Wal-Mart has announced plans to open 1,000 MoneyCenters in the US by the end of 2008.

The move is designed to strengthen the retailer's financial services and will offer a number of banking services including bill payments and money transfers. A pre-paid payment card will also be launched, aimed at low-income customers.

“Many of our customers are paying too much, travelling too far and not being well served,” said Jane Thompson, president of Wal-Mart financial services. “We're offering them a safe place and a card to help them manage their money.”