DEERFIELD, Ill.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) today announced Balance™ Financial, a full suite of integrated financial services launching in phases over the coming months, all built around its new Balance™ Financial Prepaid MasterCard®.
“On top of the convenience and robust features, the ability to earn Balance Rewards points makes this service uniquely valuable to our customers.”
Balance Financial is currently offered to customers of more than 250 Walgreens locations in Detroit, Milwaukee and Nashville, with a nationwide card rollout expected before year end and additional financial services in 2014.
Balance Financial is powered by Galileo, an industry leader in advanced payment processing solutions. Balance Financial currently offers the following products and services:
- The Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard, a safe alternative to cash for the millions of customers without a traditional bank account or those who want alternatives to debit cards and checking accounts.
- Easy reloading of the Balance Financial card at any of more than 8,100 Walgreens or Duane Reade stores.
- No-fee ATM withdrawals for Balance Financial cardholders at most Walgreens or Duane Reade stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Check cashing for Balance Financial cardholders in the initial 250 Walgreens stores. Cardholders will be able to deposit payroll, tax refund and government benefit checks and can receive from a Walgreens cashier up to $100 in cash from their card account. Additional cash can be accessed without a fee at a Walgreens ATM.
- Free reloads with direct deposit. Enroll a Balance Financial account in direct deposit and cardholders can have their payroll, tax refund or government benefits checks deposited to their Balance Financial account.
- Earn Balance® Rewards points just for using the Balance Financial card. By linking the card to a Balance Rewards account, earn 10 points for every $1 spent at Walgreens or Duane Reade stores, 1,000 points for the first direct deposit and more points for in-store reloads and monthly direct deposits. Cardholders can enjoy all the other benefits of Balance Rewards membership, including dollars off future purchases.* For more about Balance Rewards visit www.walgreens.com/balance.
- Multichannel offering including website, mobile app and in-store kiosks that allow Balance Financial cardholders to check a balance, view transaction history or move funds from one card to another cardholder’s account. For more information about Balance Financial visit www.walgreens.com/balancefinancial.
- Pay bills online via the Balance Financial cardholder website.
- The Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard can be used everywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted to shop or pay bills – even online.
Additional services are planned for 2014, including Western Union Money Transfer® and expedited bill payment services.
“To be America’s first choice for health and daily living, Walgreens plans to offer the kinds of financial services that are a true necessity for today’s daily life,” said Jason Dubinsky, Walgreens vice president and treasurer. “Millions of Americans do not have -- or want alternatives to -- traditional checking accounts and debit cards. For them, Balance Financial will represent safety, convenience, value and rewards. With Balance Financial as our platform, over time we plan to add more features and functionality that give our customers even more powerful financial tools to get, stay and live well.”
One American household out of four -- 60 million adults -- is not served or is underserved by a bank or other financial institution. Rather than conduct transactions in cash, many seek a secure and convenient way to deposit paychecks, pay bills, move funds and shop.
“In bringing together leading financial services partners, we have developed an easier way for millions of customers to manage their money in-store, online or with a mobile device,” said Dubinsky. “On top of the convenience and robust features, the ability to earn Balance Rewards points makes this service uniquely valuable to our customers.”
Balance Financial is a collaboration of Walgreens, MasterCard, Galileo and FIS. In addition, Western Union services are expected to be available in 2014.
“MasterCard and Walgreens will combine our expertise and resources to better serve customers and deliver on business goals,” said MasterCard Group Executive of U.S. Market Development Craig Vosburg. “We are also long-standing champions of financial inclusion and welcome the opportunity to help millions of Walgreens customers enter the economic mainstream.”
“We are thrilled to have forged a strategic relationship with Walgreens,” said Clay Wilkes, CEO of Galileo. “The Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard shows Walgreens foresight and commitment to a valuable product for its customers, while demonstrating Galileo’s ability to support Walgreens by leveraging our unique platform, vast connectivity infrastructure, innovative solutions and focus on the end-consumer. Galileo will deliver a premium payments experience.”
“Western Union is proud to join forces with Walgreens and strengthen their suite of financial services with our global money transfer and U.S. bill payment capabilities because it means more choice and convenience for customers,” said Carter Hunt, senior vice president of commercial sales, Western Union.
As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2013 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to be the first choice in health and daily living for everyone in America, and beyond. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,123 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 750 locations throughout the country.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: Statements in this release that are not historical are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "expect," “likely,” "outlook," “forecast,” "would," "could," "should," “can,” “will,” "project," "intend," "plan," "goal,” “target,” “continue," "sustain," “synergy,” "on track," "believe," "seek," "estimate," "anticipate," "may," “possible,” "assume," and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, assumptions and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, each of which is incorporated herein by reference, and in other documents that we file or furnish with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated or anticipated by such forward-looking statements. Accordingly, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Except to the extent required by law, Walgreens does not undertake, and expressly disclaims, any duty or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement after the date of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.
*Due to state and federal laws, points cannot be earned or redeemed on some items, and points will not be earned in a transaction where Redemption Dollars are used. Points will not be awarded to anyone who is currently, or was at any time in the 6 months prior to purchasing Pharmacy Items, covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or any other government-funded healthcare program. Pharmacy Items must be purchased at participating Walgreens Drugstore, Rxpress, Duane Reade, USA Drug or Walgreens Pharmacy locations (“Participating Stores”) to earn points. Excludes Pharmacy Items purchased from AR, NJ or NY pharmacies and prescriptions transferred to a Participating Store located in AL, MS, OR or PR. At Participating Stores located in AR, NJ, and NY where points cannot be earned on Excluded Pharmacy Items, Balance Rewards Members will earn 10 points per $1 spent at those locations for every purchase of a non-prescription vitamin or cough, cold, pain or sleep medication. Limit 20 points per mile, 1000 points per month. Limit 20 points per log, one log per day. For terms and conditions, visit Walgreens.com/Balance.