Complete guide to loading Bluebird or Serve at a Walmart MoneyCenter Express Kiosk

by Shawn Coomer – Senior Editor
load bluebird serve walmart kiosk

Note: On January 8, 2016 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend

Introduction

Most Walmarts around the country have an all-in-one ATM machine known as the MoneyCenter Express Kiosk. One of the things this machine allows for is the loading of Bluebird or Serve cards with debit cards. Here is how to do it.

Background

Most pin-enabled Visa & Mastercard gift cards (See: Beginner’s guide to buying & liquidating Visa & Mastercard gift cards) act as a debit card when used with the MoneyCenter Express kiosk. This allows them to be used to load both Bluebird and Serve. One important exclusion is Vanilla branded gift cards. These cards process as “credit” when trying to load Bluebird and Serve and thus do not work (except when loading less than $50 at a time).

How-To Load

load bluebird serve walmart kiosk

The home screen of the Walmart Money Center Express Kiosk. Notice the Walmart MoneyCard and Bluebird buttons towards the left side.

When approaching the kiosk, you will see a screen with a number of buttons as shown above. To load your Bluebird or Serve, simply choose either the Bluebird or the Walmart MoneyCard option.

Note: Both of these options work, however I have had occasional issues with the Bluebird button and thus always use the Walmart MoneyCard button. No matter which button you press the results should be the same.

load bluebird serve walmart kiosk

The second screen. Choose the “Reload” button.

After selecting one of the two options, you will be taken to a screen asking what you want to do. Select the “Reload” button. You will then follow a series of prompts asking you to swipe your Bluebird or Serve card and choose the amount of your reload. At this point it will process for a short while before eventually asking you to swipe your debit card and enter your pin.

When the transaction has been completed you will receive a receipt showing your old balance, the load amount and the new balance. Verify this information is correct to ensure the money was properly loaded from your gift card to the Bluebird or Serve card.

The entire process should take between 1 1/2 and 2 minutes to complete. You can find detailed instructions along with screenshots from every step of the process here.

Kiosk Limits

While you can load $2,500 per day & $5,000 per month to your Bluebird or Serve card, the kiosk has its own limits. In order to prevent fraud, the Walmart kiosk only allows 1,999.99 in loads per rolling 10 minute period. If you hit this limit, the machine will lock up and require a manager to override your transaction. (Some stores have set longer time limits, but most are 10 minutes.)

To avoid a lockup, load no more than $1999.99 per 10 minute period. (I generally leave a penny on my last card for example.) Once you have hit that limit, wait 10 to load again. Note that the 10 minute period is rolling and thus you don’t need to wait 10 minutes from your last load. It is just $1,999.99 in the last 10 minutes.

If you find yourself with a lot of gift cards to load, a good strategy is to load $1999.99 at the kiosk, then go to a register or two to do additional loads during the 10 minute waiting period. Once the 10 minutes has passed you should be able to load another $1999.99.

For more on the kiosk limit and how to avoid locking up the machine, see: Bet You Didn’t Know: How to NOT Break the Walmart MoneyCenter Express

Kiosk Issues

The Walmart MoneyCenter Express kiosks are notoriously unreliable. In some areas of the country it is nearly impossible to find a working kiosk. Even when they work, they can have small glitches such as requiring a 9 digit pin or a second 4 digit pin. (Your card only has one four digit pin, so when this happens you will be stuck.)

Fortunately both of those problems are rare & can normally be fixed by rebooting. While you can’t reset the machine yourself, simply flag down an employee and they should be able to help. They are used to the unreliability of the machines and generally won’t question why it should be reset.

Finally, the depending on the store, the speaker on these machines may be set a bit too loud. If you don’t want everyone in the store to know what you are doing, there is a way to shut it off. (See: How to silence the Walmart MoneyCenter Express.)

Conclusion

Loading Bluebird or Serve at a Walmart MoneyCenter Express kiosk is very easy once you get the hang of it. While it can provide a way to avoid long lines and over ambitious cashiers, there is a trade off since the machines are slower per transaction and have a few quirks.

Comments

  1. I’m new to the game. If my understanding is correct, this is how it works:

    1) Buy visa/mc debit gc at major retailers (anything but vanilla)
    2) Setup PIN with small amount purchase
    3) Reload debit card at walmart kiosk
    4) Profit

    Is this correct?

  2. Has anyone tried uploading to a Target Prepaid REDcard (i.e. “Redbird”) from the Walmart kiosk? I don’t expect this to work, but… who knows. Someone must have tried it by now…? Result?

  3. Couple quick questions, please:

    1) does anyone know if the guidelines are still current?

    2) If a kiosk is not working, can you just approach a cashier and
    have him/her load the bluebird for you?

    Thank you!

  4. I am new to m.s. and i have gift cards from walmart to download to bluebird. I am having trouble loading. I am following your procedure. Any additional information would be appreciated. I am located in S. Illinois. My Gift cards are visa purchased at Staples. I have called the vise card 1-800 number and sat a pen. Still can’t Download. Please Help.

  5. @Sherri, yes you can approach the cashier, at the wal-mart i went to today kiosk was down and i had no problem loading my bluebird with the cashier. You also can do it at customer service. I split mine up between the two as I had $200 vgc’s from staples and had a few to get rid of. Hope this helps

  6. Interesting, I used the kiosk for the first time this week and used the rapid reload button to load my Serve card. Worked just fine with the $200 visa cards from Staples as debit. Have you tried that button before? Had to load each one individually though. With the other buttons, is it possible to load more than one at a time?

  7. BIG changes coming to walmart and bluebird — went to 2 stores today both kiosks were out of commission. I asked the manager to fix it but she said they are down because the kiosks are being taken out of the stores entirely and replaced with something else – THAT WILL NOT TAKE PREPAID GIFT CARDS. She offered to load my Bluebird with the giftcards but would charge me a $3 fee for each card. That would be $18 for 6 of the $200 VisaGC. I wasn’t about to give up and did not feel like paying the feel sooooooo…

    I asked if there was anywhere else that had a kiosk that still worked and she sent me to a Wal-mart neighborhood grocery store. Success. I offloaded $1,000 and have one more $200 pre-paid gift card to unload -I bought 6 from Staples with their $20 rebate if you buy $300 in VIsa gift cards using my Chase Ink.

    I haven’t seen anything about this change coming to Walmart but it surely does shake me up a bit about how I can inexpensively MS. I pretty much do a little here and there to get the credit card offers and when Staples has their gift card rebate, so I am not sure what else I will be able to do if Bluebird goes away. We don’t have Redcard where I live and a worker at Target said he was completely unable to load a card using a credit card (shut down) or gift card using pin – which surprised me — that could be store specific or maybe a known new restriction. My area didn’t have Redcard and I don’t have one so I don’t know.

    So, I have only used Bluebird to buy gift cards and MS using the kiosk at wal mart or a cashier and never had a problem in the past or charged a fee. You can’t even get a money order off the debit gift card – IF they see it is a gift card — and they will not load your Bluebird card without paying a fee of $3 per card loaded.

    Is there an alternative way to MS if the Bluebird VisaGC loads no longer are taken or, with the fee, bring your cost per mile to more than a penny per mile?

    Is this something know that I missed or is this really a new development? .

  8. I had success with 2 Walmart VGC’s. Bought a U.S. Bank one at Kroger and have been denied twice loading it on to my Bluebird. The first time was truly my fault because I thought the PIN was the last 4 digits like the WVGC. Found the actual pin in the packaging and had to call VIsa to unlock and reset. Tried again and still didn’t work. I know GC is fine because I’ve been spending it other places.

    Can I get a tip to what I’m doing wrong? Would like to get it loaded to pay some bills and don’t want to wait until the AA DO for an answer.

    Thanks

  9. I have read comments on other sites that Walmart is blocking the use of gift cards through cash registers. Does this strategy still work?

  10. I’ve had mixed success with 3 Walmarts. Store #1 did it fine a couple times and then the 3rd I got pushback from the cashier. So I just loaded my Bluebird and went to Store #2 to buy a VGC for $500.

    Store #3 has been smooth sailing for buying VGC and loading BB at register. In and out. But it’s the most out of the way. So far I haven’t seen a WCE at any store.

    Back to Store #1 last night on way home from my volunteer job. About 9 p.m. When I got in store there were 2 registers open and families with carts full of stuff.

    I’m about 3rd from cashier when a cashier comes to next lane and tells person BEHIND me that she can come over there. Hey wait, what about taking the next in line??? Finally the family with 3 or 4 kids gets done and we move up one. Manager-type goes behind me and tells new person behind me that next lane is open again. I look over and her cart is full. Couple behind me ask why I don’t just use the self-check lanes. I tell them I’m loading Bluebird.

    I then hear a guy ask the couple behind me if he can get in front of them because he only has 1 item. He’s complaining about the woman who’s waiting outside in the car.

    Finally, my turn. Cashier didn’t know anything about how to load Bluebird and locked up cash register. He called over a manager who also couldn’t figure out how to unlock it. Called over another manager who unlocked it, tap, tap. 3 registers open and managers were busy so no one questioned what I was loading. I load 1 VGC onto BB. Then another. After that cashier I bought a VGC.

    The chatty guy behind me (he was way too close, right next to me while I’m at the register like we were together) starts his chat with the cashier all the while I was there. He was talking loud enough to include everyone in his conversation. He wanted to buy a bag of walnuts which he later changed to Cracker Jacks. We all got to find out his two black eyes were from hitting his head somewhere. The cashier said he was having a bad day (they were bonding). That was surprising because he (the cashier) had been chatting with all the others in line ahead of me and being quite friendly. He had gotten his head split open by a skateboard and had gotten staples. I think it was a fight about something on his arm (he showed it to guy behind me but the pin pad blocked my view). All this chat and the managers. Of course, the guy behind me moaned every time something went wrong with my transactions. At sometime he said “maybe I should go to another register”. I think I said it nicely. . .I suggested maybe he should. Then I asked why he just didn’t use the self-checkout. He said it didn’t take his card because there were no numbers on it. Food stamp card. When it’s time to load the VGC he’s right next to me. Cashier asks how much and I’m trying to get eye contact and tell him quietly $500. Oh, and that couple behind Chat-a-lot who let him in. . . they moved to the next register. He made sure to loudly tell them “Thanks a lot.”

    Today I searched online for a local store with WCE. Store #4 on my route to work. I’m going to give that one a try but on the way, not on the way home.

  11. I have a debit card that gets miles. Can I use the bluebird to pay things I currently don’t get miles on (rent, car) and load it with my debit card?

  12. Kate in both Walmart’s near me are not working for over a week now, submitted a request to Walmart – no response. Reading at other people’s comments I’m a bit worried now. I hope it’s just a local thing and not the end of another MS way 🙁

  13. First time at a working Wally Kate was successful with GC upload. Next trip to same Wally Kate, and I find it out of order. I find another working Wally Kate in my area and successfully upload GCs. Return to that Wally Kate, and it’s out of order. Tried a 3rd Wally Kate in my area with successful GC upload. Returned to that same Wally Kate, and it’s out of order. You see the pattern, they are catching on, and I’m afraid this type of MS will eventually be shut down. I did try to upload with a cashier, and cashier told me that I cannot upload Serve with GCs and that’s their policy.

  14. New to MS. I went to Walmart today to try to add funds to my Serve card. The Customer service agent tried to do it but even before asking for debit she said that only cash is allowed to add to card. I called Serve and sure enough the agent said the same thing.

    I checked out all the various blogs and FT but don’t see anywhere that says they stopped allowing debit card reloads at Walmart. Is this only for new Serve cards?

  15. Local WalMart in Riverdale, NJ, had a machine for over a year. But it kept breaking down.
    This last episode, it was non-functional for over 3 months. I wrote to the WalMart headquarters
    via their website and was pleasantly surprised when I received a call from them.

    They reported that the MoneyCenter machine was being removed from the store, and not being
    replaced due to misuse.

    I tried to use a giftcard/debit card at a cashier, and they refused. Only debit cards with my name on it will be accepted to load a Bluebird, etc.

    Has anyone else had such awful luck?

  16. I just made my first transfer from a debit MC to Serve at WM. We didn’t have a money center as you show above. It was more like an ATM. I did swipe my Serve card, but that didn’t allow me much more than balance info. So I went to the desk.

    I handed my serve and asked to load $200 – he tells me there is a fee and off we go. My question is this – when I went to swipe my MC debit card, the machine allowed me to “change payment type” – of course I changed to debit for this instance, but my question is – does it sound like our WM is really out of date and I could’ve just used a credit card to fund?

    Thanks!

  17. Is it possible to load cash into a bluebird card or any other card for that matter at Walmart either the check out, money center or the kiosk? Would be awesome if you could it would all but eliminate fees that I currently pay to transfer money using walart to Walmart, and other similar services.

  18. Can anyone please tell me were can see a list of walmart stores that carries the money center express kiosk ..or anyone knows of a store in northern nj that has it ..thanks in advance

  19. I have been successfully loading Simon GC to walmart. Today it was not successful. It goes through all the way and then while printing receipt it print authorization failed message.
    Did anyone noticed this?

    • I have noticed the same that in the last two days, the reload fails with SGC on Bluebird saying debit not authorized. I have tried a couple times now.
      Wonder if SGC no longer work!

      • This is my first time to lad my serve. I was trying to enter my 4-digit pin (last 4 digits of my SGC) but the kiosk seems to asking for about 8-digit numbers. What am I missing?

  20. Can someone please tell me if I can reload my bluebird at Walmart without d card with me like use my email or phone number to reload it? Anyone have experience like this before

  21. I tried buying/loading my bluebird card with my visa gift debit card and it wouldn’t go through and the cashier was telling me it was going through as credit or something? Anyway it was a major fail. There aren’t any kiosks near me either. Is this the end of this trick? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  22. I tried my first US Bank VGC today and was unable to unload it via BB- (I have no problems with Metabank or other cards). I called and had the pin reset on the US Bank card twice, to no avail. Any advice as to what to do, or do these VGCs not work with BB?

  23. I used to load SGC card to local walmart multiple times. suddenly it has stopped accepting those giving message tender not accepted. It goes all the way through entering the pin and then ask do u want cashback i press no then it again ask to enter pin and then the error tender not allowed comes up. Does anyone know what that mean?

    • Please tell me you’re joking Ben.

      In case you’re not: you acknowledge that the lost penny is a cost of playing the MS game. That penny saved you ten minutes of waiting. If you don’t like that, then load a card for a dollar less next time or find a new game.

  24. All four Walmart MoneyCenter Kiosks in my area are out of order for the past few weeks. I am beginning to think there might be something else besides the machines being out of order. Does anyone know anything? When I tried to load my Amex Serve account at the MoneyCenter counter, I was told due to fraud prevention measures, they can not load from a gift card. The one manager at my local Family Dollar has left the store, and his replacement is not willing to load a gift card either. I am out of options for the moment to load my Serve account.

  25. 3 Walmarts near me won’t allow to load bluebird with Visa gift cards. It started with 1 Walmart about 3 months ago saying they will only load $500 max using gift card. Then the second Walmart said about 1.5 months ago, you can no longer load with a gift card. Then yesterday the third Walmart also said, we no longer load blue bird with visa gift card, They ask to see the card “let me see the card you are using” and once seeing the card, “sorry we cannot load using gift cards”. I am not at all an MS person – I have more than enough business purchases to meet sign up bonuses – which I do carefully. I just test this once in a while and sometimes buy the $200 visa gift cards from Staples when they have say $15 off $300 visa. All the Walmarts (4 that I go) changed their policy to not allow bluebird load at cash register about 4 or 5 months ago. So you had to go to customer service to load bluebird and 3 of those always ask to see the debit card and say we cannot load this with gift card. So please be very careful when purchasing a lot of visa gift cards, unless you have a back up plan to unload the funds if loading to BB or serve fails. I think Kate still works if you can find a working one.

  26. Shawn,
    I am at a standstill with applying for credit cards as I think I have applied for almost all of them over 5 years. Do you ever offer private counseling where you look at a person’s current and closed credit cards and guide them for future applications.
    I am currently using Capital Venture mostly and the rewards are very low. We don’t own our own business, no debt and no mortgage.
    Have a Redbird but think I should cancel and start with KATE.
    I wonder if private counseling might be a way for well-informed bloggers like yourself as the game seems to be slowing down.
    Your blog is very informative and you maintain a high sense of integrity which is rare these days. Sorry I got so long winded!
    Thank you for your time and help.

  27. HI was just wondering I used this site when I learned about the redcard method a while back.
    got back into it to find out the hard way it doesn’t work anymore lol….
    was just wondering if with the bluebird / serve can I just go to the cashier or guest services?
    and load a $200 Vanilla that way? just curious cause using a kiosks that barley works for what I understood only $50 per reload seems a bit much… if someone could help me with a answer that would be great.

    • At Walmart you can only load Vanillas in denominations of less than $50 whether at the kiosk or at customer service. At some customer service desks they may check to see if it is a prepaid card and deny you.

  28. I just got the one vip serve. I typically use ov’s for ms but I’m a little confused with loading of serve. My local options are FD, RA, and WM for loads. Couple of questions…

    1. Can I use ov’s to load the vip serve at these locations? (I believe FD allows $500 per day)

    2. Do I need to use a different gc’s such as vanilla visa?

    3. If so, can I get vanilla visas at cv$ or do I need to go grocery store route?

    Thanks!

    • 1. You can use them anywhere but Walmart. At Walmart OVs only work in denominations of less than $50.

      2. All Vanilla products work the same for loading. As mentioned above, they don’t work well at Walmart.

      3. You can get Vaniillas at CVS or other places that sell them. Whichever is easiest. If you want to load at Walmart it is probably better not to get Vanillas but instead focus on other Visas from Metabank, U.S. Bank and Sunrise Bank.

  29. Can anyone tell me the WAl-Marts to use in Seattle area that have KIOSKS to manually LOAD SERVE card?

    I’ve been told many Wal_marts in Seattle area DO NOT have ATM or are NOT a ATM-KIOSK that can used to load..

    Would like a Wal-MART close to downtown Seattle.

    Thanks

  30. Where can you find these gift cards Metabank, U.S. Bank and Sunrise Bank. I know WalMart did carry the Sunrise, but after doing the transfer twice I notice all those gift cards and no longer available and the only ones I can seem to find anywhere are the Vanilla Ones

  31. I went to a FD today to load my Serve card, and encountered a 3.95 reload fee for $500.

    It was my first time, so I just paid it and went on my way. When I got home, I looked at my Family Dollar reciept, and the fee was labeled “Vanilla Reload $3.95 reload fee”. My prepaid card was not a Vanilla card…

    Also, I went to Wal-Mart on a trial run. My local wal-mart had a “Financial Services” window instead of the machine. When trying to reload my Serve card there as well, I also encountered a $3.XX fee. The represenative said she though the fee was new as of today.

    Any thoughts?

    • Yeah, I loaded today as a test and loaded a $100 Visa gift/debit card at a Wal-Mart using the machine. I encountered a $3.XX charge as well. I think it’s a new thing.

  32. is this WM moneypass loading still working for BB at WM to lead BB account with $500 VGC or MC giftcard’s?

    Kindly reconfirm

  33. hi
    does anyone know if you can still load visa gift cards at Walmart MoneyCenter Express kiosks to Bluebird ? please help

  34. My Bluebird is active. I need to change my information in several cattegores i have original setting.
    I have the permanent card with my name, number, pin ect. Can figer out how to update

      • You will need to call American Express to change the information if it won’t let you change it on their website when logged in. We are not affiliate with American Express.

  35. looks like this moderator is dead or reckless…..no manners to reply to our questions.

    WTF? close down your website…..

  36. I just got One VIP serve card. Can i load $500 VGC or MC GC to Serve at WM or CVS?

    1) Is there a fee per load? What is Monthly limit?

    2) Does Moneypass ATM loads still work for Serve, and is it fee free or not?

    DO REPLY AT THE EARLIEST.

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