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10/26/2021

Walmart expands financial services options in deal with Vanilla Direct

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart customers can now use cash for certain financial services transactions in its stores.

Walmart will let customers pay their bills or fund prepaid accounts with cash in its stores nationwide.

The discount giant is collaborating with InComm Payments to make the payment tech provider’s Vanilla Direct financial network available nationwide at more than 4,700 stores. Customers will have access to more than 15,000 billers and account providers participating in the Vanilla Direct network. Financial service providers come from across a variety of sectors, such as utility, telecommunication, tolling, banking, rental companies, and insurance providers.

Consumers can pay bills and fund a variety of account types at Walmart’s customer service desk or in-store Walmart Money Center by scanning a barcode tied to their account (either via a paper copy or digitally on their mobile device) and completing their payment with cash. Funds are then transferred electronically through a single consolidated settlement.

Walmart has been increasing its presence in the financial services sector during 2021. At the beginning of the year, Walmart launched a fintech start-up designed to develop and offer “modern, innovative and affordable financial solutions” in collaboration with Ribbit Capital, one of the venture capital firms behind Robinhood.

In August, the retailer teamed up with the payments platform and financial technology company PayNearMe to let customers make cash bill payments to utility companies and other billers at select Walmart stores. Users of the PayNearMe mobile payments app can show an associate at the store’s money services or customer service desk a scannable code on their smartphone, pay with cash, and collect a receipt that confirms the payment is completed. Funds will then transfer to the biller electronically through a single consolidated settlement. To provide this joint service with Walmart, PayByMe is expanding upon an existing partnership with financial technology provider Green Dot. 

Meanwhile, InComm Payments has also been partnering with drugstore giant Walgreens to expand that retailer’s range of financial services. InComm Payments is involved in Walgreens financial offerings including Scarlet, a bank account and debit card issued by MetaBank and available exclusively at Walgreens; as well as a relaunch of the Walgreens gift card program.

“We know our customers are busy. We’re excited to bring to life a new service that helps make the monthly chore of paying bills faster and easier at Walmart,” said Julia Unger, VP of financial services at Walmart. “We continue to be committed to providing our customers valuable and efficient services to help them manage their finances.”

“This solution is another important milestone in our longstanding relationship with Walmart and our pursuit to provide their customers with leading-edge products and services," said Stefan Happ, president of InComm Payments. “VanillaDirect is an excellent addition to Walmart’s payment options that provides their cash-centric customer with a new, convenient and easy-to-use method for paying bills and funding the accounts that support their everyday lives.”

This feature is now available at all Walmart stores in the U.S. Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and e-commerce websites.