“Wal-Mart Stores is taking another leap into the banking world, announcing on Monday a prepaid card and debit account with American Express that will give low-income consumers access to features like smartphone deposits,” reports the NYT. So one good rule of thumb, a nice little tip to remember, is that financial products designed for “low-income consumers” are usually TERRIBLE and RIFE WITH FEES because THAT IS HOW THINGS WORK IN THIS COUNTRY.
Walmart and AmEx say this prepaid card is different, but ultimately, prepaid cards are unregulated so it can’t be but so great. “The only fees consumers will ever pay are clear, transparent and within their control,” says the press release. But …. right okay. The fees they’ve released so far: $5 to signup in a Walmart store (or free if you sign up online or via your phone); $2 per out-of-network ATM; $2 per withdrawal without direct deposit. So: If you don’t have direct deposit, and you use an out of network ATM, you’re paying $4 each time you want your money, plus whatever the ATM you’re using charges you. “The companies did not disclose other fees as of now.”