Earlier this week I did a post about businesses using mobile banking to gain access to the unbanked market. Walmart has announced they are entering the fray with a low cost mobile checking account called GoBank. GoBank has no minimum balance requirement and it’s $8.95 a month fee is waived if a direct deposit of at least $500 a month is made.
“GoBank gives our customers yet another option as to how they manage their money. When our customers have options, they win.” said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S.
GoBank has no minimum balance requirement or overdraft fees. Most “free” checking accounts are not free because of overdraft fees. Customers will have access to over 42,000 ATMs nationwide.
Other features include person to person payments where customers can instantly send money to each other at no charge via email or text message; and “Fortune Teller”, a feature that tells the user if they try to spend beyond their budget.
To me the “Fortune Teller” feature will be key for Walmart to make this a success. People who are unbanked always run into situations where they need to spend beyond their budget, which is why pawn shops are successful.
I believe companies like Walmart will eventually find out what pawnbrokers have known for centuries. Unless the people in the “unbanked” segment have some skin in the game, i.e. collateral, their willingness to plan their finances isn’t as strong as it should be.