The Walmart Money Network is a growing division of its parent company's (Wal-mart Stores, Inc.) operations. Money Network products include the Walmart Money Card, personal and business checks, prepaid gift cards, and Visa (MasterCard) branded credit cards.
Customers of the Walmart Money Network have access to a suite of financial tools which facilitates payment, shopping, credit-building, and cash-management activities.
The primary payment product is the MoneyCard, a debit-like reloadable card on which users can also receive direct deposits.
Available for order online, over the telephone, and in a host of Walmart Department Stores around the country, the Money Card has given millions of people access to valuable features which may have otherwise been unavailable to them.
For example, the prepaid MasterCard (Visa) Walmart Money Network Card does not require credit checks or certain financial thresholds in order to qualify for one.
The process is remarkably straightforward, quick, and simple, entailing a minimal amount of information or time.
(That being said, all customers are, however, required to submit their Social Security Number, as this is a federal mandate for all FDIC-insured banks.)
Moreover, the Walmart MoneyCards are issued by Green Dot Bank, an institution specializing in reloadable debit card administration.
The corresponding fees – acquisition + usage – for the Walmart MoneyCard are negligible compared to the benefits received in exchange.
And perhaps the most valuable of these benefits is the ability for Walmart Money Network customers to participate in the many online shopping deals around the Net, which continue to grow exponentially each year.
So the prospects for growth of Walmart's financial arm are intriguing, particularly given the brand's continued climb up the e-com latter.
But like so many other aspects of modern-age business, the consumer payments space is fiercely competitive, and the ultimate winners in this field must develop long-term strategies to overcome inevitable challenges.
Online Cyber Monday deals are but one example of how Walmart Money Network customers, whether being users of gift cards or checks, can take advantage of bargain shopping specials which may have previously eluded them; without a valid checking account, debit, or credit card, there's simply no way to pay for online purchases.
What's more is that Black Friday deals arguably provide better opportunities than do Cyber Monday specials, as the latter is concentrated around electronics deals.
So with the added bonus of electronic payment processing through the Walmart Money Network, customers can now capitalize on these discount shopping campaigns, in addition to the daily lightning-sales on the website.
Speaking of which, it's important for consumers to understand that should they order a gift or Money Card online, an appropriate amount of shipping time should be allowed to receive it.
This may seem obvious; although, what isn't so well known is that the processing time for such items are much different than for standard merchandise.
Walmart Money Network products endure a delay before being released to the customer, due to the aforementioned regulations governing the banking industry.
And even while comprehensive credit checks are not a prerequisite to being approved for Walmart Money Network prepaid card, certain background and identity verification is necessary.
(These policies are in a large part aimed at protecting citizens from fraud and identity theft, in addition to being fire stops against money laundering and other illegal financing activities.)
So the point of this discussion is to alert anyone who may care participate in a clearance sale soon after ordering checks or gift cards online, as they will likely not arrive in time to catch the sale.
Thus, if you're looking to buy rollback merchandise or other Walmart specials within a couple weeks of ordering your Walmart Money Network Card, then it would be wiser to sign up for (purchase) it at your nearest SuperCenter.
An easy way to find the closest branch which services Money Network products is to use the store locator on the company's website.
The online site is also a great resource to confirm the available hours to handle such matters, as corresponding departments usually close relatively early.
In addition to these helpful resources, the MoneyCard App may well be the fastest and most convenient option of all.
Because not only can you establish personalized settings based on your zip code, you may also sync your up-to-date Walmart Money Network data from your registered account.
So unless you have absolutely zero access to the ubiquitous technologies of today, then you should have no problem either finding a supporting location or management your account on-the-go.
Walmart Money Network prepaid debit cards are equally – if not more so – valuable for their direct deposit features which grant users hassle-free access to their funds.
Increasing numbers of workers are taking advantage of direct deposit options, especially those which boast faster-than-average remittance schedules. For example, the Walmart Money Network Visa Debit Card claims an up to 2-day faster direct deposit transfer for enrolled customers.
No additional fees, paperwork, or restrictions are attached to this acceleration, which is a major plus for sure.
(And to be fair, the MasterCard-branded option comes with identical attributes, so the decision to go with either is solely a matter of preference and not one of functionality. For all intents and purposes, both varieties of Walmart Money Network prepaid cards are exactly the same from a user's perspective.)
Moreover, as the age-old axiom states, "a bird in the hand today is worth two tomorrow" loosely applies to earned income (almost) as much as it does to investments.
For every day funds are delayed or otherwise held up by processing latency results in unproductive opportunity costs for the customer.
Cheap shopping opportunities may be missed, late charges incurred for overdue bills, or damaged credit are possibilities when faced with cash-flow concerns.
And even more acute is the problem of having a pay date which falls on a Friday, with no access to your funds until the following Monday or Tuesday.
Sunday is a total loss for almost all business purposes – not the least of which being financial services – while Saturday, with its abbreviated banking hours, is only slightly more favorable.
But if you were a Walmart Money Network member, then you would have had a much greater chance of receiving your payment well before the weekend.
So for this reason alone, many customers would do well to consider Walmart for its fast, inexpensive payment facilitation.
In addition to what's already been said about the litany of benefits received via direct deposit, another one speaks to the freedom and peace-of-mind afforded its users.
No longer is it mandatory to check the mail – sometimes daily – for an expected payment, which can be cause for great anxiety.
Other considerations come into play as well when deciding whether to continue receiving paper checks, and one of the most frequently-overlooked items are transfer costs + time.
The expenses incurred to both travel to and cash paper checks can add up significantly throughout one's lifetime, all of which could be eliminated by the simple process of direct deposit.
Now that we've covered a few payment components of the Walmart Money Network, we'd be remiss to not add some insight into the gift-giving options available.
Walmart Gift Cards are top-of-the-list items around Holiday Season, as they make perfect presents in most cases.
The expansive catalog of discount, merchant-specific, and reloadable varieties now offered by Walmart has put it on par with some of the leading vendors in the world.
Sending a personalized card to someone is one of the most thoughtful moves you can make, as the dollar value of the card is augmented by your own unique touch.
And the gift registry services available online and in SuperCenter stores open up near limitless possibilities to enhance your order, even if it's a single, inexpensive item.
Helpful categories in the Webstore assist customers with ideas on sending the best new baby gift presents, in addition to dozens of other topics for which Walmart Money Network Cards are appropriate.
You can even sign up for the weekly, Walmart.com newsletter, which includes a wealth of info. on popular merchandise and sale items.
Another interesting way to keep tabs on the latest-and-greatest Walmart promotions is to follow both its Twitter feed and Facebook page.
While much of the insight gained from these sources is relevant nationally, regional sales opportunities still may arise from time to time.
So being an alert, proactive shopper pays off over time, a fact that's dawning on millions of consumers worldwide.
The trend of gift card and coupons use is a growing one, as shoppers look to save as much coin as possible.
And as both the interest in + availability of gifts cards continues to rise, one can bet that Walmart will continue to expand its diversity in result.
Launching both new and unique services is a way for the Walmart Money Network to appeal to yet more customers in The States, while expanding internationally would, perhaps, provide the greatest returns for investors.
The potential for global currency exchange is tremendous and benefits from a strong systemic financial structure.
So a steady focus towards bringing Walmart Money Network products to even more countries seems like a smart bet where it makes sense.
And being able to send virtual gift cards around the world quickly, reliably, and securely, is an area that enjoys strong consumer demand, particularly in nations with large multi-national communities.
What's more is that the push to lower international money-transfer fees has been ongoing, and momentum is gaining for a proverbial revolution in this field.
Banking institutions both large and small have taken note of the rise in consumer finance services, particularly those who offer complementary- or low-cost options for both transferors and recipients.
So there's little doubt that continued pressure will be applied to legacy processes and systems by innovative players who capitalize on the global/digital/virtual trends of contemporary gift giving.
The Walmart Money Network is broad financial umbrella which empowers consumers in various ways. Acting as a trusted vendor, Walmart plays a supporting role in the payment processing functions in most cases.
That said, an enhancement to this role can be attributed to one of the less-heralded members of the Network: The Walmart Credit Card.
Broadly acclaimed for being accessible to those with flawed (unestablished) credit, the Walmart Money Network provides 'float' to a sizable portion of the population.
Annual percentage rates (APRs) for the card are necessarily higher than preferred credit instruments, though this is a minor issue for people in need of repair/rebuilding opportunities.
And even for those who may have relatively good credit profiles, the added capacity of a new account can have a positive effect in short order.
Making inexpensive purchases along with on-time payments is great way to strengthen, improve, or diversify your borrowing history, and lenders care not that you may have 'starter' accounts in your name.
Thus, when used both wisely and responsibly, the credit card is yet another way in which the Walmart Money Network contributes positively to the lives of its members.
Now couple the broader and more lenient criteria by which applicants may be approved for the Walmart Credit Card with the discount merchandise offered in its department stores, and you effectively have an end-to-end merchant to do business with.
And in that same vein, Wal-Mart is, to a large degree, the single-most important merchant to millions of consumers around the world.
Already a powerhouse for its wide selection of discount consumer goods, the various tools within the Walmart Money Network complement the company's financial goals and marketing efforts.
Short of being privy to board-level meetings and insight, one can speculate that the move into the credit market was more driven by a larger marketing plan than by one based purely on financial upside.
For example, it's less plausible to think that such an established retailer would forego the many areas in which its cash could be used to fortify the primary business, in favor of allocating these funds to an unaffiliated firm like the Money Network, were it not for some implicit benefit(s) that may accrue to Wal-Mart in result.
And speaking in general marketing terms, it's not a stretch to think that, even while most shoppers select a credit product solely for that reason, the cross-selling of other products is substantial among users of Walmart Money Network cards.
Each time a member pulls out, say, their reloadable pay card and sees the brand's logo, it likely calls into question with whom they're about to spend their money.
Moreover, given how extensively Walmart has solidified itself as the leading bargain merchant in the world, even consumers who have little-to-no past relationship with it become curious about the pledge of "everyday low prices."
So this fact, in some cases, eventually leads to these same shoppers either visiting a local SuperCenter or Walmart.com.
And it's not just the credit cards that reinforce the company's brand, but virtually all the Walmart Money Network products, too.
But it is, however, the nature of the 'charge now and pay later' function of the credit card that makes it the most potent marketing ally of Walmart's website and department stores.
The analysis and forecasting is even more granular in corporate boardrooms and managers' meetings, wherein decisions are made daily about the direction and product lines of the firm.
So you can be sure that everything from branding strategies to market penetration is discussed exhaustively, which gives companies the best chance for success in a new venture.
Understanding the vast benefits of using the Walmart Money Network can help prospective users better appreciation the service's capabilities.
And while most people familiar with the Network are well aware of the widely-popular Walmart MoneyCard, fewer still know about the complementary credit card and personal check products, too.
This somewhat limited view of the Walmart Money Network has, in many ways, led to a lower-than-hoped-for adoption of the full suite of financial services available to consumers.
The reasons for this, perhaps, stem from Walmart's longstanding position as a leading discount retailer, which may have 'boxed in' its brand among certain parts of the population.
Another 'growth culprit' is potentially due to relatively muted marketing campaigns that highlight the scope of the financial division, so viewers may get the sense that the Walmart Money Network is limited to prepaid cards only.
Other consumer groups have noted their familiarity with the entry-level Walmart Credit Card, but had no idea that personal and business checks are also offered through the brand.
Though if one thing can be ascertained by looking at the various data in regards, is that there's a plenty of room for growth of the Walmart Money Network, at a scale that most analysts would have laughed at being impossible upon its inception.
But a drastic shift in consumer shopping trends and general industry consolidation has led to a yawning void in a few niche spaces in which Walmart is vying for dominance.
For instance, the early- to mid-2000's ushered in a financial revolution for consumers in need of alternative payment and check-cashing services.
Pioneering products like the Rush Card helped millions of users not only gain access to a more secure method to receive money, but afforded them ways to join the digital commerce world as well.
But somewhere between now and then, fewer players found the business profitable enough to remain committed for the long haul, which fostered a mass consolidation of the industry.
(There were, of course, additional aspects underlying some of these consolidations, not the least of which was the worst financial crisis to hit the country since the Great Depression.)
The point is that powerful brands tended to whether the financial storm in general, while less-well-financed competitors either got gobbled up by the titans, dramatically reduced their market presence, or closed their doors altogether.
Thus, it was during these times that the Walmart Money Network began to seriously make inroads in the industry, though it was, at this stage, more or less restricted to the prepaid MoneyCard in its advertising.
But as time passed and the global economy continued to strengthen, the number of users shopping online grew markedly, as did the diversity of financial services being offered digitally.
So it was in part due to a general trend among consumers that allowed the Walmart Money Network to move beyond its core MoneyCard service, to ancillary products like personal checks and credit cards.
What's more is that, even while the Network remains in the process of 'catching fire' with consumers, the likelihood that it indeed will is promising.
For one, Walmart.com has mushroomed into an e-com giant, with a stratospheric upside.
And it would only be natural for Walmart to, gradually, begin positioning its credit, checking, and prepaid card services more prominently on its website, as digital shoppers are already accustomed to doing business online.
A more aggressive push for the Walmart Money Network is already taking place in some forms online, as a noticeable increase in credit card banners is being spotted routinely.
Adding to this broad 'consumer awareness campaign' is the number of displays found within the chambers of Walmart Department Stores nationwide; the prepaid reloadable MoneyCard is often located in prime areas such as checkout counters and customer service centers.
So while the Walmart Money Network has, in some accounts, flown under the radar over the past few years, one can expect to see impressive growth for this sector in the future.
The benefits of Walmart's relentless efforts to gain e-com recognition will undoubtedly accrue to the Money Network, as a natural appeal to hassle-free online payment options can be made to leery consumers.
Offering incentives for those who, say, pay with a Walmart MoneyCard or personal check, can lead to big gains in the adoption rate of these products, in addition to fostering the lasting relationships a financial services provider covets.
And building upon its solid reputation of being a customer-first organization, Walmart can leverage this in ways its competitors can't.
For example, bridging the online/offline divide is perhaps the greatest advantage the Walmart Money Network holds over rivals brands, as the majority of shoppers still prefer to do so inside brick-and-mortar facilities.
Therefore, the more that Walmart highlights the ease with which customers can 'buy online and pick up in-store,' the easier it will be to funnel a sizable share of them to the various tools available within the comprehensive Money Network Walmart has put together with reliable providers like First Data Solutions – which facilitates IRS Refund Check deposits onto registered Paycards – and Green Dot Bank.
And reaching a service representative for any of the participating Walmart Money Network products has never been easier, and the MoneyCard Customer Service phone number is 1-877-937-4098.
Money Network users also have extensive account access online, including the ability to view recent transactions, file disputes, and report cards as being either lost or stolen.
Registered customers can also order checks online, which is a convenient option for those of us who live on-the-go.
Pairing the everyday savings with the respect and trust of the Walmart Money Network is a natural progression for some, while others require a bit more convincing before 'jumping ship.'
The fact that Walmart, in some circles, remains to be judged mainly on its history as the foremost retailer in the land, is both a positive and a negative for Walmart.
The positive is being mentioned first by millions of citizens when asked about the leading merchandiser in the U.S., and the negative is that many of these same people wouldn't agree that they see Walmart as a top-5 debit card player — something the company would surely profit from if achieved.
So if the Money Network Walmart has joined can slowly work its way up the 'financial-prestige ladder,' then there could be some handsome share returns for investors in Walmart Stores, Inc.
And there's no doubt that the back-end capacity exists to handle any number of financial transactions, as the Green Dot Bank both underwrites and services the program.
Green Dot Bank is, to be clear, FDIC insured and is a major player in the direct deposit/prepaid card business, with a satisfactory track record of being a competent intermediary.
So this is a solid area in which WMT (Walmart's NYSE [New York Stock Exchange] Ticker Symbol) watchers can be confident in the continued performance of the MoneyCard.
In addition to the strong administrative foundation on which the MoneyCard sits, other products also reap the rewards of an increasingly-sophisticated suite of financial tools.
Let's use the Walmart Money Network Exceed Card as an example.
The Exceed Card is a relatively new product offered under the broader umbrella of the Money Network Walmart has partnered with, and is available exclusively to employees of Walmart.
Moreover, even as the MoneyCard and Everywhere Paycard serve well the needs of millions of users, the Exceed Card goes above and beyond the general features of the latter products.
Walmart Associates who sign up for the Exceed Card are privy to free Money Network check writing, overdraft protection, zero-liability fraud protection, and state-of-the-art debit card (chip) technology.
Employees are also given the option to receive a complimentary second card, making the Walmart Money Network Exceed Card perfect for couples or for those who welcome the comfort of having multiple cards in different locations.
So given the many options and benefits of the Money Network Walmart has bought in to, the perceptive barriers outlined above are indeed just that — perceptive.
Because once the entire portfolio of payment tools is assessed objectively, it's hard to justify a continued sense of skepticism of Walmart as a bonafide source of consumer financial products.
And as the Walmart Brand has shown in the past, it has an enviable ability to market itself tastefully to a broad base of consumers, so it'll be interesting to watch how well it does with it Money Network partnership over time.
Rounding out our Walmart Money Network summary are the check-writing and Exceed Card products.
Writing Money Network Checks Walmart provides is a bit more involved than the customary process, mainly because everything happens electronically with a comparatively small network of physical banking facilities.
Hence, before you can successfully submit a Walmart Money Network Check for payment, you must first call a toll-free number (1-800-903-4698) and enter your debit card information.
You'll then go through the prompts after entering your card credentials and select the option to "write a Money Network check."
Once you've reached this point, the rest is standard check writing – entering the payee info + dollar amount to be remitted – with the key step being the requisite transaction number that must be entered on the check to render it valid.
After that, you're all set... The main thing to remember about writing Walmart Money Network checks is that you *must* call first the number listed above, which is the same for general account access, *before* handing your check over to the merchant.
Otherwise, given the front-end electronic authorization, the merchant will be unable to accept the check as a valid means of payment.
Furthermore, we've now come to the employee-only Exceed Card.
With this particular card, the Walmart Money Network has both combined and expanded upon its general services offered with its other products, making it especially powerful for the thousands of Walmart Associates across the country.
The Exceed Card is, in my opinion, the top-tier financial product within the larger Money Network Walmart is a part of, as the additional perks and protections make it a compelling alternative to retail banking tools.
Comprehensive fraud and overdraft protection alone is an upgrade to the many less-potent prepaid cards on the market, and having funds FDIC insured provides invaluable peace of mind to Exceed Cardmembers.
Undoubtedly a shining star of the Walmart Money Network, the Exceed Card's only drawback that makes it non-marketable to the masses is its exclusive access to current Walmart Associates.
All in all, though, the Money Network Walmart has plugged into offers sufficient financial tools and services for almost all consumers, regardless of one's background or socio-economic status.
There's no doubt that, for at least some of our readers, the notion of fitting the Walmart Money Network into a broader financial plan can seem difficult to understand.
So it is in this vein that we'll offer some analysis, and where appropriate, a few recommendations, too.
Moreover, financial services – including quasi-financial products like the MoneyCard and EverywherePaycard – are inherently 'slippery' to comprehend from a user's perspective, given how similar they are to competing offers on the market.
Thus, for a person with a conventional bank account and/or credit card, it may seem as though any additional transactional tools would be overkill.
But when you consider how much more vulnerable your finances are when conducting business from a primary checking (savings) account, the merits of the Walmart Money Network become appealing, if not compelling, to many.
For example, let's say that you have both a checking and savings account at a traditional institution such as Bank of America.
Each of your employment paychecks hits your primary checking account via direct deposit, from which you subsequently transfer funds into your savings.
You've set up automatic billing for your monthly expenses, including your car note and home mortgage, so your fixed monthly spending is already handled effectively.
So now that you've insulated yourself against some of the most common perils of identity theft and financial fraud, there remain ways in which you can yet further protect your cash assets and credit.
And this is where the Walmart Money Network can help...
Because going beyond your standard bank account(s) and integrating select Walmart Money Network cards to help offset the risks of using your (bank) debit card too much, is a move that can save you a world of hurt in the future.
That's why several users who sign up for Money Network services do so to build a wall between their more substantial cash assets and their everyday spending needs.
Circling back to our example direct deposit + savings account scenario, you can now see how the addition of a Walmart MoneyCard would serve well in your overall arrangement.
Cybersecurity experts and financial professionals generally encourage their clients to adopt direct deposit and paperless billing/credit card statements, as a tactic to avoid the tragedies of fraudulent transactions.
Yet and still many consumers, while being receptive to the logic and benefits of direct deposit, hit a snag in their thinking when it comes to eliminating debit card transactions linked to their primary checking account.
And that's where a tool like the MoneyCard, and, should you choose to allocate some of your employment funds to the EverywherePaycard, fill in the gaps of your daily living.
To implement such a strategy, calculate your average discretionary spending for a month, which is a good starting point when implementing a Walmart Money Network card into your program; this monthly total will then be used to guide your funds transfer(s) onto your MoneyCard.
What's more is that not only can adopting this policy help shield your 'bigger cash' from financial pilfery, but can act as an effective budgeting control as well.
Used in conjunction with Money Network checks or a Walmart credit card, you can minimize your risks of falling victim to a catastrophic event, while at the same time budgeting effectively and building credit along the way.
In your consideration of adding one of the several Walmart Money Network products to your portfolio of financial tools, the greater budgeting control afforded by prepaid debit cards should be noted.
For over a decade now, economists, personal finance gurus, and banking institutions have touted the benefits of electronic payment products over their cash-based counterparts.
Perhaps here more than anywhere is the timeless maxim of "out of sight, out of mind" true, as 'impulse buying' remains the leading cause for budget-breaking/overspending among consumers.
And while those inclined to buy online have seen these numbers swell for them as well, the majority of people still shop in-store, and, as you may have guessed, with cash.
Consequently, retailers ranging from your neighborhood convenience store to Wal-Mart SuperCenters capitalize on decades of data supporting human nature and behavioral finance.
A well-known factor at this point, detailed studies have consistently shown that consumers who conduct the majority of their transactions with cash are more likely to spend more of it against their (budgeting) wills, a key issue which the family of Walmart Money Network cards can help eliminate.
This factor, along with a few others, partly explains some of the most successful practices of retailers/merchandisers of all kinds.
To illustrate this point, visualize the last 5 or so convenience stores you've visited over the past year.
And most importantly, take into account the assortment of items placed closest to the checkout counter, while at the same time asking yourself how much more of these items are sold from this prime location, as opposed to more obscure sections of the facility.
Now, also picture your average buyer at the counter, along with the overwhelmingly-consistent form of payment: Cash money.
At this point, it should be easy to see how the confluence of impulse buying, cash money usage, and retailing science work together to increase sales in the marketplace.
Equally apparent should be the ultimate 'winners and losers' of such a reality, as consumer sentiment reflects a "it's only a dollar" mentality which, over time, leads to sizable profits for merchandisers.
What's more is that, given the immediately-accessible nature of loose money, shoppers feel a false sense of control over their finances since they can readily see how much cash they have to spend.
But therein lies the most perilous aspect of paper money, and where the Walmart Money Network is primed to help out...
Remember the phrase "out of sight, out of mind?" Well when it comes to strict budgeting and prudent cash management, this axiom should be the governing policy for most consumers.
Because just as those retailing studies citing a greater propensity for shoppers to impulse-buy with paper money, also show a strong correlation between reduced sales attributed to debit and Walmart Money Network Card users.
The reasoning behind these findings is not unanimous, although several plausible conclusions have been made.
For one, impulse buying is less of an issue with Walmart Money Network Card members because there's usually a diminished understanding of the precise dollar amount available at any given time.
Buyers may have an approximate idea as to how much money they have on the card, but in our never-ending quest to avoid embarrassment – another human trait – we'd rather decline to add more to our order than to be given the 'insufficient funds look' by the cashier.
And unlike paper money whereby an accurate count can be made within seconds, checking a Walmart MoneyCard balance is considerably more involved, particularly while one is already present at the checkout counter.
Thus, while the primary draw for Walmart Money Network users is electronic commerce, products like the EverywherePaycard are, perhaps, more beneficial to those who do significant shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.
Now with respect to shopping online, the buying process itself creates somewhat of a firewall against impulsive decision-making, especially during the order confirmation and payment stages.
Randomly adding to your shopping cart is one thing, while going through with those 'extra' purchases is yet another.
Also mitigating rampant overspending online is the ability to quickly log into your My Walmart Money Network account and check the funds available on your paycard.
In any case, however, anyone who wants to more tightly control their everyday spending habits and/or stick to a rigorous budget, would do well to employ any of the Walmart Money Network cards to facilitate their plan.
Throughout our coverage of the Walmart Money Network, and the deeper we delve into the breadth of products therein, the question of whether Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. can evolve into a bona fide banking player has arisen frequently.
And upon cursory review of this notion, the natural reaction may be one of skepticism; although, given a deeper analysis of the possibilities, it's actually quite plausible for such a development to occur.
With a growing presence in the financial services industry thanks to the Walmart MoneyCard and others, the brand is already familiar with the various aspects of marketing, regulation, and promotion.
What's more is that, even while Walmart is technically a discount retailer, its multinational scope and massive supply chain demands an equally-capable legal team.
Thus, with its current pool of human capital in these highly-technical fields, the ability to handle the formidable financial services regulations is largely in place at the corporate level.
And there's no doubt that the expansive federal statutes governing financial institutions are what deter most would-be entrants into the sector, so the threat of (market) oversaturation is relatively minor.
In addition to its complex interfacing with United States Authorities, the Walmart Money Network also interacts with governments around the world, a huge advantage should it move to broaden its position in the financial markets.
Now couple this technical expertise and infrastructure with the thousands of physical Wal-Mart Stores worldwide, and the notion of integrating a comprehensive banking center in them is by no means a stretch.
Particularly in SuperCenter department stores, Walmart actively employs a sectional layout catering to discrete interests of their shoppers.
Consumers looking to say, buy contact lenses via the Vision Center, are largely quarantined and undisturbed by the general patrons of the facility.
The same holds true for the tire and auto center, along with the bakery and customer service (returns) department.
So again, as mentioned in other parts of this article and website, the sprawling network of Walmart Department Stores presents near infinite options for the brand to offer still more services to the public.
Moreover, not only does Walmart currently occupy hundreds of acres with its portfolio of shopping centers, but has many more adjacent to these installations that could readily be developed for retail banking or otherwise.
These observations – among several others – are what intrigue industry watchers and professional analysts so much about Walmart; it's one of the most-recognized brands in the world, in addition to being one of the largest private owners of developable land and real estate.
One can even imagine a situation not too far into the future where folks spend an entire day at the new-and-improved SuperCenters, starting first in the Walmart Money Network Square (to reload an everywhere paycard or acquire a credit card) and then moving throughout the mall buying everything from a new car to home furniture.
And while many retailers have floated the idea of entering the financial sector in earnest, virtually all have been stymied by space constraints and/or regulatory burdens.
Though as outlined above, should the Walmart Money Network choose to delve deeper into this lucrative world, it will be on much firmer ground in the areas which have vexed the aspirations of myriad merchants in the past.
Oftentimes, as is the case with most financial services, prospective members of the Walmart Money Network undertake an elaborate assessment of the prepaid card landscape before deciding upon their next vendor.
And while it certainly can be helpful to gain a better understanding of the products of the day, it can also consume lots of valuable time – much of which might be considered wasted at the end of the day.
Thus, prior to beginning your search for the best (most fitting) electronic payment option, you should first define your intended purpose(s) for which you'll be executing transactions.
This latter point might seem obvious to most, though it's still worth highlighting for various reasons...
For example, let's say you're only interested in shopping online, with zero chance that you'll be making purchases in conventional grocery or department stores.
Perhaps you're one of the few people who do all of your buying on the internet or invariably use cash for in-store purchases.
In this case, then, ordering a physical card from the Walmart Money Network might be unnecessary, assuming that you have a bank account from which to remit payments via EFT (electronic funds transfers).
But even then, your online shopping options might be limited because not all digital merchants accept EFTs, as the percentage of buyers choosing this method is much lower than users of credit or debit cards.
Notwithstanding said limitations, EFTs remain viable alternatives to tangible payment vehicles within the Walmart Money Network.
That said, for the overwhelming majority of consumers, the more likely situation is one where both online and offline transactions occur regularly, which requires a more versatile method than pure electronic funds transfers.
So given that reality, most folks reading this will gain more from the benefits of the debit card realm, whether being prepaid or bank-issued varieties.
And as touched on earlier in this article, bank-associated debit cards, while beneficial for the purposes they serve, entail greater commitments and eligibility requirements that not all consumers qualify for.
Because while it may seem that virtually all Americans have active bank accounts, there's a sizable number of citizens who are, in fact, unable to open accounts for a number of reasons.
Poor credit and/or unresolved collections activities instantly trigger a denial notice in most cases, rendering a conventional debit card unobtainable for individuals who fall into this category.
So financial products like those offered by Walmart Money Network – i.e., prepaid debit cards – literally provide the sole option for millions of users worldwide.
What's more is that, even for the remaining population which can utilize traditional banking services, many still choose products from the Walmart Money Network, per the ease with which they can be obtained.
Many users tout the hassle-free process by which you can get an everywhere pay card, in addition to how simple it is to cut ties with it for any reason.
No overdraft fees is yet another benefit of using a Walmart Money Network card, as the industry standard is roughly $35 per occurrence; a heavy toll to pay for a relatively minor 'infraction' for loyal customers.
Moreover, should you hold additional accounts within the same bank during an overdraft period, it's well within most firms' terms of service to deduct scheduled fees from any available funds in their possession, a practice that can lead to substantial stress for the consumer.
So an easy way to shield yourself from these types of actions is to keep at least some of your cash on a prepaid Walmart Money Network card of your choosing.
Generally speaking, consumers here in the United States are privileged to have a surplus of financial services from which to choose, including the diverse catalog of prepaid cards from the Walmart Money Network.
So gaining noteworthy market share of the multi-billion dollar finance industry is difficult for even the legacy players in this space, and can be impossible for new(er) entrants to siphon customers away from their current relationships.
That said, the remarkable success of items like the Walmart Money Network Money Card speaks volumes about the global reach, appeal, and trust of the namesake company in the partnership.
And while it's indisputable that part of the rising acceptance of the Money Network/Walmart collaboration is due to the competent manner in which the underlying services are administered, one can reason that the lion's share of this growth is attributable to Walmart's unique standing in the world.
Corporate branding has always been a point of emphasis for senior management, though in the digital age of social media, the focus has been amplified in result.
What that means in real terms is that businesses both large and small, can reach/interact with/market to a considerably larger pool of consumers than was once possible.
And adding to the 'instant scalability' of contemporary marketing are the various ways in which the internet bridges the gap between Walmart and its customers, as the dissemination of thoughtful content helps to foster trust with end users.
For instance, in decades past, the notion of establishing a respectable presence for something like the Walmart Money Network Paycard outside the United States would have been infeasible, per the high costs associated with broad-based marketing in the 'old days.'
Familiarizing prospective users not only with the availability of the cards, but with their many features and benefits, would have cost an inordinate amount of money relative to the projected return on investment.
The printing and distribution of informational materials alone would have consumed substantial resources, with no guarantee of project success.
Now consider the fact that each of these tasks would have to be duplicated several times since language differences and cultural norms are anything but monolithic throughout the world.
So it should be clear to understand that, while financial alliances similar to the Walmart Money Network have long been intriguing to executives, the business aspects of scaling such initiatives were quite unfavorable to do so.
Of course, times have changed dramatically since paper flyers were the primary means by which to market new offerings, much to the benefit of prominent brands like Walmart.
Moreover, greater exposure to the masses plays a key role in driving the growth of Walmart Money Network cards, with Walmart.com being central.
Both domestic and international consumers reliably turn to the mega-retailer for their online shopping needs, and studies have shown that the more often a buyer visits a website, the more engaged they usually are with the brand.
So while a general browser of, say, Walmart Electronics might have no (current) intentions to order a Money Card, the likelihood of their doing so rises with each subsequent trip to Walmart.com.
Now couple that with the enviable brand recognition and stability the company's enjoyed over the years, and the appeal of the Walmart Money Network is a natural byproduct of a solid reputation built over time.
For many users of the Walmart Money Network, gaining access to conventional financial products can be challenging at best.
And similar to how so many turn to Walmart for everything from tires to tablets, the company's philosophy fosters a spirit of economic inclusion not seen in most firms.
Although not a recent development in the U.S., the trend of a widening gap between the top and bottom income earners has accelerated over the past decade.
So not only are shoppers being squeezed more and more for their hard-earned money, but retailers of all stripes, in general, have responded indifferently to this concerning reality.
What's more is that, while economic indicators and financial data reflect a growing economy, there's a sizable portion of citizens who have not participated in these gains.
Basic necessities like food and shelter – especially shelter! – have risen at alarming rates, creating a stressful financial environment for millions of consumers to navigate.
And adding to the plight of those found in high-cost regions is the inability to secure adequate financing or credit alternatives which could, at least for the intermediate term, help ease some of the burdens of a changing world and economy.
But despite the propensity for the financial industry (including real estate) to cater aggressively to high-income earners, the Walmart Money Network takes a contrasting approach by opening the doors of finance to everyone — including people who may still be getting their economic 'sea legs' under them.
General products like the Walmart Money Card help facilitate the transference of funds electronically in a debit-like manner, while the Walmart Credit Card floats much-needed capital to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit profiles.
And it's in this latter area that generally proves critical, as credit card use tends to spike during times of crisis or despair.
So it is, arguably, the credit and lending aspects of the Walmart Money Network that holds the greatest value for the public because of its broader (more lenient) criteria by which new customers are accepted.
That said, by no means is the Money Network and Walmart partnership exclusive to any particular consumer category, as the majority of its products are well-suited for most socio-economic conditions.
And with respect to the Walmart Credit Card, adding an adequate number of good-credit members to the lending pool is no doubt an advantage, given the positive effects it has on the credit portfolio in aggregate.
For instance, credit card companies approach borrower selection similar to how insurance firms choose their members, applying an actuarial/probability model which helps identify certain risks.
So while the fundamental nature of credit invariably results in at least some bad debts, the stronger the portfolio is a whole – the more consumers can be served over time.
Thus, while it's true that the Walmart Credit Card is ideal for borrowers looking to (re)build their credit, it's equally important that an adequate percentage of 'preferred credit' users open accounts as well.
Notwithstanding the benefits of a diverse credit portfolio, the Walmart Money Network has been admirable in its commitment to serving those who have far fewer options than others, which has helped inestimable citizens put themselves on a promising path to prosperity.
Therefore, it is in this spirit that various Walmart Money Network Cards support the broader mission of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. by upholding a business model that's readily accessible to the masses, regardless of their current financial state.
Continuing on the theme of our previous section, we want to further highlight the ways in which the Walmart Money Network helps bolster the interests of users across the globe.
For one, as is true with many business entities and units, strength is derived from numbers.
What this means in real terms is that only after a certain scale has been reached for specialty products like those found in the Walmart Money Network can the apparatus be sustained.
So a growing base of users allows both Walmart and the Money Network to improve upon its services, in addition to implementing new technologies and protections for consumers.
And as indicated previously, it's usually some of the most vulnerable people in society who rely heavily on products like the Walmart Credit Card, so if it were to, for whatever reason(s), fall by the wayside, then these people would have yet fewer options than before.
So the premise of what we're getting at here is that, for those of us who are fortunate enough to have diverse options for finance, our participation in the Walmart Money Network has outsized benefits for others who are more restricted in their choices.
This doesn't mean that consumers, of any means, should turn a blind eye towards their own financial stability and take out more credit than necessary, but for those who're already in the market for more credit, then a Money Network Walmart Card should at least be considered.
Moreover, as a strategic means, it should be noted that the Walmart Credit Card has a higher interest rate than some others, so allocating a larger slice of your monthly debt-service funds to its balance could help offset the hit.
But the more important point to signing up for a Walmart Money Network Card is that by participating in its services helps fortify a diverse credit base, something that's especially honorable for someone who could have the proverbial 'pick of the litter' re: financial services.
And while we've focused heavily on the benefits derived from a sturdy credit/lending portfolio, it should equally be noted that transactions of all types help with the underlying premise of this section.
Because not only do the latent funds placed on the Walmart Money Card serve the interests of the money markets in general, but the reasonable fees charged to execute various actions work for the benefit of all Walmart Money Network members.
Of course, some of these fees are used to cover business expenses like employee compensation, marketing, and legal concerns, while others serve to bolster technologies for end users.
In sum, it's only natural that prime credit borrowers seek products with the lowest interest rates and most-advanced features, though when looked at through the lens of serving a dual (moral) purpose, we're confident that at least some of these folks will choose a Walmart Money Network Card for the reasons outlined above.
In light of the growing catalog of prepaid Walmart Money Network cards, it can be a little difficult to keep up with the various benefits of each.
And a question often asked by prospective members is whether there are any incentives or rewards programs associated with using one of the products.
What's more is that throughout our time of working on this section and speaking with would-be customers, the misconception that the Walmart Money Network services are both basic and limited is pervasive.
So it is in that vein that we hope to illuminate the financial gains you can receive by using one of these prepaid cards, and the ways in which you can further capitalize on the program.
But before doing that, it would be helpful to first identify which of the Money Network Walmart cards offered an impressive lineup of incentives; and it should come as no surprise that it's the Walmart Money Card.
By doing nothing more than using your MoneyCard to shop online with Walmart will result in a full three percent returned to your account with no questions asked.
Now to take things a step further in the analysis of how shopping on Walmart.com can boost your returns beyond the MoneyCard rebate, consider the fact that on any given day, you'll find rock-bottom prices to begin with.
What's more is that a large portion of first-time Walmart Money Network customers are those who have already established a strong relationship with the retail giant.
Many times these ties are fostered organically from the ground up, meaning they start first in the physical space with ubiquitous department stores and SuperCenters.
Then, as customers become deeply familiar with the general product lines and price ranges of Walmart Stores, they naturally branch out to either supplement or replace their in-store shopping with digital commerce.
And it's for these Walmart Money Network members that the greatest financial incentives accrue; although, conventional patrons should also note that they too can benefit from a cash-back offer with the MoneyCard.
Because not only are you rewarded for purchasing from the website, but can receive $10 back for every thousand bucks you spend in-store.
(Said differently, shopping with your Walmart Money Card at either a Neighborhood Market or a SuperCenter entitles you to a one percent rebate in result.)
So in order to reap the greatest benefits from the cash-rebate features of your Money Network/Walmart account is to make sure that you always have sufficient funds in it to cover your purchases — doing so will allow you to avoid having to use other, non-cash-back forms of payment.
As outlined above, the easiest way to do this is to set up direct deposit authorization that automatically reloads your account as desired.
The other hassle-free method is to transfer funds electronically from your bank account, which entail a three-to-five-day delay.
And of course, you can always physically reload cash onto your money or Everywhere PayCard at your local Walmart MoneyCenter, co-located with the customer service/returns department.
With so many reload options and valuable features, the Walmart Money Network card is an attractive option for millions of consumers who welcome the various ways in which they can benefit from the program.
It's no secret that widespread innovation has run rampant in the digital age, and while it took a bit longer for them to be affected, financial services are now in the crosshairs of a revolution.
For centuries, the world's largest and most powerful banks have enjoyed near unrivaled competition, as complex regulation and marketing hurdles precluded would-be entrants into the field.
And even while industries of all kinds were disrupted by a changing economy and consumer dynamics, the world of finance continued to go virtually unscathed.
But with the never-ending pursuit of new opportunities and profitable ventures, hedge managers and serial entrepreneurs have made substantial inroads in the once-untouchable world of finance.
Mobile technology has fundamentally changed the way in which we live and do business, making it much easier to complete everyday tasks both large and small.
What's more is that traditional banking has long been an area of consternation for consumers, so it was only a matter of time before newcomers like the Walmart Money Network began to challenge for supremacy the lucrative world of consumer finance.
On one hand, this is because with mammoth size comes, at times, an ability to respond swiftly to growing trends, while on the other hand it speaks to the very nature of the society in which we live.
Citizens of thriving democracies like the one in which we live here in the United States are unabashedly encouraged to seek uncharted opportunities through innovation.
And even though general failure rates among serial entrepreneurs is formidable, there's simply no substitute for the benefits of learning how to create things.
So within this 'entrepreneurial ecosystem,' you'll find young people of all backgrounds and experience, each of whom brings a unique perspective to the table.
One person might come from a family of attorneys, while the other may have a rich history of bankers.
These individuals may then team up with a pair of technologists and marketing professionals, all working together to develop cool new tools for the masses.
What's more is that the 'sharing economy' has also contributed to the way in which consumers view financial services, with P2P (peer-to-peer) lending being a preferred method to get loans and raise capital nowadays.
No longer is it a foregone conclusion that in order to seek funding, your only path must start – and end – with a major retail bank.
The options to circumvent conventional financial intermediaries are expansive contemporarily, while promising technologies like the Blockchain offer near limitless possibilities to create still more services that are buoyed by it.
Many of these inventions remain a few years out, but the general expectations are that financial services will be among the biggest winners of these developments.
And without question, major players like the Walmart Money Network will benefit significantly from being able to offer more money-moving services in real-time, something that entrenched institutions have struggled with for decades.
Enabling consumers to send cash digitally to a friend, relative, or business partner in mere seconds adds great value to firms who can master the processes.
And it is in this realm of business, peer-to-peer lending, where the greatest potential for growth arguably lies for the Walmart Money Network.
Everything from the paying of shared utilities to Uber cars will eventually be handled almost exclusively electronically, with paper money becoming even less prevalent than it is today.
All of these implications portend a challenging road ahead for banking institutions who must now plan, adapt, and compete with rising stars like the Walmart Money Network.
One of the biggest concerns many consumers have before choosing a financial services company is where, if at all, they can use their cards outside the U.S.
Pertinent questions surrounding both access and fees headline the inquiries, though many others are raised as well.
So it is in this light that the Walmart Money Network shines, given the broad coverage it has across the globe.
Members spanning virtually all continents can be confident that they can find a Money Center in over 28 countries, totalling more than 10,000 retail locations worldwide.
In addition to the ability to reload cash onto a Walmart Money Network card physically at Rapid Reload kiosk, inter-bank electronic funds transfers continue to facilitate international money movement for the masses.
Being a bona fide, authentic partner of both the Visa and MasterCard brands also helps with the global nature by which members can feel comfortable travelling abroad with a MoneyCard, as these companies have built strong/long-standing relationships with dozens of countries beyond North America.
Additionally, the fact that international fraud protection is a staple of these companies' policies provides some 'mental insurance' for those who may be leery of using their cards online.
And as always, whether being in the U.S. or abroad, your entire account can be managed/monitored conveniently via the Walmart Money Network online site, as well as from the mobile app.
An international, toll-free customer service phone number is also accessible to consumers, affording you several options to reach someone in case of emergency.
Furthermore, an advanced strategy for globetrotting safely with your Walmart Money Network account is to adopt an afore-mentioned practice of divvying up your funds on more than one card.
As an example, let's assume you'll be travelling throughout Europe for two weeks, and will allot US$2,000 for your trip.
But given the enhanced financial risks involved with keeping all your 'eggs in one basket,' you decide that it would be more prudent to not only use more than one Money Network Walmart Card, but to keep them in separate places at all times.
That way, should an unfortunate event take place with one of them, you'd still have no less than US$1,000 on hand to help stem you while the resolution process takes place with the other card.
Because even though there's a relatively fair, quick, and straightforward channel through which fraud claims are handled, the fact of the matter is that there's still a delay before claimants receive the contested sums back into their accounts.
And even if this were to happen within a very aggressive time period of 3 hours, the ramifications of not having any money during that stint can be severe.
(Being without the necessary funds for 3 years in your own country of origin can be devastating, so imagine how distressing this can be thousands of miles away from home.)
Thus, if at all possible, segregating your cash onto at least 2 Walmart Money Network financial products is recommended.
Doing so is an effective policy within your home country, and is downright essential when venturing beyond your borders.
In any case, you can rest assured that the iconic brand of the parent company, along with the international respect held for the payment processors, puts you in a good stead by entrusting your funds to the Walmart Money Network.
The fact that the Walmart Money Network and the foremost company of the partnership play off of each other's success is one that gets lost among some viewers of this relationship.
But there's a time-worn axiom in marketing that speaks to the way in which a parent companies' expanding brand serves as a 'rising tide which lifts all boats' under its umbrella.
This holds true not only for namesake divisions but for all subsidiaries and affiliates.
Having said that, there's no doubt that any such affiliated operation that has the benefit of sharing the name of a perennially-dominant company – as is the case with the Walmart Money Network – receives outsized benefits that it otherwise might not have.
So even while on the surface it may seem like the Walmart Brand has reached global saturation, the reality is that there's lots of room for the business to grow.
Because not only do ample opportunities exist here within the United States, but inestimable more beyond our borders.
Emerging markets such as those in Africa, Asia, and Latin America present a number of challenges on one hand, and plenty of upside on the other.
Mastering consumer preferences in just one of these places — e.g., Nigeria, Hong Kong, or South Africa — can lead to spectacular returns for the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
And given the exceedingly-complex task of building physical structures in general, one of the best ways for the company to break into some of these promising markets is through the digital Walmart Money Network.
Populations around the world are gradually becoming more interconnected and reliant upon the internet, with China having one of the most robust economies.
Millions of middle-class consumers are now moving money (paying bills) electronically and shopping online in China, making it a leading prospect for Walmart Money Network products.
What's more is that this trend will almost surely continue into the future, as an increasing number of citizens earn more income and turn to the internet for all-things-business.
So in light of the burgeoning demand for financial innovation and technology, the Money Network/Walmart partnership can enter these locales and compete more inexpensively than it could by constructing a retail store.
But the real value of establishing an overseas presence with its consumer finance division is that it (further) exposes diverse groups of shoppers to its brand.
And in keeping with the 'billboard effect,' the more often a business can get its products in front of consumers, the more opportunity it has to turn them into customers.
Thus, by systematically broadening the global base of Walmart Money Network members, the company will invariably buoy its prospects of one day bringing its flagship department stores and SuperCenters to these countries as well.
And by providing essential services like international money transference and peer-lending solutions, Walmart could build substantial goodwill into any future plans it may hold in some of these underserved parts of the world.
Wrapping up our discussions here on the Walmart Money Network will be a brief accounting of the various products therein, along with some guidelines and suggestions for their use.
Headlining the Walmart-branded payment tools is, without question, the MoneyCard.
The oldest and most well-known of the bunch the Walmart MoneyCard is an ideal choice for users looking for a hassle-free, reloadable debit card for general use.
Highly appealing to millennials for its convenient smartphone app, the MoneyCard helps myriad members manage their money digitally.
And perhaps the greatest benefit to users who select this stalwart of the Walmart Money Network is the fact that it's reloadable, and thus, (relatively) permanent, as opposed to others varieties – e.g., gift cards – which cannot be reloaded beyond their initial balance.
Furthermore, the next item in the Walmart Money Network toolkit is the 'Everywhere Paycard,' which is more so geared toward payroll services such as direct deposits and IRS refund checks.
That being said, the EverywherePaycard is quite similar to the MoneyCard, with the latter offering cash back options and a couple other unique features.
For the most part, though, the two cards can be viewed similarly as Walmart Prepaid Cards, both of which afford users expanded payment and e-com buying capabilities.
Next up are the two Walmart Gift Cards from Visa and MasterCard.
These gift cards are very straightforward and function identically to most others in this category, the key difference being the Walmart Brand being a catalyst for their use.
Customers are able to purchase either a Visa or MasterCard Gift Card at a preset monetary denomination, after which no additional funds can be added to the balance.
As such, gift cards are ideal for, well, gifts, and make perfect Holiday and birthday presents for most anyone.
And the great thing about gift cards is that a benefactor doesn't have to agonize over what to get someone for, say, Christmas, as the card can be used (up to its prepaid balance) both online and in-store.
So giving someone a prepaid Walmart Gift Card is a wonderful option nowadays, especially with the proliferation of digital commerce merchants from which a recipient can buy.
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