Wal-Mart’s new money-transfer service has limitations

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Wal-Mart Stores

A new money-transfer service by Wal-Mart Stores starts today and allows customers to send up to $900 to other people via all Walmart stores in the United States.

The Walmart-2-Walmart service charges a $4.50 fee for money transfers of up to $50 and a $9.50 fee for transfers of $51 and more.

The service puts Wal-Mart in competition with MoneyGram, which was the exclusive money-transfer service provider at Walmart’s 4,205 U.S. stores, and Western Union. Walmart stores will continue to offer MoneyGram services for international transfers and domestic money transfers that are sent to locations other than Walmart stores, the company tells Consumers Digest.

Although the retailer charges slightly lower fees for its service than do competitors, you can’t use Walmart-2-Walmart to send money directly to a person’s bank account or to people in foreign countries. MoneyGram and Western Union allow you to make international transfers as well as to send money directly to bank accounts.

MoneyGram charges customers $5 to send up to $50 and $85 to send $900 when you use the service online, with other fees within $5 to $76 for other transfer amounts. According to its website, Western Union charges $1 to send up to $10, $1.99 to send up to $20, and $5 to send up to $50. It charges up to $85 to send $900 when you use the service online.

Wal-Mart tells Consumers Digest that money that’s sent via Walmart-2-Walmart will be ready to be picked up “within minutes,” but it gave no precise time range.

– K. Carlson