Wal-Mart May Launch Own Credit Card

Retailer in talks; low rates, few fees could rattle lending industry
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2008 7:42 PM CST
In this Oct. 2 file photo, a shopper strolls past toys on display at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Rosemead, Calif.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Wal-Mart sees an opening in the consumer credit market and is trying to start up its own credit-card operation, BusinessWeek reports. The retail giant is in talks with a veteran financial services firm to launch a card with low interest rates and few fees. It's not clear how far along the talks are for such a so-called "clean card," but the move would shake up the US lending industry because of Wal-Mart's huge customer base.

One upshot  for the retailer—which is gradually increasing its presence in the financial services field by offering check-cashing, bank transfers, and the like—could be increased sales at its stores. But it would have to take into account that many of its lower-income customers could be credit risks. “If Wal-Mart can figure out who to extend credit to and not lose their shirt, that would be a home run,” one analyst said.