Walgreens Expands Customer Engagement With New Financial Services Initiative

Walgreens, which has been expanding its methods of engaging consumers through initiatives in core businesses such as health care, has announced Balance Financial, a full suite of integrated financial services. The program, which builds from the inauguration of a Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard, will provide the company with a new way to engage customers as it launches in phases over the coming months, the retailer reported.

The Balance Financial program has debuted in 250 Walgreens locations in Detroit, Milwaukee and Nashville, the retailer noted, adding that it plans a nationwide card rollout before yearend and financial services extensions in 2014. The program also includes a loyalty element that returns credit to Balance cardholders based on money spent.

Beside the obvious advantages of building revenues and store traffic, with simple cash downloading and free withdrawals at Walgreen and Duane Reade ATMs, the retailer will support its online initiatives with the Balance program. The company pointed out that multichannel offerings including a website, mobile app and in-store kiosks that will allow cardholders to check a balance, view transaction history or move funds from one card to another cardholder’s account.

“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,” Jason Dubinsky, Walgreens vp and treasurer, said in announcing the Balance initiative. “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.”