Reports of Issues Loading Bluebird/Serve at Walmart with Visas
Update: The vast majority of data points seem to indicate that these are isolated incidents. Read below in the comments to find out what others have been experiencing. Most people are reporting that they are not having issues.
Ever since most Visa gift cards became pin-enabled in 2013, loading them onto Bluebird or Serve at Walmart has been a great way to manufacture spend. Over the years we have seen several bumps in the road, with the most notable being when Vanilla Visas pretty much stopped working altogether at Walmart. Also, earlier this year a rumored memo supposedly stated that Walmart was looking to hardcode registers against taking these cards.
Over the past two days I have heard from several people who have shared their experiences with me of getting errors when trying to load Visa gift cards to Bluebird or Serve at Walmart. Enough people have chimed in that I felt a post was warranted. My goal here is not to scare anyone, but to gather data points so we can figure out what is going on.
Reports Rolling In
One of the first reports I heard was from a reader who was trying to load a $500 Visa purchased at Walmart to Bluebird along with a $200 Staples Visa. I believe the Walmart Visa is issued by Sunrise Bank and the Staples Visa by Metabank. Here is what he said:
Shawn, trying to use two different Kate [kiosk] machines today with two different cards.
One is a Visa from Walmart and the other is of course a silver Visa from Staples. Both denied declined and or host timeout processing.
See attached images of the receipts and the display on Kate.
Here are the images he sent over:
He wasn’t the only one who asked me what was going on. Here are a few other comments I received yesterday:
I think there is definitely something up. I went to load $200 at WM at a register, which worked just fine last month, and now it’s saying “Debit Not Available”. I’m hoping this isn’t the end because I have a crapload of cards to unload.
Hi, I bought few Visa cards (200$) ones and tried loading BB using ATM at walmart. All the cards were declined saying Alternate payment required. Is it the end of loading 200$ cards from staples? It started only after Aug-1. I did Simon mall cards (500$) and they worked.
I also found his comment over on Frequent Miler from yesterday:
As of August 3, WalMarts near Charlotte,NC no longer accept VGC’s at the register nor at the kiosk.
Your Data Points
These reports were enough to make me wonder if Walmart is rolling out some sort of change. I do know that the person who sent me over the photos is very experienced and knows what he is doing. To add my own data point, I successfully loaded US Bank Mastercards from Officemax yesterday, but will try to get out and do some Visas as soon as I can.
Please share your experiences here. When posting comments try to include your general area of the country, what type of cards (issuing bank), what type of error you received, etc. Perhaps we can sort of figure out what is working and what isn’t. Hopefully this is all a fluke, but the more data we can collect the better.