Hidden and unexpected fees are causing people to leave mainstream banking for the retailer's alternative services.

Walmart's move into the financial services area could help many Americans by providing low-fee check-cashing and other functions that undercut the high, hidden fees charged by a number of mainstream banks. The world's largest retailer has added Money Centers to more than 1,000 of its stores across the country, where customers can cash work and government paychecks, pay bills, wire money overseas or load money onto a prepaid debit card.

At most of the Walmart stores without dedicated Money Centers, these financial services are available at the customer service desks or kiosks. The à la carte functions are appealing to a growing number of Americans who either don't have a bank account or are unhappy with their current bank. Daniel Eckert, the head of Walmart Financial Services, said to the New York Times:

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