(Update) What It’s Like at Walmart After December 19th

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Does Walmart Still Work

This is a guest post from a reader that would like to remain anonymous.

Does Walmart Still Work?  What It’s Like After December 19th

In recent weeks, many have shared a Walmart memo regarding changes in service which were to take effect on December 19th.   Many rumors and questions swirled – and there were no definitive answers.  Is the memo fake?  Is this the end as we know it?  Could this all be a big overreaction?  Does anyone really know anything?  We are past the memo date now, and many answers are still elusive.  Fortunately, we can each rely on our own experiences to inform future decision making.  Does Walmart still work?  For what it’s worth, here’s my experience today.

Update 4/3/21: Reader CJH has been able to to get a swipe over $99 to work for non meta cards. It could be very YMMV depending on the store but it is worth trying in your area.  Report back with your data points.

Update 1/16/21: It appears from multiple comments below and from some data points I have received from friends and readers that it is business as usual. There newer limits on the Metabank Visa cards are still in place but no one has mentioned the memo and most locations have never even heard of it.  As always, your experience will be YMMV depending on location and cashier but it doesn’t seem like much has changed.

Today’s Experience

I visited Walmart today to conduct some of my normal financial transactions.  The store was humming along as usual, not packed, but also not empty.  My line at Customer Service had a couple individuals in it, and I took my place in line as usual.  When it was my turn, I greeted a friendly representative who I had interacted with previously.  I completed 4 different transactions and was done in about 4 minutes.  The representative did not bring up the memo, nor did I have a need to bring it up myself.  This is only my first experience at Walmart since December 19th, but it was business as usual this time. Even though I did notice the memo posted on the wall in the back.

Does Walmart Still Work

What Does This Mean?

This one data point reflects that Walmart still works.  I’m not surprised – I didn’t think it wouldn’t.  Unfortunately, I cannot draw any absolute conclusions based on one experience.  Given this new reality we live in where the memo exists, things are hard to predict.  We can never be as confident as we were in pre-memo times.  Additionally, there have been recent issues with Metabank gift cards.  On the other end, though, no one should resort to scare tactics like “Walmart is dead.”  While it’s easier to live in a world with clear yes/no answers, we live more in the middle where outcomes can be inconsistent, unexpected, and store-specific.  We are subject to risk at certain times, but we can also benefit in others.

Going Forward

I plan to continue visiting Walmart and conducting similar transactions.  That said, I may not float as much as I previously did.  Everyone’s situation is different.  I’ll continue to pay attention to others’ data points, but I will clearly lean on my own the most.  Bottom line, I will stay informed, but will continue doing what works for me until it’s no longer possible.  I encourage you all to do the same!

Does Walmart Still Work? – Conclusion

We are all adapting to a new reality with Walmart.  Capabilities may be more limited, but they still exist.  Of course, reliable backup solutions are key and even more important for those who rely primarily on Walmart.  But there is no reason to give up on Walmart as a solution for your needs.  Not yet, at least.  How have your experiences been lately?

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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59 COMMENTS

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59 COMMENTS

  1. Today at WMT, I was able to load a $200 Metabank Visa GC with 1 swipe. Maybe it depends on the service center terminal technology. I was denied a $200 swipe last Wednesday.

  2. Five Back Visa GC will load to GoBank at Walmart money center. You do need to set a pin and limited to $99/swipe per my experience. My OD does not have the $200 denomination Visa GC therefore the experiment.

    • I have a ton of $200 VGC from office depot (last sale) I have been loading them in 3 x swipes 75, 75, 50. Last week sometime the cashier messed up did not enter my $75 swipe and the $200 card worked in a single swipe. It was not working before so I tried 2 more registers and again both times worked $200 single swipe. I wonder if the system was updated again?

        • Just wait for them to go on sale at Office depot, Staples, Safeway, Kroger etc.. MtM always announces the sales and I stock up. Where I live they fly off the shelf so you have to be quick.

      • I have been buying the Everywhere $200 variable VGCs from OfficeMax and they work at WMT for MOs for the full $200. These cards have not been changed by Meta. The regular variable $200 VGCs at OM I think have been changed by Meta to only work at the below $99 threshold at WMT for MOs. I only purchase the Everywhere VGCs because of the lower activation fee.

  3. A sidebar question – I regularly liquidate VGCs at WM into BB. My question is, I see Metabank MasterCard GCs on sale now and then with no activation fee. But rarely do I see anyone posting about liquidating MC-GCs. Is there an issue with them versus the Visa branded? Do they load just as well as VGCs do, ignoring the broader issue of swipe issues?

    • At Walmart there is a trick you need to do like hit cancel after the swipe or something like that. I have never really messed with them at Walmart but they work fine for me at other establishments.

  4. I took advantage of the Office Depot Visa GC sale. As of March 13, just finished loading Office Depot Metabank Visa GC at Walmart. Business as usual at $99/swipe. Time consuming process.
    I never do MO so do not have any comment.

  5. Monday, March 8, still BAU at the WMT. Still $99/swipe at the Money Center. Also did a GoBankload at the service center.

  6. As of January 17, still BAU at Walmart. I did 4 swipes of $99 with a money center clerk who I recognized. Then I did 2 swipes at the Service center. I never do MO at Walmart. All transaction were Metabank Visa GC purchased at Staples.

  7. Are there any datapoints for loading the Metabank VGC to GoBank (Green Dot) at WM Money Center? Thanks very much!

    • I load to my GoBank card using MetaBank VGC. $99 per swipe is the maximum amount that will process at WM Money Center. You can also load at the Service center desk.

  8. I went to my regular WM a couple of different times in the new year and asked the reps about a memo. These reps know what I do and all 3 have been working at WM for some time. All said they were unaware of any reason why I couldn’t get MO. So I ordered some from Simon and I’m working thru my first batch. I’ll make less, smaller orders so I’m not as stretched and will keep buying MO until I can’t.

  9. BAU at Wal-Mart in January. Maximum load is $99 per swipe. I stop after two swipes. Money center clerks seem unaware of the MS memo.

    • Same here. I do only BB loads. $100 swipe of a $100 MB VGC to BB resulted in bank code #05 denial; never tried it again. A $90 swipe of same $100 card goes through, so I assume $99 would too; requires PIN to put on BB. Also been swiping $50 MB VGCs at $50 no PIN message comes up; loads to BB without issue. Learning that since I have to visit 2X for $100 cards, might as well do all $50 swipes.

      • For me its been strange I also load my BB at WM but at the cashier Im able to load $100 single swipe. But when I load at the CS counter the single $100 will not work, so I must do 2 x swipes if $50. Maybe the CS counter jas more updated software? Who knows.

        I also noticed there is a VCG limit after I do 2 x $50 swipes anything more will not work on the VGC itself as it must have a cool down period. So I go in to WM armed with multiple VGC so im able to stop at multiple stations on the same WM trip.

  10. I haven’t gotten any MO at WM since the 18th. I finished my stash then, and have none on order. For the 1st time in probably 3 years, I have no MS happening, or about to happen, or waiting to happen. It’s an odd feeling. But a nice diversion for the holidays.

    Btw, the above poster talked about “intent.” Isn’t the intent of CC issuers to separate me from more of my money? That sounds like a scam to me.

  11. For me I know WM did receive the memo not to accept the GC’s so MOst are dead for now but im able to load BB in small swipes. With my Visa GC im only able to get $50 per swipe to work. With Mastercard im able to get my $200 cards to work.

  12. How do the $500 VGCs sold at Walmart work to buy MOs at the money center? The packaging son the VGCs ays these gift cards/debit cards are issued by Green Dot. Haven’t tried yet.

  13. Scammers that run gift cards through and use others MS strategies are close to criminal IMHO! They are clearly circumventing the intent, if not the rules, of credit card point and Mike programs. I hope the analytics software of all the card issuers can identify these transactions so they can be voided and the accounts closed.

    Don’t worry scammers – your time will come!!

    • Strikes me as way off-base to label manufactured spending “strategies” as scamming. If you’ve read my response to your prior posts on the subject, you know that MS has a wide range and degree of activity, none of it illegal, immoral, and for certain, not scamming. Intent is often as more a perception than a fact, so to say that the activities “circumvent the intent” is incorrect – either there is a rule broken, or there is not. Rest assured, all corporations full cover their intent using detailed rules, so if no rule, there is no intent to stop it.

      • DJG – The definition of immoral is nonconformance with accepted standards. You don’t need a hard and fast rule defined and posted on the wall somewhere to break to be immoral. We have all seen cases where manufactured spending makes the rules change – always in an attempt to eliminate it. Also, most people do not manufacture spend on cards. Therefore, manufactured spending goes against the clear intent and standard use of credit cards. So by definition, it is immoral and you’re just rationalizing it as acceptable behavior because you personally benefit. And I suspect you are fully aware of this.

        • @babblespeak – offering a partial definition is at the very least, immoral by your own take – not mine, but by your take, “accepted standards” of behavior would be to post a full and honest definition, which is not what you did, you thus were immoral when you posted a partial definition, rather than the full, “not conforming to accepted standards of morality.” Leaving off, standards “or morality,” sure changed and distorted your attempt at justification, and again, by your standards, an immoral act.

        • @babblespeak, your thought, “most people do not manufacture spend on cards,” actually disproves your point. ALL spending on cards with benefits is manufactured spending in its most elemental state. If it wasn’t, then folks would get generic no-benefit credit cards, or use their debit cards, or use cash or checks. By using a benefit-posting credit card, you are in fact making a MS decision – I want to use this card so that I receive X benefit. From there, MS increases, with the next stage being I’ll spend on card A for this expense and card B for that expense. As the stages progress, you’ll go to spending in advance to meet bonuses, then comes buying clubs, then I’d offer comes gift card buying without liquidation, then comes GC buying with liquidation. It’s all a spectrum of MS, thus, perhaps if you see it as immoral, put your cash and checks on the counter from now on, cut up those CCs, and you’ll be as moral as possible.

      • This is equivalent to people who use the abused term “tax loophole” to condemn people who are legally using tax laws to their advantage as if that is somehow cheating. What part of “legally” do they not understand? In the literal sense of “tax loophole”, who in their right mind DOESN’T take advantage of them? I’m betting @babblespeak doesn’t reprimand his tax accountant for manipulating tax laws in a way that will get him the highest possible refund as possible. That would be immoral afterall. lol

  14. Much appreciated article, data point, etc. I am small player, just small loads to BB to liquidate $300 traunches of Meta-VGCs ($50s & $100s) purchased no-fee during grocery store promotions, that I liquidate with single $50/$100 loads during each WM visit (lots of WMs in area, lots of convenient reasons to stop by). Would be great to have a bit more information about the dollar range you used with no issues, and assume you were buying MOs (my plans are to slowing ramp up skill set).

    • The reader was able to do $500 at a time with non Metabank cards. Some single swipes and some multiple.

    • The reader was able to do $500 at a time with non Metabank cards. Some single swipes and some multiple.

  15. I recently tried purchasing a money order at two different Walmarts, here in Austin, and both times I got a message that it was unable to process debit transaction. Both cards were Metabank giftcards purchased from Staples.

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