When you're choosing the best prepaid debit card, you're most likely looking for a card with reasonable fees, easy reloading options, and a great rewards program.
If you shop at Walmart often, the Walmart MoneyCard may seem like an enticing option because customers can earn cash-back rewards on all purchases made at Walmart—and those rewards might help you stretch your budget a little further.
Launched in 2007, the Walmart MoneyCard is issued by Green Dot Bank, a bank specializing in prepaid debit cards.
Prepaid debit cards have become a popular alternative to traditional debit cards and credit cards for a few reasons:
Prepaid debit cards don't require a credit check, so they're accessible even for customers with bad credit or no credit.
Budget-savvy customers may find it easier to stick to a monthly spending limit—when the prepaid amount runs out, the card can't be used until it's reloaded.
Unlike traditional debit cards, there are no overdraft fees.
For customers who are concerned about privacy issues or identity theft, prepaid debit cards aren't linked to your bank account or personal data.
Like all prepaid debit cards, the MoneyCard is useful for customers who worry about overdraft fees with a traditional debit card, or simply want to make it easier to stick to their monthly budget.
Is the Walmart MoneyCard right for you?
It's true that there are unique benefits and rewards associated with the card (read more about the "Vault" and "Prize Savings" below), but the Walmart MoneyCard has also been plagued by consumer complaints, mostly related to customer service.
Also, because the card is geared heavily toward frequent Walmart shoppers, if you shop at a wide variety of stores each month, you won't be able to take full advantage of the cash back rewards, which appear to be a bit lackluster to begin with.
Again, we look at all of this and more in the section, "Can the Walmart MoneyCard Vault and Prize Savings really help you save more money."
In the same way you hunt for the best bargains at stores like Walmart, get set to scope out if this Walmart MoneyCard packs the best bang for your buck.
The best features of the Walmart MoneyCard
Frequent Walmart shoppers will get the biggest benefits from the MoneyCard, thanks to cash-back rewards for Walmart purchases and easy in-store reloading and withdrawal options.
As a Walmart MoneyCard review at NerdWallet notes, “The Walmart MoneyCard prepaid debit card provides the most value to Wal-Mart customers."
The biggest advantages of the Walmart MoneyCard are
- Flexibility. Customers can choose between Visa and MasterCard when opening a new MoneyCard, and their Walmart MoneyCard is valid wherever Visa or MasterCard are accepted.
- Convenience. The Walmart MoneyCard can be easily reloaded in-store—which is especially convenient for customers who shop at Walmart often—or by using cash, check, direct deposit, or a mobile app.
- Easy transfers. The funds on your Walmart MoneyCard can be used to pay bills online or can be transferred to other cards issued by Green Dot Bank.
- Direct Deposit. If you use direct deposit, you may actually receive your money up to two days earlier than your paycheck would normally be issued, which is helpful in a pinch.
- Relatively low fees. The monthly access fee is relatively low, especially if it helps you avoid overdraft fees, which can be as high as $35 at many banks.
- Control. Because the cards have a prepaid spending limit, you won't have to worry about blowing your monthly budget or racking up overdraft fees.
- Accessibility. There's no credit check required to open a new Walmart MoneyCard, so even if you have a low income or a not-so-great credit history, you won't have any problem getting a card and enjoying the benefits.
- Rewards and Prizes. Customers can earn cash-back rewards for purchases made at Walmart, and a Prize Savings program gives customers the chance to win prizes when they set money aside using the Walmart MoneyCard Vault.
The biggest drawbacks of the Walmart MoneyCard
Walmart MoneyCard reviews are decidedly mixed, and a few common complaints from customers pop up repeatedly.
Here are a few areas where the Walmart MoneyCard falls short of its competitors.
- Waiving the monthly fee requires a hefty deposit of at least $1,000 per month.
- Monthly maintenance fees, reload fees, and ATM withdrawal fees can quickly chip away at your card balance. While this isn't unique to the Walmart MoneyCard, it's an especially big concern for customers who don't frequently shop at Walmart and are likely to use an ATM rather than a Walmart MoneyCenter (which doesn't charge a fee).
- The minimum reload amount is $20, which can be a stretch for customers who are on an extremely tight budget.
- When you return an item you purchased using your MoneyCard, it can take up to 10 days for the credited funds to be available in your account.
- If you return an item and have the funds credited to your Walmart MoneyCard, and you didn't make the original purchase on your Walmart MoneyCard, your card will be suspended until you can provide proof of the original purchase. This can cause a major inconvenience for a minor mistake.
- The cash-back rewards are lackluster. Customers only earn cash-back rewards on Walmart purchases, so unless you shop exclusively at Walmart, you're unlikely to rack up rewards quickly.
- Cash-back rewards are capped at $75.00 per year. The cash-back reward for purchases at Walmart.com is 3%—so if you spend more than $208.33 per month at Walmart.com, you'll max out your rewards for the year.
- Unless you're a loyal Walmart customer, the rewards don't really make up for the shortcomings. According to a Walmart MoneyCard review at NerdWallet.com, “This card is not the cheapest prepaid debit card for many services, especially for people who don't shop primarily at Wal-Mart. There are cards with lower or no monthly fees that have free ATM networks and free mobile check deposits, so shop around to compare costs and services across cards."
POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
- In Walmart MoneyCard reviews at the Consumer Affairs website, many customers said they had difficulty communicating with representatives or getting a helpful response when trying to resolve account problems.
- One customer reported being unable to reach a representative when her direct deposit failed to post on her card: “I have tried to call several times, and yet I can't reach anyone…so of course, no resolution. If my check isn't deposited, it can mean no diapers, no milk, etc."
- Customers frequently mention difficulty disputing incorrect or fraudulent charges. Some said their funds were stuck in limbo for several days while the dispute was investigated; others had their dispute denied without explanation, and the funds were never returned.
How does the Walmart MoneyCard stack up to a Green Dot card?
Green Dot Bank, the company that issues the Walmart MoneyCard, specializes in reloadable debit cards that can help customers avoid overdraft fees and stay on Walmart MoneyCard is geared specifically toward loyal Walmart shoppers who can benefit from the cash-back rewards program for purchases.
The purchases made at Walmart stores and Walmart.com.
Walmart MoneyCard customers earn 3% cash back one purchases at Walmart.com, 2% cash back at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations, and 1% back on purchases made at a Walmart store.
To qualify for cash back rewards, customers must pay a monthly fee (or have it waived by loading more than $1,000 onto the card that month) for 12 months.
Customers can earn up to $75 each year, but you won't receive your cash-back rewards until you've had the card for 12 months.
Unless you shop at Walmart often, it may be hard to rack up significant rewards.
Say you spend $100 at Walmart.com, $100 in a Walmart store, and $100 on gas (again, at Walmart) in a given month.
That adds up to $6 in cash back—$3 from the website, $2 from the gas station, and $1 from the in-store purchase.
But remember, your monthly maintenance fee is $5, so you've only gained $1—and that's assuming you don't incur any other fees that month.
It's also worth noting, however, that Green Dot Bank offers its own Cash Back Visa Debit Card, which gives customers 5% back on all purchases.
The Green Dot monthly fee is slightly higher at $7.95, but customers earn cash-back rewards anywhere they shop, so there are more opportunities to earn.
If you spend $100 in a Walmart store using the MoneyCard, you'll get $1 in cash-back rewards; spend the same amount on a Green Dot card, and you'll earn $5 back, which covers the difference in monthly fees (and then some).
If you spend that $100 somewhere other than Walmart, you'll $0 with the Walmart MoneyCard, but you'll still earn $5 with the Green Dot card.
How do you open a new Walmart MoneyCard?
(You can't use the card until you've loaded funds onto it, so make sure you open an account before making any big purchases if you want to earn cash-back rewards.)
When you register your new card online, you'll be asked to provide your name, address, phone number, date of birth, and Social Security number.
AsGetDebit explains, this reduces the chances for “anonymous" cards to be used in money laundering, and it's required by most prepaid debit cards.
You'll also be asked to create a 4-digit PIN for your protection.
If you purchase a new card at a Walmart store, you'll be able to register it online later.
Is it easy to add money to your Walmart MoneyCard?
One perk of the Walmart MoneyCard is convenient reloading options.
There are several different ways to add funds to a Walmart MoneyCard:
Walmart Rapid Reload allows customers to swipe their MoneyCard at a Walmart cash register and add cash to their card.
You can also reload your card using a Walmart MoneyCenter Express machine at your local store.
Payroll and government benefits checks can be cashed at Walmart stores and applied directly to your MoneyCard.
Download the Walmart MoneyCard mobile app and you can use the photo deposit feature to easily deposit checks directly to your MoneyCard.
Use Green Dot Bank's routing number to have your tax refund directly deposited to your Walmart MoneyCard.
Customers can reload their Walmart MoneyCard using an online bank transfer.
What you need to know about Walmart MoneyCard fees
Fees are the downside of using a prepaid debit card, and the Walmart MoneyCard is no exception.
When you open a new Walmart MoneyCard, there are a few fees you can expect to pay.
While the fees for a Walmart MoneyCard can add up, they're reasonable compared to many other prepaid debit cards.
As a Walmart MoneyCard review at CreditCardForum noted, “In defense of Walmart, most prepaid debit cards charge much higher fees."
Say you want to use the Walmart MoneyCard to limit your monthly spending to $300.
If you open a new MoneyCard and add $300 through the Rapid Reload service, you'll be assessed a $3.00 reload fee and a $5.00 monthly fee the first time you use your card.
That amounts to $8.00 total, or just under 3% of your budget.
If using the Walmart MoneyCard helps you avoid going over budget—and racking up overdraft fees on a traditional debit card or high-interest fees on a credit card—those fees can be worth it.
To make the most of your Walmart MoneyCard—and pay the fewest fees—take advantage of the free direct deposit option, and avoid using your card at ATMs.
- Purchase fee. You'll pay $1.00 to purchase a new Walmart MoneyCard.
- Monthly charge. A monthly maintenance fee of $5.00 is charged the first time you use your card, and every month thereafter. You can waive this fee any time you load more than $1,000 onto your Walmart MoneyCard in a given month.
- Reloading by check. There is no fee for reloading your MoneyCard using Walmart Check Cashing or direct deposit of your payroll or government benefits check.
- Reloading with cash. There is a $3.00 fee for reloading your card using the Rapid Reload service, and up to $4.95 in fees for reloading with cash through the Green Dot Network.
- Withdrawing your money. Customers pay no fee if they withdraw money at a Walmart MoneyCenter or customer service desk. When using an ATM, customers pay $2.50 per transaction to make a withdrawal and $0.50 per balance inquiry.
- Replacement cards. If your card is lost, stolen, or damaged, a fee of $3.00 will be charged to replace your card.
Will the Walmart MoneyCard keep my cash safe?
In general, prepaid debit cards offer more protection than carrying cash.
And unlike traditional debit cards, you don't have to worry about a thief overdrawing your account and stealing more money that you actually have.
There are a few additional ways the Walmart MoneyCard protects its customers:
Identity verification. To help prevent fraud and money laundering, you will need to provide your name, address, phone number, date of birth, and Social Security number when opening a new Walmart MoneyCard.
PIN numbers. Once your identity has been verified, you'll be able to create a personal identification number (PIN) that allows you to use the card for ATM withdrawals and protects against fraudulent purchases.
Lost or stolen cards. When you report your Walmart MoneyCard lost or stolen, your current card will be cancelled, and the remaining balance will be transferred to a new card. There is a $3.00 fee to replace your card.
Transaction disputes. If you think your Walmart MoneyCard has been incorrectly charged or used fraudulently, call customer service and file a dispute. Keep in mind it can take up to 10 days for them to look into the dispute. However, keep in mind the response can be painfully slow. It can take up to 10 days for them to look into the dispute, and many customers have complained that they never heard back from customer service after filing a dispute—and their funds were never recouped.
Can the Walmart MoneyCard Vault and Prize Savings really help you save more money?
A unique benefit of the Walmart MoneyCard is the Walmart MoneyCard Vault, a free feature that allows customers to set aside cash for an emergency fund or a future purchase.
Think of it like a sub account to your main account, or if you love folders, like a subfolder.
In the main folder is all the money you deposited on the card and in the subfolder, or "the Vault," is the money you've set aside for a rainy day.
Why would you want to save money in the Vault?
Well, the money stashed in your Vault cannot be used for purchases, which can prevent you from accidentally dipping into your savings.
And while the money in your Vault doesn't earn interest, it does make you eligible to win prizes through Walmart's Prize Savings program, a monthly sweepstakes that awards prizes to customers who use the Vault.
For every dollar you stash in your Walmart MoneyCard Vault, you'll receive one entry in the monthly drawing, and customers will occasionally be offered the opportunity to earn bonus entries.
If you win, a cash prize will be deposited directly onto your MoneyCard.
Customers can earn up to 500 entries per month. The prizes include:
- One $1,000 grand prize winner each month
- 499 additional cash prizes of $25 each month
But while the idea of winning a prize might make you more inspired to save money each month, the odds of winning are relatively low.
When Walmart announced the Prize Savings program in 2016, they noted that there are millions of MoneyCard holders.
Even with 500 prizes awarded each month, that makes your odds of winning even $25 pretty slim.
And the Vault may not be the most reliable way to stash your cash.
Several Walmart MoneyCard reviewers have complained about having their funds frozen after calling customer service to dispute a transaction.
When one reviewer at CreditKarma called to ask about an erroneous ATM inquiry fee, he says, “Immediately I was told that my card was canceled and that I would not have access to my money…for two weeks until the new card arrived."
This could pose a problem for customers who need to access their Vault in an emergency.
Another MoneyCard reviewer at ConsumerAffairs called customer service after noticing $900 in fraudulent charges on his card.
He immediately filed a dispute, but several weeks later, his funds still hadn't been returned.
It's unbelievable that this is the way they treat their customers.
They will leave you high and dry. That was $900 of my hard-earned money.
How does the Walmart MoneyCard app work?
If you have a busy schedule and can't always get to a Walmart store to reload your card, the Walmart MoneyCard app lets you manage your account from your phone.
Available for Android and Apple devices, the free mobile app lets you:
- Check your balance and transaction history from your phone.
- Find nearby Walmart stores that offer Rapid Reload and MoneyCenter machines.
- Track your progress toward having your monthly fee waived.
- View your cash-back reward balance.
- Deposit checks using the camera on your smartphone.
But while the mobile app is convenient, reviews are mixed:
- The Walmart MoneyCard app for Android earns mostly high ratings, with reviewers praising its “sweet and simple" layout and “helpful and user-friendly" features. However, many users complained about poor customer service at the call centers and difficulty using the mobile deposit feature.
- The reviews for the iOS version were more negative, with many users complaining they couldn't use the app at all.
‘I've downloaded and deleted the app three times so far and it still doesn't work,' one reviewer stated. ‘Completely useless,' another wrote.
Is it easy to cancel a Walmart MoneyCard?
Yes. The simplest way to cancel your Walmart MoneyCard is to use up the remaining balance, cut the card into pieces, and throw it away.
If you have a balance remaining on your Walmart MoneyCard, there are three ways to cancel it:
Call the customer service number and select the option to speak with a representative.
They can verify your identity and walk you through the process of closing your account.
Log on to the Walmart MoneyCard website and select the option to manage your account.
Choose the option to cancel your card, answer a few questions, and you're done.
Snail-mail a letter to Walmart MoneyCard requesting that your account be closed.
Be sure to include the account number in your letter.
Your remaining balance will be mailed as a check.
This can take several weeks, so if you need the money ASAP, consider withdrawing the remaining balance at a Walmart MoneyCenter before cancelling your account.
What are the most common complaints about the Walmart MoneyCard?
The biggest complaint about the Walmart MoneyCard is disappointing customer service.
An offsite call center handles most complaints, and customer complained of unfriendly and unhelpful customer service.
Several Walmart MoneyCard reviewers at CreditKarma mentioned that when they called the customer service center to address a problem, the representative cancelled their card, and their prepaid funds got stuck in limbo:
An ATM inquiry fee of 50 cents showed up and I called to find out what it was about since I never used the card at an ATM. Immediately I was told the card was cancelled and that I would not have access to my money (balance of $132) for two weeks until the new card arrived. Their customer service people in India are rude and not helpful at all. Now I will be forced to borrow money to buy food.
Is the Walmart MoneyCard available in your state?
The Walmart MoneyCard is accepted nationwide.
However, Rapid Reload and Walmart MoneyCenters are not available in all states or in all Walmart retail locations.
Customers should check the MoneyCard website to make sure there's a Rapid Reload location in their area.
The Walmart MoneyCard can also be reloaded at various retail locations that offer Green Dot reloading, although extra fees may apply.
- Can I get a Walmart MoneyCard if I have bad credit?
Yes. There's no credit check required to open a Walmart MoneyCard.
- How do I check my balance?
There are a few ways to check your balance:
-Log in to the Walmart MoneyCard website and check your balance online.
-Check your balance using the Walmart MoneyCard mobile app.
-Send a text message to 96411 with the command “BAL XXXX" (replace XXXX with the last four digits of your card number).
- How much cash back can I earn from the Walmart MoneyCard?
Customers earn 3% cash back at Walmart.com, 2% cash back at Walmart and Murphy USA fuel stations, and 1% back on purchases at Walmart stores. You can earn up to $75 cash back per year, and you have one year to redeem rewards before they expire.
- Does my Walmart MoneyCard ever expire?
No, but the monthly maintenance fee is assessed every month, and your cash back rewards expire one year after you receive them.
- How do I use the MoneyCard app?
Simply download the free app from the App Store or Google Play and sign up using your MoneyCard account. You'll be able to check your balance, view your transaction history, make mobile deposits, and find nearby Walmart stores and ATMs.
- How do I set up direct deposit? How long does it take?
On the Walmart MoneyCard website, enter your 16-digit card number and verify your phone number. You'll receive a text message with the routing number and account number you'll need to enroll in direct deposit through your employer. Once you set up direct deposit through your employer, it typically takes 1 to 2 pay periods before your paychecks start getting deposited to your card. If you need to cancel direct deposit at any time, contact your employer directly.
Bottom Line: Is the Walmart MoneyCard right for you?
There are a few perks of the Walmart MoneyCard—fees are relatively low compared to other prepaid debit cards, and some of those fees can be avoided by using services available in many Walmart retail locations.
If you shop at Walmart often, you'll earn cash-back rewards for your purchases there, and you'll be able to take advantage of in-store MoneyCenters to avoid ATM fees.
However, the rewards are limited.
As of now, you don't earn rewards for any purchases made outside of the Walmart brand.
The annual cap of $75 is a bit low—unless you load $1,000 or more onto your card each month, your rewards can quickly get eaten up by monthly fees.
And while the Prize Savings program is appealing, the odds of actually winning are slim.
If you do most of your shopping at Walmart, and you have the flexibility to deal with the occasional customer service snag, the low fees, and easy reloading make the Walmart MoneyCard a reasonable option.
But if you shop at a variety of stores each month, the rewards program will likely fall short for you.
And if having your funds tied up for days (or weeks!) in the event of a dispute would cause serious hardship, you may want to proceed with caution until those customer service issues get ironed out.