Wal-Mart is doing what none of its competitors can do to gain its share of the $106 billion in economic stimulus check rebates that Americans will be receiving over the next few weeks.
The world's biggest retailer Wal-Mart will:
1) Cash rebate checks free of charge.
2) Allow customers to redeem checks for Moneycards free of charge.
3) Cut prices on key food items including meat, pasta, frozen food, shampoo, juice and other consumables.
Why act like a bank?None of its competitors can. Sears/Kmart , Kroger and Supervalu require customers to spend their checks as gift cards in store. While those retailers are offering "free bonus money" to customers, Wal-Mart is negating that by flexing its pricing power as the world's biggest grocer and undercutting prices on basic food items.
Wal-Mart already cashes a million checks a week, so prepare for that number to grow. It's an interesting way for the store to expand its "mindshare" in financial services. And stay tuned for more cuts in the months to come.