Wal-Mart Update: Pros and Cons


My wife wanted me to run around the countryside shopping for curtains yesterday, and she bribed me by buying my lunch at Red Lobster (I’m easy).

While enjoying my feast I looked out the back window of this particular site and looked straight at an abandoned Wal-Mart. The place looked almost new, just abandoned.

On our way to the curtain store we passed a brand new “Super” Wal-Mart, about 500 yards from the abandoned store.

Does this make sense to anyone?


Many lower income people are not especially welcome at banks.

Wal-Mart has a new form of prepaid Visa debit card, enhanced over prepaid Visas available elsewhere by serving a check cashing function (if the cashed check is put on the card, no fee) and allowing direct deposit of a paycheck. I believe the debit card be used to withdraw from an ATM.

For those who are not familiar with these cards, they are name imprinted and can be refilled at tens of thousands of retail stores for a modest fee (certainly more modest than payday loan and check cashing places). The card can be used anywhere a Visa debit card can be used.

We found these cards helpful when our children traveled, had car emergencies, and etc. so they can be useful to lots of people. The new Wal-Mart version has the additional features.

So although Wal-Mart was blocked from banking, this seems to be a useful addition to their services. For someone without a bank relationship this could reduce the need to carry cash and allows the convenience of a debit card.

Wal-Mart still has the standard gift cards and reloadable “student” gift card, good only for shopping at Wal-Mart.