Walmart challenges rural banks with demand deposit account

The news: Walmart’s prepaid debit card, Walmart MoneyCard, will now be available as a demand deposit account (DDA).

Green Dot Bank, which powers the US-based retailer’s card, will underpin the DDA and add two new features: overdraft protection on amounts up to $200 and waived monthly maintenance fees if users make qualifying direct deposits of at least $500.

Walmart MoneyCard’s current customers—there are over 1 million—can access the DDA online, at the retailer’s more than 4,500 locations, and at Green Dot’s retail distribution locations, which number above 90,000.

More on this: Walmart’s DDA marks its latest move into financial services.

  • The retail giant is partnering with investor Ribbit Capital to launch a fintech startup that will offer products to its employees and to consumers. In March, Walmart poached a pair of Goldman Sachs executives to join the venture: Omer Ismail, Goldman’s consumer banking head, and David Stark, who became the bank’s large partnerships lead.
  • In October 2019, Walmart and Green Dot unveiled a fintech accelerator called TailFin Labs, LLC. The accelerator focuses on developing new offerings that can create a convenient integration between retail shopping and financial services. 

The big takeaway: In addition to Walmart MoneyCard’s large existing base, Walmart’s geographic ubiquity means the DDA has significant customer growth potential—90% of Americans reside within 10 miles of a Walmart location, the company said in a 2019 press release. This enormous footprint makes Walmart a threat to rural community banks and credit unions that have avoided competing with big traditional banks. And while the all-online nature of neobanks means they also enjoy a wide geographic range, Walmart’s name recognition and its omnichannel service could make Walmart MoneyCard a potent threat to them as well.