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Sam’s Club offers free passes to military personnel, families

BY Alaric DeArment

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Sam’s Club is offering free shopping passes to members of the U.S. military in response to the government shutdown, which has also resulted in the shutdown of commissaries on military bases.

The club retailer said military personnel could obtain a pass for Sam’s Club locations near military bases by presenting a military identification or proof of past or present military service at Sam’s Club Member Services counters.

The retailer said it would continue to offer the passes to military personnel and their families until the government resumes domestic commissary operations, noting that they depend heavily on commissaries for low-priced home and business items.

 

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Walgreens to offer financial services, introduces Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday announced Balance Financial, a full suite of integrated financial services that will be launching in phases over the coming months, all built around its new Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard.

“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,” stated Jason Dubinsky, Walgreens VP 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.”

Balance Financial is currently offered to customers across 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.  

The Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard is an alternative to cash for the millions of customers without a traditional bank account or those who want alternatives to debit cards and checking accounts. The card can be reloaded at any of more than 8,100 Walgreens or Duane Reade stores. And the card features 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.

Balance Financial cardholders will have the ability cash checks across 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.

And cardholders will be able to earn Balance Rewards points just for using the Balance Financial card. By linking the card to a Balance Rewards account, users 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.  

A multichannel offering — including website, mobile app and in-store kiosks — will allow Balance Financial cardholders to check a balance, view transaction history or move funds from one card to another cardholder’s account.

“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,” Dubinsky said. “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.

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Dollar General opens store No. 11,000

BY Michael Johnsen

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Dollar General on Saturday opened its 11,000th store, further distinguishing the dollar-store operator as the retailer with the most stores in the United States, the company announced. 

"The opening of our 11,000th store is another exciting milestone for Dollar General," stated Rick Dreiling, Dollar General chairman and CEO. "I would like to thank our more than 100,000 employees for all they do every day to serve our customers as we continue to grow," he said. "We see a lot of exciting opportunities to expand our business, create new career opportunities for our employees and make a difference in our customers’ lives."

As part of the day’s community celebration, Dollar General presented $11,000 in donations to local schools and community organizations in support of literacy initiatives.

The new store is located in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Dollar General anticipates opening 650 new stores in 2013. The company plans to create 6,000 new jobs in 2013, and Dollar General’s continued growth has created nearly 30,000 new jobs since 2007.

 

 

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