Last month Walmart announced that it is extending its reach into the alternative check-cashing industry. The retail giant's expansion of services means that you can now cash checks for rebates, pensions, retirement accounts, and student loans at any one of its stores.
Walmart's check-cashing service is a relatively low-cost way to turn checks into cash; $3.00 for checks up to $1,000 and $6.00 for checks up to $5,000. They also make it easy for students to load money from the checks directly onto a prepaid Walmart MoneyCard by waiving the reloading fee. They can then use the card to purchase items in the store.
College students are ready consumers, with many making independent financial decisions for the first time in their lives. The realities of student loans mean it is essential for college students to understand the details of their student loans and how their financial decisions will impact them post-college.
Student loans, intended to primarily cover the necessary expenses of higher education, can function as a kind of credit card, allowing students to finance large purchases to be "paid off later." And just like credit cards, student loans can quickly grow into a heavy debt load that has long-term implications – and not always positive – on one's financial future.
The average student loan debt for graduating seniors is about $24,000. Every purchase made with student loan money is a purchase to be paid off for several years to come. Student loan repayment terms can reasonably last between five and fifteen years, though they can also last longer depending on the debt incurred.
Before making an easy, seemingly inconsequential purchase using a student loan checks consider this: is this product worth paying off for the next five or ten years … with interest? By being thoughtful and intentional, students can make the right money decisions for their future.
“Reprinted with permission from Share Save Spend®.“