BALTIMORE - You wouldn't think of going to Costco for a mortgage, but more and more stores are offering them. A growing number of retailers -- including Costco, Walmart, Sam's club, and Home Depot are going beyond the basic store credit card - offering exclusive deals on a slew of financial services. Even home and auto insurance, depending on the store.
The Consumer Federation of America says nearly 10 million U.S. households are without bank accounts. Credit from conventional lenders are tight, so these type of retail services may offer a sense of comfort. They're targeting customers who are looking to complete transactions very quickly and at the point of sale.
The recommend shopping around, reading all terms and conditions carefully and compare premiums, interest rates, closing costs, and general fees. Also remember that retailers are partnering with financial institutions and insurance brokers to offer these deals. That means when it comes to things like mortgages and home equity loans, you will still be putting your house up as collateral.