An estimated 7.7% of U.S. households are unbanked (do not have a checking or savings account) and 17.9% are considered underbanked (have checking or savings but rely on alternative financial services) according to the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. (LINK FDIC survey) For certain racial and ethnic minorities this percentage is significantly higher:
While there are many challenges for major banks to gain traction in the Hispanic Market, it is very interesting how one major retailer is offering a solution that allows shoppers to purchase online without a major credit card. Other than feeding dollar bills directly into your computer this may seem like an impossible solution; however, as cited in a recent CNBC article, “Wal-Mart to Offer Cash Option for Online Purchases“, there may be a work around.
The Solution: Shoppers on Walmart.com can add their selection to the shopping cart and select “Pay with Cash.” Then within 48 hours the customer must bring an email receipt to a Wal-Mart store within 48 hours. At that point the customer can choose to receive their items for pick up at the store or shipped to their preferred address.
According to a recent customer poll by Wal-Mart, more than two thirds of their customers identify as “unbanked” or “underbanked.” So with Wal-Mart’s key customer base being a low-income consumer with little access to credit cards, they could just assume that they are also a segment that does not shop online or have internet access. Wal-Mart does their homework and realizes that 63% of the underbanked population has access to broadband internet and therefore should not be overlooked.
While this may not be as convenient for those of us used to making an online purchase with a credit card, this is a unique work around by a major retailer to boost their online business while opening up options for their clientele.
FDIC Survey: http://www.fdic.gov/householdsurvey/
This post is also available in: Spanish