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Just in time for tax season, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has launched a service enabling consumers to pick up their tax refunds in cash. Available at the mega-retailer's stores nationwide, Walmart Direct2Cash aims to help customers save time and money, compared with traditional tax refund options.
The service is the result of a collaboration with Tax Products Group LLC (TPG) and Louisville, Ky.-based Republic Bank & Trust Co., two providers of tax-related financial products and services. The 25,000-plus tax preparation locations using software with the Walmart Direct2Cash option can provide the service for no additional fee or charge up to $7 at the time of filing. Walmart won't charge customers a fee when they claim their federal and state tax refunds in a store.
"We know tax refunds can be one of the largest financial payouts of the year for many of our customers, and the last thing they want is to wait for their refund check to arrive and then spend money on unnecessary fees –- in many cases upwards of $70 –- to cash it," noted Daniel Eckert, SVP of services for Walmart U.S. "By skipping the check and choosing this new service, customers will not only save time, but also keep some extra cash in their pockets –- two things Americans can always use more of."
After selecting a secure, one-stop cash pickup transaction, customers receive a confirmation code for federal and/or state tax return through an email from TPG or Republic Bank when the refund is ready to be claimed. The customer then goes to the Walmart MoneyCenter or the customer service desk at a local Walmart store, shows her confirmation code, confirms her identity and gets her refund in cash.
So far, the service is already getting a thumbs-up from those who prepare taxes. According to Bill Maher, CEO of La Jolla, Calif.-based TPG: “The response from tax preparers has already been incredibly positive. They believe this will not only simplify the tax refund process but provide a great benefit to taxpayers."
Additionally, Walmart is working with other businesses to help customers better manage their finances not just at tax time, but also year-round. This year, Jackson Hewitt tax preparers will be in more than 3,000 of the retailer's stores across the country, and Parsippany, N.J.-based Jackson Hewitt is offering eligible clients a $50 Walmart eGift Card when they e-file through one of its tax preparers. The card, which is available instantly upon filing, can be used on anything in stores or online. What’s more, each Jackson Hewitt tax filing consultation at a Walmart store will provide free tax assistance in identifying eligible health care options under the Affordable Care Act, complementing Walmart's Healthcare Begins Here program, which strives to educate customers about their health insurance options.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates 11,270 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries.