Daniel Eckert

Wal-Mart is launching a service allowing customers to pick up their tax refunds in cash at all stores nationwide. It's the discounter's latest move to offer more financial services, which is seen as a path to bringing more shoppers into its stores. The world's largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., says the process will take the same time as if customers were to file their returns electronically and then get direct deposit, which could take just a week, says Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Wal-Mart's U.S. division.

After years of thwarted efforts to break into banking, Wal-Mart is making its biggest foray yet into everyday financial services. The nation's largest retailer is teaming up with Green Dot, known for its prepaid payment cards, to supply checking accounts to almost anyone over 18 who passes an ID check. Daniel Eckert, senior vice president at Wal-Mart, said on Tuesday that the accounts would be available nationwide by the end of October. The accounts are intended to be low-cost alternatives to traditional bank checking accounts, with no fees for overdrafts or bounced checks and no minimum account balance.

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