Walmart Moneycard poor choice for open-loop prepaid

I just came across this story on about the Walmart money card, which, by all appearances is a normal Visa prepaid gift/debit card.

The biggest problem with the card is its onerous activation scheme, which seems almost designed to prevent people from successfully activating the card, thus allowing Walmart to keep the money.

  1. You need to call to activate it, unlike other prepaids that are activated when purchased at the store.
  2. When you call to activate, you need the 14 digit activation code from the purchase receipt.  I can imagine that most of the time, people giving a gift card do NOT include the receipt.
  3. Activation requires that you give them all kinds of personal information, including your social security number.

Collection of personal information to identify the individual purchasing or using a card is something banks are required to do, so I can’t help but wonder if Walmart’s banking partnerships and in-store financial services are responsible for these activation requirements.

While I do like the idea of a post-purchase activation scheme, which could help reduce the rampant mail theft that occurs with gift cards sent through the US Postal Service mail, Walmart seems to have gone about it the wrong way.

Even without the activation requirements, these cards are a poor choice as they seem to be saddled with about every fee known to man.

The American Express gift card is probably a better choice.


One response to “Walmart Moneycard poor choice for open-loop prepaid”

Leave your response
  1. Jim N says:

    The card you’re talking about is not an ordinary gift card. It’s a “General Purpose Reloadable” card, issued by Greendot and sold at Walmart. Under the auspices of the Patriot Act, all GPR cards require registration and either a call-to-activate or an activation through the mail. Quite simply, a reloadable card is a money laundering threat, and therefore a threat to national security and efforts to identify/verify the owner of the card must be taken.