pricing is in line with the new Walmart2Walmart price guidelines.

“We are extremely proud of the significant savings our customers have enjoyed in the three years since Walmart2Walmart was introduced. For the millions of customers who rely upon transferring money to help family and friends – whether regularly or in times of urgent need – we know saving money on costly fees can make a big difference,” said Kirsty Ward, vice president, Walmart Services. “Now, with even lower fees for Walmart2Walmart, as well as the option to send money digitally with Bluebird, we continue to deliver on our mission to save customers’ money, as well as time.”

The retailer has been committed to serving the unbanked and underbanked clientele through a variety of services. While much attention has been paid to the shift to EMV credit cards and on mobile payment options linked to credit and debit cards, the number of unbanked or underbanked U.S. consumers continues to grow. Estimates indicate that 7.0 percent of households in the United States were unbanked in 2015. This proportion represents approximately 9.0 million households. An additional 19.9 percent of U.S. households (24.5 million) were underbanked, meaning that the household had a checking or savings account but also obtained financial products and services outside of the banking system. This creates a market niche that some retailers have sought to secure with services aimed directly at those who do not hold accounts with traditional financial institutions. In October 2014, Walmart introduced low-cost checking accounts for the unbanked in an effort to boost customer loyalty. Walmart MoneyCenters and the Walmart Customer Service desk also offers a host of other financial services, including check cashing, bill pay, money orders, tax preparation services, pre-paid card services, and Pay with Cash.