Walmart $500 limits, bill pay, money orders, more…

Last Friday I published “Getting carded at Walmart“.  In that post I described Walmart’s apparent new policies regarding loading Bluebird cards, buying money orders, and paying bills.  In that post, I listed a number of ‘tidbits” I had gathered, and I asked for readers to chime in with their own recent experiences.  Here are the results:

$500 (and smaller) Bluebird loads are fine and do not require extra info.


You can load up to $1K to your Bluebird card without issue if you load $500 or less at a time, in separate transactions.


Bluebird (and GoBank) loads at automated Kiosks are not working at all even when the machines appear to be functioning.

FALSE.  Many people have encountered broken or flakey Kiosks, but many also reported recent success with using Kiosks.

Some Walmart stores are no longer allowing loads at regular checkout lanes, but instead require customers to go to the customer service desk.

Many people reported success loading at registers, so it is unclear why it is sometimes not allowed.  This may vary by store or by cashier.

Walmart Bill Pay transactions over $500 are also subjected to rigorous information demands.

Two people confirmed this, but one said he succeeded with a $2000 bill payment.  This may vary by store.

I have yet to hear any reports about Money Order purchases.  Anyone?

Most respondents said that they had no problem buying money orders, but there were a few reports of people “getting carded” when buying money orders.  This may vary by store.

Why we care

Purchasing Visa or MasterCard gift cards can often be a great way to earn points, miles, or cash back.  Often it is possible to buy $500 gift cards with only a $4.95 or $5.95 fee.  And, if you buy at a store where your credit card earns bonus points, you can make a nice profit depending upon how highly you value your credit card rewards.  The trick is figuring out how to use those gift cards once you’ve bought them.  One great way has been to use them at Walmart as debit cards (see Gift Card PINs).  At Walmart, debit cards (and, therefore, gift cards) can be used to load money to Bluebird / GoBank prepaid cards, to buy money orders, or to pay bills (including credit card bills).  All of these options make it possible to earn lots of credit card rewards for very little cost.

Another approach many take is to get a debit card that earns miles or cash back.  One example is the SunTrust Delta debit card that earns 1 mile per dollar.  Such a debit card can be used at Walmart in all of the ways discussed above (reload Bluebird card, buy money orders, pay bills) in order to earn debit card rewards.

For those who go to Walmart just to reload their Bluebird (or GoBank) card, the new rules shouldn’t be much trouble.  Simply limit your loads to $500 per transaction.  Complete multiple transactions if needed.  For those who pay bills or buy money orders, though, the new rules could be a big problem if enforced.

A simpler option

Instead of buying gift cards and unloading them at Walmart, I think it is much easier to buy Vanilla Reload cards, load to Bluebird, and then use Bluebird to pay bills (or transfer money to your bank account).  While reload cards aren’t without their own issues, I find it to be much simpler and more reliable than the alternatives.  Of course, you may not have easy access to stores that sell Vanilla Reload cards (and allow credit card purchases of them), so Walmart may be your best option anyway.

Vacation Notice

Greg (Frequent Miler) is currently on vacation. Posts have been scheduled for most days, but emails, comments, and Tweets may go unanswered for a while.

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  1. I agree it’s easier to buy VR, but the problem I think most people have is that they don’t have the best cards to take advantage of VR. I have about 5 more months of the Citi TY Pref 5x on drug stores, but after that expires, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. It’s probably not worth doing for only 1-2x, IMO. Using Ink at 7-11 for 2x gift cards then visiting WM? I’ll have to think about that one.

  2. Buy Money Order at Walmart

    Up to $3000 ($1000 x 3) in one day. However you can come back different time during the day. Up to 4 debit cards can be used per one transaction. Several Walmart requires you to write who you are payable to in front of them, even though they don’t care who you are paying to. That’s my Walmart experience

  3. RNP, If you are intentionally buying just under $3k in MOs each time to avoid filling out the required paperwork by the Feds I would use caution. I think the Govt would have a problem with that.

  4. Just attempted to load BB at MC Kiosk – everything seemed to be working fine until the “Finish and Pay” prompt when the machine requested security to complete the transaction. I went to the MC desk instead and loaded without an issue.

  5. WM BillPay info demands >$500

    First name: Fo
    Last name: Blogger
    Address: 111 Anystreet 11111

    Cashier didn’t blink

    • You can load BB online with Suntrust debit BUT only $100 per day with a maximum of $1000 a month (10x a month, only takes a few seconds on the BB iPhone/iPad app)

  6. Well the flakey kiosks shouldn’t be news to anyone. Heck, I’ve tried them in 2 dozen Walmart stores and had it work once! Still worth the UR points, IMO.

  7. How about loading BB with GC’s purchased for 5x using Ink? In your experience (or anyone else’s) – do the 5x gift cards bought at Staples or OD work for loading BB? I know it’s only in $200 increments but if they have a pin then you could do 2 x $200 loads per transaction and thus $800/day load for your trip to Wal Mart. Does that sound right?

  8. Stacey, you can load those $200 to BB at WM. The main problem is that the kiosk doesn’t work for me more than half the time, forcing me to load at a cashier, which is inconvenient at many levels. I can load 3-4 gift cards of $500 at cashiers, but not 8-10 cards of $200 each.

  9. One of the WMs near me absolutely refuses to load and debit card to BB unless your name is imprinted on the debit card. They say Amex tell them not to do it. I ask them to just try but they refuse. No problem buying MOs though.
    The other walmart near me has no issue w/ loading debits to BB and has never asked for ID.. however I’ve always loaded 500 or less at a time.

  10. Haven’t had a working Walmart kiosk for two months. I think it worked one month out of the last five. My other Walmart removed the kiosk so not much hope for going that route. I can still buy MO without trouble. Can only load BB at money center or customer service, not at cashiers. I don’t see them shutting down MO purchase but my guess is stores will all adopt the more stringent id verification. I don’t blame them if they have seen a big ramp up in money order sales over the last year. They need to protect themselves. I miss the kiosk.

  11. Does anyone have any experience loading multiple $100 or $200 Visa GC on the walmart kiosk during one transaction, instead of doing an entirely separate operation for each card? I’m hesitant to try it.

  12. OK, lunch excursion was a success buying MC. Issue was asking the cashier to load only $500 at a time. Nosey cashier at next register asked if I was using a gift or bank debit card so I had to dodge that but otherwise ok. I also was able to load at kiosk last week in 2 walmarts.

  13. What does “rigorous information” demands mean? Are still able to use 4 VGCs for a Bill Pay, for example?

    What is the downside for providing this information? I don’t quite understand. Thanks!

  14. @David – I’ve had no issues – same ol’ information req’d.

    Almost positive these “rigorous information” reports come from noobs who are using CSRs who don’t realize they ONLY need to fill out the highlighted screen items, and not all. If they do fill out the entire screen, you will indeed be req’d to give address etc. But gently remind them that only the highlighted boxes need to be filled out…

  15. @FM, the VRs are way easier, but when going for 30K spend on PRG gold, its nice to do it at a grocery store. If I could find a gas station to buy VRs in…

  16. Walmart seems to have pulled all the Visa and MC debit cards from their stores as well as AMEX gift cards. They say it is due to fraud. I have been buying the Visa debit card at Walmart and loading BB with it at Customer Service almost since BB was introduced. Now, we will have to wait and see if Walmart ever gets the Visa, MC and AMEX cards back in the store.

  17. FYI – Discovered last night that if you click the “Walmart MoneyCard” button on the kiosk instead of the “BlueBird” button, and then swipe your BlueBird card, you can still load GC at the kiosk. Enjoy.

  18. Charlie Victor Sierra is less than 1000 yards from my house and always has VR cards…….so it is a no brainer to max out two cards a month………..1.25 per $ ends up costing .632 cents per mile………

  19. Well.
    Today was the first time they gave me a hard time at target when I tried to use an amex gc to load my amex for target. They told me that you can not load a charge card with a GC. The first person I can of sweet talk into try and it worked but when I came back later to load the other the other person told me no. . I have one that I know will give me trouble, so I’ll have to keep coming back. Ahhh headache. Anyone have similar experience?

  20. I wanted to chime in and share what the extremely unfriendly Walmart employee told me about doing more than 1 transaction to bypass the whole $500 limit thingy. She said it was called something like stacking or shuffling and that it was illegal and that she wouldn’t do it!

  21. While loading $1,000 on my Bluebird at a Walmart in Northern Virginia today, the cashier entered my name, address and phone number in the system. The name and address he had to pull from my drivers license.

  22. Anyone have info on buying MO at places other than WalMart with a gift card? I know the Post Office doesn;t work, but what about other places? Walmart is kind of inconvenient for me to get to.


  23. Hey FM what happened to being the guy who wouldnt out gigs and post too many fine details about things that could get shut or changed— like wmt and gcs?
    It has been a generally understood silient rule of thumb that such matters should remain on the down low and stay off the front pages of blogs.
    You really could have and should have written with more cryptic bits on this in my opinion.
    I am kinda dissapointed :(

    • Sorry that you feel that way. I’m pretty sure that everything presented here has been fully outed already so I didn’t think that a post like this would have any negative repercussions.

  24. ahhh… one of the most common responses to my remark… “It’s already been outed so it’s ok” Well no it is not ok. When will it stop? It will not stop if writers THINK that since things are already outed or should be outed they can rehash it and re write it to get hits and also to further expose the gigs. This will die one day. I suspect most writers wont care. Why, even its death will be news to write about. But the users of said gig will suffer so there is no sharing for the common good going on here either. It’s just shameless garble and it’s going to hurt users. Let’s please not write about it again!

    • @marathon man – I’m just wondering, but how did you initially find out about this gig? Did you read about it somewhere or figure it out all on your own?

      • funny you should ask… I am about to write about that very thing!!
        I hate the outing of deals in public areas such as this one–it’s like the media.
        My years of experience (starting working in miles in like 1990, started earning heavily in 2001 and started MSing in the way we know of it now in 2003) reveals many instances where the fact things went main stream is exactly and only why they died. I aint sayin’ I am the end all be all of any of this, but I know what I am talking about!
        The ability to do some miles and points gigs require effort and knowledge that cannot just be acquired in some blog post that gets picked up by other blogs who then make money off the hits while our world crumbles.
        I learned of deals—and shared them too—over time, in small groups, discussions and vetting processes that took us time to work through but made it so quality vs quantity was the means through which it grew. This type of method swiftly reveals it but just as swiftly kills it all too.
        Why is it wrong to condense this type of thing into one or two blog posts like this? Well, for one reason, people make mistakes and it takes seasoned effort and ‘on the fly’ reactions to work with each instance of doing this, plus a THOROUGH understanding on how things could happen and probably will happen over time to anyone trying it. As well, to work this kind of deal, someone reading this that doesn’t have that experience WILL get hurt and that could hurt us all. Start with something like: The store enacts policies and rules and next thing you know you cannot do it anymore anyway. Why, I just had that happen to me today almost! I go into my local store to do transaction X and the clerk who has seen me a lot before says, “We had some gal in here doing that but she didn’t know how. My manager wanted to void her transaction and send her away but I was able to help her. She got lucky…” Yes she did! And so had I because now, had that manager voided or this clerk was not working, the actions of that gal might have made it harder for ME to do my transaction when I do know what I am doing!
        So where SHOULD “newbies” get this experience then? How about smaller email groups and PMs, discussions, becoming wise to the ways without exposing them, etc. Not these stupid posts that writers have some compelling reason to tell all about without thinking of the consequences. (actually they know too well that this will bring them readers, which brings them more Chase CC app hits, and thus, money. So they dont care that your miles deal is killed. They make a min of $7k a month writing about it even when they claimed they would not out certain gigs!)
        I have been doing this type gig for 10 years and so have MANY others, and I have had enough issues come my way that, if I were new to this, I could get SCREWED! There are so many variables that only can be shared in the “simmer” method. Things were WAY easier back then. WAY easier. Why do you think they got harder!?
        I am all for many people doing this stuff, but you gotta let it seep through, not spurt out like a burst pipe in your walls after a deep freeze! Instead of cheering on the next blogger who outs it, seek out and befriend those who actually DO it! Of course this very controversy we are having here and now IS more hits for the blogger. Oh well. I try to save things…

        • In my limited experience if you look up and find yourself in Walmart you are outing yourself into the dark side in the first place……..
          as for this blog and its’ descriptions of various strategies, I find the whole approach very refreshing…….I put in my travel folder a hell of a lot more of these than I delete…….but the ones I delete I certainly don’t come on to the comments and become the king of pomp and circumstance………foos faba…………..

        • If you everything neat and easy this game aint for you. It requires work and effort. If you cant do that, dont bother with the rest

    • I see what you’re saying MM, and I respect your opinion about it. I do try to walk the fine line between writing what I want to write and avoiding killing deals.
      Honestly, I usually pick what I want to write each day based on whatever is top of mind. What is keeping me awake or has me most excited? That’s what I want to write about. Then, I make a decision about whether to write about it and how to write about it. Sometimes I start writing and realize the deal-killing potential of a post and so I mothball it. Sometimes I obfuscate certain details. Sometimes I figure that a deal is about to die anyway, so why not write about it. And, sometimes, as with this post, I feel that my incremental add to things that have already been discussed won’t be enough to tip any scales.
      It doesn’t surprise me that some will disagree with my judgment of what is publishable and what is not. It would surprise me much more if we all agreed! However, I’m always open to listening to arguments and willing to adjust my thinking if/when I am swayed.

      • so do you think this is going to die? If so, then there ought to be some inner circle high council of elders to discuss such matters– a couple of Klingon representatives could be present for all we care.
        I think the more we talk of certain gigs, the more they WILL die. Why become one more nail in a coffin? I mean, think of it this way… there’s a trash bag on the side of the road. So someone else throws one there. So another person throws one there. Soon, everybody is doing it. Does that make it ok? When will they come and close the area or start taxing people for the new town dump?
        I just cant see how you arrived at the concept that it would be ok to out this gig at this level without thinking your post alone could actually do some damage. You were one of the most popular venues at the FTU last April. And I recall mentioning to you in private that Rite Aid sold MOs to debit. I had not said it was something to keep a secret nor might you have known to keep it one so I could not fault you, but you then told the whole room of this. Ok fine… like I said, we had not said it was a secret. BUT guess what: A couple months later: NO MORE MOs to DEBIT AT RITE AID! (at least not in any I have been to.) Hmmm strange, eh?
        Ya know longggg ago I messed up with a gig. Oh big time. Some repoter from WSJ contacted me and wanted to know about Alaska Airlines. I stupidly told em how you can use the debit card at the USPS. In those days–2003-4, you could do this. Well, a week after the article came out, which I had asked the reporter NOT to post my name in, but he did anyway because that’s what they do, you could no longer buy MOs with AS debit at the USPS and have the miles count. To this day no such miles debit card works there. So I found out a few things: Dont talk to the reporters. Don’t tell how something works in the news and don’t think it’s cool to be in the WSJ. Fortunately for me back then, it was a much smaller universe and other giant retailers became a mainstay. It’s lasted but I have a feeling things could change with this round of show me show me!
        Pickles was, when coins were going strong. he spoke to them, they published a spread and soon afterward, the Mint restricted it to $1k per CC. Remember that anyone? Well, we all rallied and got creative and started getting Amex GCs to get around that, but then some people talked to NPR and they made it out like miles people are scammers ripping off the govt, and the govt got embarrassed and ended the mint.
        I mean, I tend to believe that the whole time, the Mint folk were cool with it going on as it had been but once people started tooting their horns and touting greatness, they had to shut er down. I think many marketing offers let things go on to a point but dont want it shoved in their faces. So I think the more we write about it, the more we do exactly that. So one more nail in the coffin IS NOT OK!
        Your blog is heavily read. That is good for business and all the power to ya. I hope you succeed. But due to that FACT, it IS in a way LIKE the above media outlets when it comes to all things miles/MS, etc. Not only might new users come along and get messed up by getting into gigs they do not fully understand, but also, the deal makers themselves say, OMFG we MUST end this NOW! And they do! So man, can ya PLEASEEEE just refrain from some things? I mean… what does one have to do to convince all those with this certain mindset to just cool it! For the sake of all of us!

        • Just comical logic…….you run your mouth to a blogger or the press and then you are incredulous that they out you? If you don’t want your deal outed then stop trying to impress everyone that you have discovered the best deal………..

        • you miss my points completely. I am saying I have made my own mistakes and learned from them. I am saying that bloggers like this one are making mistakes now and have not yet learned from them. The deals get outed when they are read about in media fashion. I did not discover this deal but I have honed things within it, and those who do it a lot know to not publicize the steps. That mistake proves costly by the examples I gave above.

        • Have “bloggers” become such lowly despised creatures that we think that “of course” they’d out a technique? Clearly you think so. But there are some who don’t – although that affiliate income sure is a powerful incentive to whore yourself.

          FM is clearly struggling for content. Rehash after rehash. And affiliate income from those incredibly lucrative Ink cards have to be slowing dramatically since the economics of 5x with $200 gcs is worse than other methods.

          So he’s resorting to MMS tactics – soon it could be full fledged circles and arrows – and the lazy noobs who love being spoon fed will reward such crappy behavior by clicking on his affiliate links. And then becomes a vicious circle of appealing to the lazy/incompetent, and raking in $$$$. Next thing you’d see is him phone it in with 16,836 part trip reports like some bow tie idiot we all know.

  25. I have to agree with MM. Perfect example, I figured out on my own that HIGCs bought for 5X at OD could be used to load BB at WM last summer at $500 a pop (read 2500 UR points) – then enter some low-level points blogger to kill the deal a few months later just to impress her followers… I will continue to keep the good hacks to myself.

  26. I know that the topic has sort of changed from the original post, but i was wondering if anyone has had success buying money orders with Visa or MC gift cards from places other than Wal Mart.


  27. I tried to load MC prepaid cards onto a Bluebird card this morning at a Walmart in Massachusetts and the card was declined, both as a credit card and as a debit card. (I had set a PIN.) The person at the customer service desk who as handling it said that “the recently changed out system.”

    I have no idea what this means or if she was imply doing something wrong.

  28. I’ve had no issues with $500 and $1,000 money orders via VGC at Walmart MoneyCenter (done within the last month)

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