(Metabank Cards Are Dead) Are There Big Issues With Money Orders At Walmart Stores?

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Issues With Money Orders At Walmart

Are There Big Issues With Money Orders At Walmart Stores?

I have been hearing rumors of a mythical Walmart system update for close to a year now. People would start claiming the jig was up, and Walmart money orders as a points earning option were dead. I brushed them off and said to myself, I will worry about it when something actually happens.  Well, over the last few weeks it appears that this is the case.  It appears there are some big issues with money orders at Walmart, at least where Visa gift cards are concerned.

Update 11/12/20: We have multiple reports from our MtM Diamond group and they are all over Flyertalk as well.  There is now a $49.99 swipe limit for Metabank gift cards at Walmart stores.  This is for money orders, serve loads, bill pay etc. If you don’t have another liquidation method then I would stop purchasing this gift cards in bulk.

What Is Going On?

I have heard it posted and discussed about in a few different places, that there was a system update at Walmart. And it is said that this system update effects using VGC for money orders.  This is similar to what happened at the USPS a few years back.

There have been reports for a few weeks now of Simon Mall gift cards and Metabank gift cards (from the office store deals) not working at certain Walmart locations. And even if they did work, people would have to swipe each card three or four times to get them to go through.  In the last few days, even that isn’t working at many locations.

Issues With Money Orders At Walmart

What Does This Mean?

If you have been routinely purchasing cards and Walmart is your only, or one of your only, methods of using them then I would pause on purchasing.  I would wait and see how this plays out over the next few weeks before digging too deep of a hole.  If you have other methods of using the cards then carry on.  It is always best to have more than one way out, more like four or five options really.  If it comes down to it you can use them for normal spend or for taxes etc.

I was kicking this around with our friends Derrick and Rick, from Travel-On-Points, and it appears that this may be specific to a few issuers.  It appears most of the issues are with Blackhawk and Metabank cards.  Cards issued by US Bank may still be okay.  If you have some data points either way on those brands please share them below.

Final Thoughts

This is not good news and it could be a big hit to people’s points earning portfolio.  If you have been having issues with money orders at Walmart then share your data points below.  Let us know who the gift card issuer was and if you were able to complete the purchase or not.  If you were able to, did it take multiple swipes or not?  The more info we have to work with the better.

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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108 COMMENTS

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108 COMMENTS

  1. 6 Staples VGCs swiped at 3 different WalMarts in central IL. One location had two work on first try but none of the others on multiples. I tried using one for a purchase and it was declined. Gonna liquidate these at a grocery nearby but this really limits my options going forward.

  2. Any new updates? To verify are the Simon VGC any different from Office supply/Grocery VGC? In Hawaii im able to load BB with my Office Depot GC but Simon cards at the $400 swipe not working at all.

  3. Folks, today I drove to 5 Walmarts in the Lansing area and just was able to load my bluebird 3x $200 with Metabank gift cards. I wasn’t able to load money orders either. Most of the stores declined my cards. I also have Sunrise Bank gift cards I these got denied too. Quite disappointed because I have $3K in gift cards to unload. At least I will have to pay taxes next year and that will take care of most of the cards. Still, I am not super happy about paying my taxes upfront.

  4. I’m so sad. I have no way now to meet minimum spend and/or category bonus spend requirements. And I was just about to be below 5/24 for a Chase card early next year.

  5. Just an FYI. I buy Simon Cards a few times a year maybe 3000.00 4 times a year. I have been able to go to a large supermarket chain and usually get a money order for 500.00 every couple of weeks when I food shop. Luckily for me I only had 1000.00 to liquidate. Well this was the first time ever they asked for not only my license but wanted to visibly see the card I was using. Thanks to all of you I was smart enough to put my debit card on top of the Simon cards. Once she looked and was satisfied I pulled out the Simon cards and swiped with lightening speed. I think she was confused that I swiped twice. I think something is up everywhere. I have been doing this since 2011 and this may be dying.

  6. I had been running snoothly with Meta VGCs at WM until Thursday. I tried Friday and yesterday and they still didn’t work. I haven’t tried more than two swipes, though.

  7. DP: It seems the Simon card swipes are capped at $400 from WM. Was able to liquidate some today by swiping the same card 3 consecutive times ($400,$400,$200).Any combination works as long as long as you stay =/<$400. Still 4 valid swipes allowed per transaction.

  8. Good – shut it all down and stick people that bought a bunch of money orders or gift cards.

    This scan wasn’t ever the intent of card companies and the sooner they shut it down the better. Get back to people earning points and miles through legitimate purchases for their personal (or business) expenses and end all the gaming!!!

    • AA Flyer – envy much? Ask yourself a simple Q: If this ends how is Blackhawk gone survive as no one will ever buy their cards. Plus how is Simon going to enjoy the float?

  9. DP: I just ran into this issue for the first time. I tried three different cards and all three of them got rejected automatically by the Walmart POS system. I don’t know for sure, but it seems logical to assume that it may be related to the issues described in this blog post.

  10. Just ran a few $K of Simon VGCs at WalMart. Two locations of 3 experienced a card declined that worked on a subsequent swipe. I can’t tell if it is a change since I’ve mostly been buying GCs elsewhere.

  11. I have been traveling past few month & racking up on $200 GC from Staples (no fee) & Office Depot (negative fees). My MO cashouts have been hit & miss while driving around ATL there is a dozen Walmarts and about 2/3 of them were kind and I had success, the others wont let me purchase. Over the years I traveled many states and never been charged tax to purchase a MO. Well by surprise I’m in SD and the state charges Tax on the MO purchase price ($.88 & $.98). Instead of my normal $799.12 (4 x $200 split) I had to do $799.06, drove 20 mins down the road a different WM charged $.98 + tax which was $798.96 to get that perfect $800 charge. Just was a shocker when as it’s the first state I ever found that WM charges + tax on MO’s purchase price.

  12. Unsure whey folks deal with MOs. I studied these posts here and elsewhere before putting funds into VGCs, decided that AMEX BlueBird was the way to step into this; bought VGS at 2 X $100 and 2 X $50 during grocery store 10X points cycle and no fee deals, set up BlueBird, liquidated by loading from VGCs onto Bluebird at WM, I only do 2 at a time out of abundance of caution but could easily do 4 or probably more and no hassle from clerk; no issues other than 1 of the cards required 2 swipes and another 3 swipes but I chalk that up to the machines, both were flimsy, they rock in their cradles, look like they’ve been used 1MM times, and it’s just tricky to do a flawless swipe. But back to my point, why MOs when loading onto BlueBird has to be faster at the counter, and once the money is in with AMEX, moving the funds via account transfer to regular bank is electronic and free, why deal with MO?

      • Thanks ABC, good to know. Interesting. I’m not a big player, just the $50s, $100s, and $200s offered now and then without fees. My hope is someone like me won’t get shut down. But then again, if my transactions are nothing but money in, money out, over time, maybe would draw attention, so I’ll mix it up. I’m finding that Manufactured Buying might be better anyway, no need to leave the desk, my first tries this week seem to be playing out well.

      • BigJ, fully understand, and great. To fully understand, what would be the advantage(s) of MO over BB, if BB works faster at the counter (swipe time equal but no need to print MO(s)), then BB works faster to transfer from BB to Bank (no need to deposit paper into a bank), while the time saved is small, seems like the attention drawn is less. But then again, newbee here, trying to navigate as I move forward.

          • BlueBird debit card account issued by AMEX.
            Their website and Walmart website explains connection and uses.

        • Bluebird has much lower limits – that is why people will use it as a part of their plan but it ends up being a small part with the lower limits. And accounts are usually shut down after a few months of loads.

          • Thank you, good to know; I’ll see how it plays out; I do not rush the process, a week or several might pass before I get around to moving GC loaded onto BlueBird funds to my regular checking; there is no rush given I’m playing smaller numbers and this isn’t my day job, and I pay CCs in full. Without any proof, just experience with AMEX CCs and no problems over my history, my expectation is that as long as I give them plenty of cash float time, nothing will flag. Theory only at this time, but parallel to all of the other issues that are reported, none of them have hit me, I suspect problems find problems.

  13. Did 8 money orders today with Simon VGCs.
    Six cards – first swipe.
    One card – second swipe.
    One card – SEVENTH swipe.

  14. Got a lot of $200 VGC’s to use since the OD sale last week. Had no problems at all using them so far, including this morning – no multiple swipes etc. WalMarts in rural areas FTW 🙂

  15. My local Walmart has been cracking down since few months ago. I use to liquidate $200 Visa GC from Staples and one day the cashier asked me to turn my card around before I swiped it and she said no gift cards. Omg I was never asked this before. Luckily another Walmart in a different city still works but they are cracking down. Now, I liquidate at My local Foodmaxx and thank god they still take it without problems…do up to $500 MO.

  16. Went to local Walmart swiped a $200 visa gift card for a money order and it was declined. First time this has happened. Do I need to just try other Walmart’s or is there some other way to turn the cards into cash or money order? Thanks for any help

    • I would try to swipe it multiple times next time. Seems like people are able to get it through on the 2nd or 3rd swipe often. Otherwise I would check your local grocery stores and see if those work.

    • From my experience you have to watch the cashier. When you say $200 split payment while I was in ATL 2 different cashiers wanted me to swipe then they punch in the $200 split which always declines the card. After kindly telling them to please enter the $200 split before I swipe then then start questioning what kind of card do I have etc.. Show me blah blah blah, cant use GC, name on card must match your ID, etc etc. So. To me with the cashiers punching in the split after your swipe is just their way to stop us from using GC.

  17. 2 Dining everywhere $200 visa gift cards plus 2 $200 visa gift cards used at Walmart this afternoon. From last weeks Office Depot promotion. All 4 went through on first swipe.

  18. No problems getting MOs with my meta or SM cards at my 2 stores. Was going to hit 2 different t stores on my way to get my monthly SM order, but may rethink how much I buy.

  19. I haven’t had any problems with my 2 stores (metabank and Simon cards) in the last 2 weeks. Got MOs at both of them today. Was going to hit up 2 other stores later this week on way to SM, but may hold off on my monthly purchase at SM now.

  20. I Charged over a million dollars in gift cards back in the day when my debit card earned points on pin transactions. When the program was eliminated and couldn’t get involved in the gift game as it was just small fish.

  21. Went to 2 Walmarts while on vacation last week, one in North Carolina, one in North Myrtle Beach, SC., and got two $800 MO’s. No issues either place, aside from convincing staff that “yes, these actually work”.
    Also deposited 2 X $200 VGC’s into Gobank account at same Walmarts, no issues. All VGC’s bought at Staples and are metabank.

  22. I bought 8 money orders (8 separate transactions) today. Six of them worked with one swipe, one worked on the third swipe, and one worked on the fifth swipe.

  23. So, I’ve had issues with some of the metabank cards having to be swiped a second time. Particularly the simon cards.

  24. Unfortunately my Walmart has been dead to me for several years because they refuse to accept any VGCs (or as they call them “gift cards”) and will only take bank-issued debit cards for MOs.

    • What’s crazy is the cards say on them, “Valid at any location that accepts Visa Debit Cards” Yet they don’t let you use them. I wonder if they are violating agreements they have with Visa by not allowing us to use our cards. Maybe an email to Visa’s Executive Support team is in order. Also I wonder what Money Gram has to say about this. How much business is Walmart turning away? Does Visa and MoneyGram even know they Walmart is refusing sales, how many money are these companies losing here?

      • Yeah, technically anywhere that accepts Visa debit has to accept any/all Visa debit cards, but as the two other commenters are alluding to, it is pretty certain that if someone ever did something like file a lawsuit, Wal mart’s response would be to ban all debit cards for MOs, same as Kroger did a few years ago.

        It is Wal mart’s decision, not Moneygram’s. Lots of places that are Moneygram issuers are cash only.

        • I was just kidding lol but it really depends what store you goto, at most Krogers by me I can use the SM GCs, they just ask to see it and I show it to them with my name on it, I have my drivers license over it so they only see the part with my name on it. I have one Kroger that has never asked to see my card. That is my goto spot.

      • I have 2 WM’s in town. One will do MO with the gift cards, the other will not. I always make a point to call them debit cards. I would not call anyone at WM about a site no doing the cards. The more complaints WM gets, the more likelihood they stop doing these debit cards.

  25. I have a problem now where I attempted to buy a $299 MO yesterday, they had me do the transaction at the customer service desk and the guy had to run over to the Money Center but he said he got there too late, he only had 30 seconds apparently and it timed out and we have to run the transaction again, and then we ran it for a third time. I was instantly refunded on each of the first two transactions. The third transaction was not refunded even though the store says it did not go through. The amount was charged on my card. I contacted a source at Blackhawk by email and she confirmed it was charged. I am going to have to dispute it, im lucky it is just $300. I won’t be using Walmart anymore.

    • Mark – My solution to $1k visas that don’t work for the full amount has been to ask the associate to type the amount instead of just pressing the total button. Has worked 99%. if this doesn’t work I apply the MC trick. If this fails as well I just do 2 swipes of $500 each…this one so far has never failed…

  26. I was able to get money orders from 8 different Walmart locations over the past 3 days. Some did have to run it twice, but most worked on the first try.

  27. this may sound strange… at certain MCs, one register didn’t work at all (every time) while a register next to it has no issue whatsoever, vgc nor mggc

        • fyi Mark, i did test a bank dc on the register that doesn’t work or accept any GCs, it works; any rate, to satisfy curiosity, will try again & see; if not, will ask the cashier to switch to 1 next to it, lol

      • Can you explain the $75 return on $1000?

        I’ll also add a DP.

        Bought $599.12 money order just now. 3 $200 MB cards.

        Processed without issue.

          • Oh okay thanks for explaining. In that case that guys an idiot. I’m getting $15 per $200 card plus $5.10 from the discount.

            Last week I did 20 purchase at least through office max. That’s 40k points worth $600 minimum plus $102 from the discount on GC plus the 2 percent cash back from Dosh which was $10 a day max so by my estimate that’s around $772 in profit.

            I guess that’s like $3 lol

        • Lots of Chase UR users here; for me, the value is in directly earning air and hotel miles, which in my personal experience by leveraging my use to get $0 cost air fares / rooms that otherwise would cost me tens of thousands for first class flying, hundreds for rooms in high cost cities. Adding to the direct value, there is the issue that if you don’t earn over the needed thresholds, the miles and points you have are worthless – having 59,000 miles when a business class seat is 60,000 renders the 59,000 of no value to me until I have an easy way to get that last 1000 and over the bar to use what I’ve invested in earning.

          • I completely agree with you on this. Getting outsized rewards is most important to me, not the 1.5 cent worth. This is a good time to build account volume in anticipation of future trips.

      • Curious, how do you get $75? Typical 2% would be $20 – $3.95 fee and .88 mo. leaving $15.17 profit. Other than signup bonuses how do you get $75?

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