“GoBank is breaking down the barriers to traditional banking and brings the benefits of a FDIC-insured checking account that’s loaded with features to a large segment of Americans,” said Green Dot CEO Steve Streit in a statement. The accounts will have no minimum balance, no overdraft fees will be charged and account holders will gain access to 42,000 free ATMs.
At $8.95 a month (plus $2.95 for a “starter kit” purchased at a Walmart store) GoBank is not the cheapest checking account around, but the monthly fee will be waived for customers who set up a direct deposit of $500 or more. According to Streit an independent Bretton Woods study found that customers pay approximately $218 to $314 annually for a basic checking account. That means even folks paying GoBank’s monthly fee ($107.40 annually) should come out ahead.
Echoing a sentiment shared when the retailer launched its Bluebird prepaid card with American Express in 2012, Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S. added, “Walmart customers want easier ways to manage their everyday finances and increasingly feel they just aren’t getting value from traditional banking because of high fees.”