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Plenty of businesses hate and fear Walmart, that giant corporation that outsells and out-prices everyone else. The reason is Walmart’s MoneyCenter offices, which offer a range of financial products including check cashing, bill payment, wire transfers and other services.
Though the move might seem less ambitious than Wal-Mart’s other forays in banking, competitors should take it seriously. Thompson would not say exactly how many express MoneyCenters will be part of the pilot program, and was reluctant to reveal locations to rivals.
Many financial services companies have been trying to encourage self-service transactions at kiosks or ATMs in order to keep labor costs down and maximize store hours, so to speak.
Tuesday, August 1st 2012, will go down as the day I told the pre-paid card industry thanks, but no thanks!, We’re creatures of habit, right?
If you’re asking yourself; did he just write that he uploaded money onto two separate accounts so that he could access his  own money? Again, as a former member of the Underbanked who was off the financial grid for two years because I did not have access to a checking account, I had no choice…or so I thought. Even though I recently opened my first checking account in two years through Regions Bank, instead of going there to deposit $150 dollars, I drove off to Walmart to upload money onto my Greendot MoneyPak card so I could then transfer the funds onto my PayPal account. This time, instead of the online system asking me for my activation code located on the Walmart receipt, it was asking for a set of numbers off the back of the MoneyPak Card which my 2 year old card did not have as shown below. After the second call, I decided to see if maybe a third call would bring a different outcome.
So I got online and started doing some research to find if there was any other contact information available for Green Dot Customer Support.
As you can see, the first number is the number I called.  Amazingly enough, it says 36,400 Green Dot customers recommend the information they are providing; really?  Did they mean Green Dot employees? All this fantastic customer service from a company that according to Steve Streit, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Green Dot Corporation, said on an investor call that their 4th quarter earnings for 2011Q4 were solid and 2011 was another strong year for Green Dot.
According to David Parker of Lazard Capital Markets who was quoted in the same article, Green Dot is trying to increase revenue and focus on existing customers rather than expanding its client base.
Now before you go spouting off about me being a socialist or being anti-capitalism, stick that nonsense back in your mouth.


As you can see, they still aren’t providing a number for immediate help.  What if this person is off the financial grid and uploaded money to pay a bill? I finally found Green Dot’s corporate number, which for anyone looking to solve any similar issues is 626-775-3400. Actually, at the 22 minute mark of our call while I was holding, the music stopped and the line went silent. Of course, having gone through this too many times with other customer service personnel, I asked Daniel for his contact information which he provided. Let’s get back to that “aha” moment.  Why does anyone really go out and get a pre-paid credit card anyway? However,the report says that consumers face dangers and traps with prepaid cards, which are becoming the foundation of a second-tier banking system that shadows the traditional banking system.  If you read my UnderBanked post or seen the video, you would know that according to Core Venture Capital, the “underbanked” spend $45 billion dollars a year trying to handle their business!  And this “second tier” banking system that shadows the traditional banking system? And when it’s all about the Benjamins, then it’s time to kick it into high marketing gear y’all.
While Puffy’s song still keeps playing in my head, the Consumer Union’s report states that sizable sums of money have been loaded onto prepaid cards in recent years and the numbers only continue to grow.
Are you looking to get a pre-paid credit card because you can’t open a checking account like I previously couldn’t?
Manned by customer service agents, they are one of the most profitable areas in Wal-Mart stores, Thompson said. Wonder no more – it’s true.  Let’s not forget that additionally, I have to pay for the privilege of uploading and accessing that money as well! It’s funny how I am continually arriving to these ‘aha’ moments when it comes to being underbanked and under-served, as an Amateur Consumer.
Not only that, but they also prefer that first number over the second number with the shorter wait time?  That second number you see listed up top takes you into the same system as the first and according to this chart, there is no live chat or email available either. This is America and I am as much a capitalist as the next guy, even if I am giving away my video series for free! Additionally, I wanted to record the call so I could share it here with my readers but something else happened before I called.  Less than 5 minutes later, Daniel called me back on my cell phone to provide me with the necessary pin number so I would be able to go back online and transfer the funds over to my PayPal account. Then find a real bank that will allow you to open a checking account with a debit card just like I did.


Well, if you use a pre-paid card, aren’t you only getting access to the money you uploaded to that card? Why?  Well, I can tell you it isn’t because I love how banks are treating consumers these days, because I don’t.  But that’s another topic, for another day. There are over 1,000 of these MoneyCenters in Walmarts everywhere, and they are one of the most profitable areas in the Walmart store, according to Jane Thompson, the outgoing president of Wal-Mart’s financial services unit. Unfortunately for me, and completely out of necessity as I pointed out in my Underbanked Video, one of those habits I got used to was uploading money onto my Green Dot MoneyPak card, in order to upload money into my PayPal account, so I could have access to it.
Treasury pilot program under which Americans will get their federal tax refunds via direct deposit to a prepaid debit card. However, I believe that if you are making money hand over fist and are supposedly providing a service to help those 60 million plus “underbanked” Americans, the least you can do is provide some quality customer service.  Am I asking too much in expecting Green Dot to actually get someone on the line when you need some help and call their customer service number that they advertise on the back of their card?  You do know that’s a rhetorical questions, right?
That same report shows that check cashing alone generated $2 billion dollars a year in 2011.
Call every single bank and credit union in your state, around your area, or within driving distance to find out if they pull a ChexSystems report in order to open that checking account.
Rhetorical question because the answer is; of course you are!  If you deposit $500 dollars and any transaction adding up to one penny more than that amount will be declined – plain and simple!  So go to that bank or credit union you find, open up your checking account, deposit your money, get your debit card, avoid using checks, and waive the bank’s “overdraft protection” program.
I committed to liberating myself and YOU from a system that promises independence but breeds dependence. And you can hear the complete unedited call here if you don’t mind wasting 21 minutes and 15 seconds of your life that you’ll never get back. That way, if your debit card purchase or transaction is larger than your account balance, the transaction will be denied and you won’t incur a fee!  Same as the pre-paid card.  Again, plain and simple, right?
I would argue that my experience, and apparently those of many others online from what I’ve read, seems to show that Green Dot is not concerned with customer service or… lack-thereof, further proving; it’s all about the Benjamins baby!



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