Wal-Mart’s Digital Money Card

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Tue, Jun 12 - 12:22 pm EDT | 11 years ago by
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This sums it up,

“…there is no supply chain, product chain or merchandise management issue there. It is just cash and digital cash. There’s money to be made in money.”* bbcamerican.blogspot.com

Wal-Mart’s Money Card, not available in XXXL.Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer. It is also the largest corporation and private employer in the United States. Everyone walking into a Wal-Mart store and every shopper that buys merchandise will now be offered the store chain’s new prepaid card solution. That translates into a LOT of new potential card holders and deposits. This card is not only being heavily marketed in stores but it is also available from the Internet.

“We got these new Wal-Mart MoneyCards at our store this weekend — and they’re insidious. They parked a huge display at the main door — immediately as you enter the store by Register 1 — and small displays in front of every Customer Service register.” * bbcamerican.blogspot.com

This Card is issued by GE Money Bank, pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A., Inc. Card services provided from Green Dot Corporation.

Recently declined for a banking license in the US, Wal-Mart is looking to expand their financial operations beyond no fee ATMs and check cashing. Prepaid cards are a perfect way to capture customer and non-customer deposits. Especially the ‘low end’ of the market, the immigrants…..the unbankable crowd, better known as the Wal-Mart shopper.

Back in early 2005, Wal-Mart was cornered with an application to open a so-called ‘industrial bank’ in of all places Utah. But after much uproar the application was withdrawn. Now, here they are hammering their daily customers for pay check deposits and ATM transactions.

Loading their card can be done in stores using cash or your paycheck. The card is basically identical to the other Green Dots products you may find hanging on a rack in just about any convenient store or grocery in the States. However, considering Wal-Mart’s retail marketing advantage…..their fees are pretty hefty. Paycheck loading will cost you $3.00 per load and cash loads are $4.64 each, but that’s not the half of it, visit the ATM with this card and the card fee is $1.95 per use. You might think Wal-Mart, the largest employer in America, could shrink their card fees down to a nominal amount unlike every other prepaid card thief issuer in the US.

With the offering and marketing of this card, there is no doubt that Wal-Mart is reaching out for customer’s non bank deposits.

“Also, and this is what customers find the most annoying – there is a prompt after cashing EVERY paycheck – “Would you like to load your check onto a Wal-Mart Moneycard?” That’s right – every cashed paycheck. Every time. All day I had to keep telling people “Do you want a MoneyCard? Then hit NO.” * bbcamerican.blogspot.com

There was a big movement 3-4 years back to get local Wal-Marts to happily accept the very Libertarian Silver Liberty Dollars but that faded after an extraordinary effort to penetrate the hard shell of the corporate giant. It is obvious now with the issuing of this card and Wal-Mart’s sneaky attempt at a US banking license the idea of providing value behind their word is already half way down that slippery slope.

Our blogger friends over at Behind The Counter say it best. ….if it looks like a bank, walks like a bank, and quacks like a bank, is it a bank? With the Wal-Mart, you never know.

(Note to readers, I don’t shop at Wal-Mart, not even the ones near by in Costa Rica and Mexico.)

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  • KEN

    I don’t understand the complaints. If you don’t want it, don’t buy it.
    I myself can think of a need I have for this item.
    I expect to pay for the service…and if I can’t afford it I won’t.
    People are using words like “thief” and “insidious”
    What is it to them if they don’t buy?
    Others will follow with the same idea and competition will bring down the price as it always does in a free market.

  • http://www.doughflow.com DoughFlow

    If Wal-Mart wanted this to be an even bigger success, they’d would drop Green Dot for a card issuer that allows 7995 gambling transactions — now that would be something.

    So what if Wal-Mart makes a few dollars on the ‘unbankables’? Has anyone seen what’s done at the payday loan companies? That’s like legal(?) loansharking. At least this is another option and Wal-Mart is good at putting downward pressure on suppliers’ prices.

  • http://digitalmoneyworld.com/ Mark

    During 2005–2006, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and several other commercial firms applied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for permission to acquire FDIC-insured industrial loan companies (ILCs). Those applications were opposed by business groups, labor unions, community activists, and members of Congress. In January 2007, the FDIC imposed a one-year moratorium on all acquisitions of ILCs by commercial firms and asked Congress to determine whether such acquisitions should be prohibited.

    As the FDIC noted, acquisitions of ILCs by commercial firms raise three important policy issues, which are addressed in this Article. First, commercial ownership of ILCs conflicts with the policy of separating banking and commerce, which has been generally followed in the United States since 1787 and has gained strength over time. Banks have frequently tried to engage in commercial activities, and commercial firms have often attempted to gain control of banks. However, federal and state legislators have repeatedly passed laws to separate banking and commerce whenever it appeared that either (i) the involvement of banks in commercial activities threatened their safety and soundness, or (ii) commercial firms were acquiring large numbers of banks. ILCs represent the last remaining exception to the policy of prohibiting commercial ownership of banks.

    Second, acquisitions of ILCs by commercial firms will produce serious risks for our nation’s financial system and economy. Commercially-owned ILCs will extend federal safety net subsidies to the commercial sector, and ILCs will have strong incentives to make loans and investments that benefit their commercial affiliates. Commercial ownership of ILCs therefore creates a competitive imbalance between commercial firms that own ILCs and those that do not. Commercially-owned ILCs are also vulnerable to contagious losses of confidence resulting from problems at their parent companies. Accordingly, federal regulators may feel compelled to arrange too big to fail bailouts of large troubled parent companies of ILCs.

    Third, the FDIC currently does not have authority to exercise consolidated supervision over commercial owners of ILCs. Any grant of such authority to the FDIC would have adverse consequences. The FDIC does not have the expertise or resources to identify and control the risks presented by commercial owners of ILCs. In addition, mandating FDIC supervision of commercial parent companies would significantly increase the federal government’s interference in the general economy. FDIC supervision of commercial owners could also impair market discipline by causing market participants to expect FDIC support for such owners during financial crises. For all these reasons, Congress should prohibit further acquisitions of ILCs by commercial firms.

  • Teri

    I don’t understand all the ins and out of this card thing, and I definitely won’t be getting one, as I don’t need it. What bothers me about your blog is how you refer to the Wal Mart customer as ‘low-end’, ‘immigrant’, and ‘unbankable’. Can you be a bigger snob? I mean really, who the hell do you think you are. I love Walmart, and shop there all the time. They have the lowest prices any where in town. Why should I pass that up. People that could once not afford a computer can now, thanks to Wal Mart. It is a place for those who don’t make $30,000 plus a year. Why do you and your snobby ass kind have to try and ruin that. I could afford to shop else where, and for some things I do. But, there are a lot of things that Wal Mart offers that just can’t be purchased for cheaper any where else. Since when is saving a buck a bad thing. I applaud Wal Mart. Like an earlier poster said, what about those payday loan places…now those guys are criminal. How about attacking them.

    Geez. The anti-Walmart legions just never stop.

  • https://loomster.net Mark Herpel

    Thank you for your comments, but I’m no snob :-)

    Walmart, is following other retailers who hope to tap into a large pool of consumers who deal mostly in cash, but want the convenience of plastic. Alfredo Padilla, a Wal-Mart spokesman, says, “We want to help the underserved — the people without a traditional banking relationship.”

    The Walmart Moneycard, a prepaid Visa card that allows customers to pay bills, sign up for direct deposit and shop online…eliminating some of the barriers non-bankers shy away from. According to a Federal Reserve study, while 22.6 percent of non-banking families reported that they didn’t like dealing with banks, the top reason for not having a bank account was that 27.9 percent simply don’t write enough checks. *digitaldebateblogs.typepad.com

    No ‘snobbery’ here you misunderstand so let me try to clarify. An estimated 12-20 million illegal immigrants in the US, these are unbankable because they have no SSN. Now 20 million? That is 6% of the entire US population, its a big group. We label them unbanked or unbankable. They also are immigrants, they also have little money. These are just facts its not all about me calling poor people ‘white trash’ or something similar. These immigrants, low end consumers and unbankable crowd…these are my people. I am one of the ‘poor’ people!

    However, being financially challenged, I can still recognize where Walmart’s cheap goods come from and where my money would be going to if I were spending it there.

    Who am I? I’m a guy that recognizes Walmart imports all their manufactured goods from China and they are cheap because they use sub-standard materials and manufacturing to make their stuff then pay slave wages undercutting everyone else selling retail goods. I choose not to shop at Walmart because of their business practices not because I’ll bump elbows with ‘low end’ shoppers. I’m a part of that group, I fit right in.

    As much profit at Walmart makes they should be giving these prepaid cards to shoppers and not charging them huge fees each month. Selling this plastic card, they are ripping off the very ‘low end’ consumer they advertise they help.

    In the US, the cost of a person’s integrity is very cheap these days because of outsourcing and imports.

    I’m the man who would rather do without, than buy Walmart’s Chinese substandard merchandise. Shop at Walmart and you are selling your soul and trading your integrity for a $1 discount on corn chips.

    Thank you for your comments and God Bless America.

  • Cynthia

    This still being America Mark, you can shop wherever you please. If you choose to “do without…” then good for you for standing up for your beliefs! I have shopped Wal-Mart stores for over 30 years. I used to refuse to buy clothing, shoes, and certain other items from Wal-Mart back in the days when they bought solely from American companies whenever possible. The products, (especially clothing and shoes) were always poorly made, the workmanship shoddy. They had to be thrown away within several months as they became unwearable. Before you bought these items you had to check carefully to assure seams were straight, garments were not puckered, there were no holes were the stitching had came loose. After Wal-Mart started imported clothing the quality improved immensely! Unfortunately, the American worker is lazy, spoiled, and takes no pride in a job well done. Unions have provided uneducated workers with undeserved high wages and benefit packages that no longer makes some American companies able to compete with their off shore brethren. If the quality of products produced here at home were to improve, I would still buy imported items rather than buy from an Unionized American Company. There is no gun to the heads of those who shop at Wal-Mart. Your remarks are very much like those Union supporting persons who spew venom at Wal-Mart at every possible turn. Let Wal-Mart unionize however and just watch the turn around…and watch the prices rise and watch the quality of product and services nose dive. So, please…save your elitist notions for your liberal, union loving friends. We don’t need your help nor patronizing good intentions. We poor “unbankables, etc.” wish you and your ilk well and a most pleasant day!
    Cynthia Davis St. Larnston

  • http://digitalmoneyworld.com Mark

    Ouch, Cynthia…my new online nemesis. Yes, shop till you drop in the US, I think that is how it goes.

    Thanks for your comments and it’s nice and interesting to hear your point of view from my throne of snobbery, looking down on all the unbankable village dwellers. [sarcasm]

    After studying this further, he is my new point of view. Walmart should offer this card cheaper to their customers, in fact I think they should give it away to them and lower their transaction fees.

    I’m shocked at how much they are charging, if they want to capture all that ‘unbankable’ business, they should offer them lower rates and fees. I don’t think they did that because this card is just a branded version of a Green Dot network card. These cards, reload packages and other prepaid items are available all over the US at Walgreens, CVS and other similar stores. Walmart just signed on as another branded issuer. That is why the fees are not lower.

    I believe if Walmart had some how issued their own card to capture all that walk in store traffic, an original Walmart card from their store chain or a Sam’s Club card, would reflect the low low price structure they offer.

    In fact, if they had done their own card platform and not farmed it out to Green Dot, they could have given these cards away. This is an important point to make regarding this ‘Card Issue’.

    Also, here is an exciting news item you may want to check out, I enjoyed it regarding Chinese made goods being manufactured for those US shoppers:

    “…a testament to China’s growing disillusionment with producing needless crap for fat-ass foreigners.”

    Also, I find it unusual that you can even attempt to compare uneducated union workers with Chinese slave labor,

    “…Unions have provided uneducated workers with undeserved high wages and benefit packages that no longer makes some American companies able to compete with their off shore brethren.”

    seeing as in China, slave wages are the norm. Don’t you watch Lou Dobbs on CNN?

    As always, its my pleasure to hear from you and I eagerly look forward to your next slanted, bias, cheap comment. I appreciate your input and it really makes my week ! :-)

  • L Smith

    I rarely shop at Walmart, yet I do want to clear something up.
    If you cash your paycheck at Walmart and buy a prepaid reloadable Green Dot card, they do not charge the normal $3 fee.

  • Deborah

    I have one of these Walmart money cards. The most frustrating thing about transactions, is the clerks not been trained the correct way to load the cash from your payroll check onto your card. The instructions for the card say, “If you cash your payroll check through Walmart and pay the check cashing fee ($3.00) you will not be charged the usual load fee of $9.64. I have three different Walmarts in my area and each one I go to, I have to tell them how to load the cash without charging me the $9.64 load fee.

    As far as Walmart not being approved for a bank, in Tennessee they have allowed Fort Sills National Bank out of Oklahoma to use space in their stores to open bank accounts. Looks like Walmart found a loophole in the bankling laws.

  • http://none tell it like it is

    What is up with everyone all up in arms about
    a store. Such paranoia is very interesting, not to mention prejustice. So all Walmart customers are low end. Hum, I find that interesting. What silly snobbery. Why dont all you pretentions self absorbed snoots get a life.

  • Carrie Harris

    Parents beware! Wal-Mart money card scam I did buy the card as a birthday gift for my 13 year old son.
    It comes with a temporary card a that says it can be personalized and reloaded after activation.
    When we tried to activate it on line it could not be finished and I had to call the call center. I was told it could not be activated because my son was not 18. They told me they could activate the temporary card but it could not be reloaded, or I could purchases a second card in my name and have an additional card in his name. I don’t need a prepaid visa and I am not going to pay an additional 8.94 for a second card. So what I originally paid 48.94 for was not, what was advertised. Wal-Mart money card advertises a prepaid rechargeable personalized card. No where on packaging does it say you must be 18 to activate and use the rechargeable personalized card. Paying 8.95 for the card is enough b.s. but then to be told it will not be personalized or rechargeable is crap. This is a scam all parents need to know about. I demanded a refund of the 8.94 purchase price for the card and the $40.00 I put on the card. The foreigner I was to speaking to said it would be in the mail with in 7 days. We will see Parents beware this is not a use anywhere gift card for your kids it is a rip off they try to get you to by more cards in order to be able to use the one the way it is advertised.
    Do not buy this card.

  • Nicholas

    This should be a big, fat class action lawsuit on behalf of every person who bought one of these. My Mom, thinking it was a gift card, bought 4 of them ($100) and none of us, NONE OF US, have been able to successfully activate it online or by phone. The activation process is a huge, USA Patriot Act clusterfuck that requires you to enter so much information, you might as well be filling out a mortgage application. And, worse, they somehow have to ability to verify this information and do ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO PREVENT activation. The process is hard for me, and I an director for an information services company. Imagine what this is like for the uneducated masses Walmart has snared. If not activated, the money goes right into Walmarts bank account. Imagine the millions of dollars people will lose because Walmart has basically made it impossible to activate the cards. I too, like a poster above, tried to call and activate it. I couldn’t even understand what the person was saying, the foreign accent was so bad.

  • kay

    Un bankable,poor wtf. This is bull. I shop at walmart.Im not poor im not unbankable.
    I pay cash for everything. I hate banks. I hate the fees i hate all their bullshit. I am enrolling in a universty to get an ass. of science degree and the classes start next week. I need a one time card to pay my startup. This card is perfect for that.

  • kay

    The writer of this story sure is a snob. if you did not mean it than why put it into words the way you did. There are other ways to get your point accross.
    As far as saying all ilegals shop at walmart. Well maybe they do. So what. I also find those comments racist.
    This country was built on immigrants. Thats a fact.
    I am white. But i also belive that most of the ilegals that come to this country in search of a better life do deserve a chance. Most i have known are good hard working people.
    You are putting down every single family that walks into a walmart store. Where i live,in the middle of nowhere mo, where the nearest store is 16 miles away. and that is only 12 thous people. That superwalmart is a huge time and money saver for everyone.

  • jose tena

    its bean a cople of moths ago that i got the templorari card and i haven reseved the original card what can i do?

  • Paige

    oops! …Wal-mart! They seriously screwedd me over. I had a bill to pay online bu midnight that night, and my bank account was overdrawn so I went to Walmart to cash a check and saw the prepaid care advertisements. They brought a woman from a register to the money center (obviously she knew nothing about anything) and she started blubbering on about how I could cash my check and load it onto one of the prepaid cards and it would not charge me the $8.94 or whatever to buy the card. But I told her my check was not enough money for my bill so I would need to add more to the card after I cashed it, which she said I could do. The idiot. I loaded my check, then handed her the rest of the money and she said “oh, but these aren’t reloadable. And oops! it did actually charge you the $8.94″. I was irate. I asked her if I could buy another card so that at least i could pay the bill with two cards; she told me sure. So I buy the other card and have enough between the two to pay my bill. When I get home and activate the first card, I start to activate the second and they tell me I will be refunded the amount of the second card within ten days because you can ONLY POSESS ONE CARD AT A TIME!!! Nevertheless, I want to go hunt this woman down and punch her in the face for screwing my shit up. I couldn’t pay my car insurance bill that night, and had a lapse in coverage thanks to that dumbass! She should be fired, and no one should ever fall into the bullshit trap that is the Wal-Mart Money Card!!!

  • okraider

    My 85 year old grandmother was wanting to get $20 visa gift cards for 3 of us for Christmas, but was sold these money cards. $90 for $60 worth of cash, plus all the fees and $5 penalty if you didn’t use it by Jan 16! Shame on you Wal-Mart. Your clerk should have clarified to the poor old woman and NEVER sold her 3 money cards. I’ve gotten 2 of them refunded after 4 hours of reaming. We’ll see if the refunds ever get delivered.

  • eric

    this is not a scam its easy to activate the card i have one and thay only ask for your name ssn b day and address to send the card i got my activated and i got my persinalied card

  • S Johnson

    how did you ever get anyone on the phone at all?

    I can not get a soul.

    What # did u call?

    I called my prepaid legal counsel.
    They will write a letter to them.
    Fat chance that will do any good.

  • S Johnson

    To all of you who have had no problem with this card:
    I recommend you attampt to call customer service.
    See if it is at an acceptable level like you would do your full banking at.

    Then think of the areas for corruption.

  • cheryl duckworth

    I bought a $50 walmart gift card and needed to change it to a money card. The upgrade is $3, why is my balance $37 ? I haven’t used it and having big problems trying to use it at Netflix, says zipcode is wrong and problems with using temp gift card. It won’t let Netflix use it

  • http://comcast aNN

    I have two cards, 1 w/ direct deposit. I was paid today, but they are holding it (system error- supposedly) for 2 more days. I’m so upset, will no longer be a customer after this. I called and got a person in the Phillipines, who could not understand english but also could not speak clearly. Any questions I asked, she replied by reading off a policy card which had 0 to do with what I was calling about. What a waste!!! I will find a local bank in the US near my home this time. I’m sick of the outsourcing to other countries!

    Walmart – Shame on You – look hom many American people you could have hired at the call centers instead of outsourcing it to the Phillipines!!!!!!!!

  • Meka

    Wal-mart money cards aren’t so horrible in the aspect that they don’t work. Or at least it worked for me. But you have a limit on the number of cards you can buy. If you buy more than 2, they will tell you your third account is closed, and they will send you a check for the “full refund”(Minus the money you paid for the card itself). My check took 2 months, but only got it that soon as I called every number I could find constantly. After finally getting my check, I tried to cash it. Ironically, Wal-Mart will not cash these checks. Nor will Kroger or pretty much any other place. I finally had to have my boyfriend deposit into his bank account.
    As for Wal-Mart, the quality is low. I agree with that. All the bakery stuff comes in frozen, even the dough for stuff they bake. But it’s priced cheap as well. Not many places can compare to the prices. And they will comp prices if you find something cheaper at another store. Plus, as much as people complain about stuff there, they give a lot of for free.
    This is America…you get what you pay for.

  • http://www.walmartmoneycardcom.net Big

    Walmart money card is the best prepaid credit card.

  • Lori

    Please do not buy this cards for gifts. Unless u read the microscopic print on the back on the card you will not know that u need an “activation” code. U have to call or go online to activate these. God forbid if you did not know this, your receipt gets thrown away, it’s not legible or u spill your diet coke on it. There is no way to talk to anyone at the “custonmer service” (yeah-right) number or register a complaint online…because…you guessed it…you haven’t activated your card. The store rolls their eyes and says call the number, they claim they can not pull a copy of the receipt. Basically…your money is gone, the recipient of your “gift” is embarrassed and walmart/GE Money Bank has devised a clever way to provide no recourse to you while stealing your money. Keep your info though…I have the transaction on my checkings account statement and will keep the useless card and other info. Please someone….class action suit? Better Business Bureau? I’m only out $38.00 but with Christmas coming up can you imagine the number of people who will buy these thinking they are gift cards? By the time the recipients get them and try to use them the Pre-Christmas Walmart receipt with the activation code is in the landfill.

  • susie

    i have had a few wmart moneycards and prepaid visas. i have not had that much trouble
    keep your receipt and turn the card on and load it up
    it is good for airline tickets and govt direct deposit and other stuff works on that card
    u can make online purchases just like using any visa
    i do not work for the
    why are ppl complaining about $3 load fees
    try to load up $100 at a time and it won’t seem like so much!
    i mean seriously, we all want real credit cards but these are suppose to be used to withdraw paychecks and make online purchases , not buy a milliion little purchases all day long and call up 24 hours per day
    it is not that bad a card
    go online to check your balance and other stuff
    or do it on the phone by yourself
    i have not noticed that it is that horrible or that much worse than other prepaid cards overall unless u are seriously counting up every single tiny dollar or dime

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