Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), in conjunction with Ria Money Transfer and American Express, this week announced plans to make it cheaper for its customers to transfer money via its Walmart2Walmart money transfer service. (See also: Wal-Mart CEO’s Compensation Increases to $22.4M.)
The Walmart2Walmart service, powered by Ria, was launched three years ago this week. To celebrate the third anniversary, Wal-Mart introduced new fees that, according to the retailer, will allow customers save between 20% and 90% on domestic money transfers compared to what Western Union Co. (WU) offers.
In addition, the retailer is partnering with American Express to launch the Bluebird2Walmart money transfer service, a service that would allow Bluebird account holders to send money digitally for a recipient to pick up cash at a Wal-Mart store. Bluebird is an online checking account alternative offered by American Express. The Bluebird2Walmart service, due to launch in May, is also powered by Ria. The retailer reiterated that the cost of the Bluebird2Walmart service is similar to the new Walmart2Walmart prices.
This announcement represents the second time this year that Wal-Mart has made moves to bolster its money services business. In March, the retailer rolled out improvements to the Walmart App, allowing its money services customers to enter their transaction details digitally. Customers were previously required to fill out paperwork at stores. It also introduced an “express lane” to allow its money-services customers complete their transactions faster.
Given the insignificant contribution of its money services to its top line and the stiffening competition in the retail space, Wal-Mart is likely offering lower-cost money transfer to attract more foot traffic and accumulate data. Earlier this year, the retailer announced a partnership with CarSaver to sell cars. The peak revenue Wal-Mart can garner from the car sales partnership is also insignificant.