What is the Walmart Money Center? It’s an in-store kiosk that customers can use for money transfers, check cashing, coin to cash converting, prepaid card reloading, check printing, bill payments, and other financial services. The company also has a website version of the Center, although to use many of the services you will need to go into an actual store.
The Walmart Money Center operational hours can vary by store, but generally, the Center opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday.
Walmart says that its Money Center helps save you a trip to the bank. While you can’t do everything at the Center that you could do at a bank, many of its services are similar. Here’s what you can expect to see:
If your local Walmart location doesn’t have a dedicated Money Center, you might be able to access the services at the store’s customer service desk.
Several years ago, the store tried to obtain a federal bank charter but failed because many thought that the move would put smaller banks out of business. The lack of a charter means that while its Money Center can cash checks, you can’t use Walmart to make federally insured deposits or secure a loan.
Other stores offer bits and pieces of what Walmart has here. Grocery stores will often let you cash checks. Though, they may charge you a percentage of the check, which may end up being more expensive than Walmart’s standard fee.
While the Center offers a great variety of services, none provide the depth you receive from someone focusing in one specific area. Best Buy’s Geek Squad, for instance, will meet your tech needs more exhaustively than Soluto. And as great as check cashing at Walmart is, you’ll still have to make a trip to the bank if you want to deposit money. That’s if you have a bank. Some Walmart Money Center users are unbanked.
Overall, the convenience of what Walmart offers depends on how many of the store's other services you plan to use. If you are visiting the retailer already, then the Center can be a time saver in some cases.
The Center loses quite a bit of its appeal when you’re using the online version (found at walmart.com/cp/walmart-money-center/). Many pages are limited to being informational, telling you what you can do if you travel to a retail location. Where there is online functionality, the services offered aren’t any better (and usually worse) than what you’ll find elsewhere on the world wide web.
It’s no secret that Walmart has banking ambitions. While so far it’s been unable to realize that goal, it’s making baby steps into the market by providing check cashing and other financial services through its Money Center. As customers become more comfortable using Walmart as a banking alternative, the company is sure to add more features, and will maybe one day offer a full-fledged bank.
In the meantime, the Money Center is a welcomed service for several financial activities.