In fight against Amazon, Walmart expands global money transfer

As Amazon grows the Bank of Amazon, Walmart is becoming the PayPal of retailers.

Walmart is expanding the reach of its U.S. money-transfer service Walmart2Walmart to recipients in 200 countries for a flat fee. The service, called Walmart2World, will be offered at all of the retailer’s 4,700 U.S. locations starting this month through a partnership with MoneyGram.

Like any retailer, Walmart isn’t exactly taking on the banking industry — although it has its history of that — but instead, it’s making financial services more accessible to its existing customers in order to keep them and maybe increase their shopping activity.

Like PayPal before it, Walmart already emphasizes the physical channel for underbanked customers who can top up their account balances using cash or card at the point of sale. While it has more recently courted higher-income customers, it’s now reaching out to its original customer segment by encouraging consumers to make in-store transactions.

“[Money transfer services] are like bread at the restaurant for Walmart; it’s negligible revenue for them,” said Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer at GBH Insights. “The broader strategy is to build up that product arsenal on the consumer side  — every Walmart customer globally is an Amazon customer that could be taken away.”

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