Is Moneygram dropping the banhammer?

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Last year, Walmart instituted new requirements and restrictions on money order purchases (See: Walmart’s new Money Order limits: new speed limit enforced [likely nationwide]). Specifically, Walmart’s system is now hard-coded to require an ID entry if you purchase more than $1,000 in money orders in a single transaction and there is a hard limit of $8K in money order purchases per 24 hours (which is tracked by your ID). In the last few days, some Flyertalk members have reported being rejected by the payment system after entering their ID information despite not having exceeded the limits. Is Moneygram banning those who buy “too many” money orders, and if yes how many is too many? It’s too early to know for sure, but it’s worth being aware and considering your volume.

Image courtesy of ToolsAreHome

The reports

The first report I’ve seen of such a shutdown came from Flyertalk user Shawnee, who posted to say:

Anyone saw a message on CSR screen that says something like “Tell the customer politely that the money orders can not be processed. Do not discuss details”? after entering the DL?
Looks like I got shut down by MG.
Not sure if it is a permanent or if there is a way to get back in.
Buying MOs $2k to $8K per day , 3-5 times a week for the last 4-5 months at 4-6 different walmarts altogether giving my DL.

It’s worth noting that not all Walmart locations follow the same policy with regard to money order purchases: while some people will say that it is impossible to buy a money order at all with a gift card debit card in their area, it is easy to do in other areas. I often check out the local scene when I travel and the experience is certainly mixed (even between stores within a few miles of each other).

The above datapoint might indicate someone exceeding the purchase limit within a single day. However, that user followed up a few days later to say that both they and their significant other (same address) were unable to buy money orders in excess of $1K with their IDs even after waiting a few days and even at stores they had not previously visited (the system is rejecting them after entering ID information).

Furthermore, user downluda chimed in with this:

i got the same message today. i was only doing 2k a day, 3x a week for the past 1-2 months tops. no clue what triggered it, especially since my volume was relatively light. i never did more than 2k in a day.

Several other users have responded with the same experience.

Quick Analysis

One thing I find odd is that most of the reports come from people reporting fairly low volume (only the original poster reports purchase patterns in the neighborhood of the $8K/day limit, with most reporting $2K a couple of times a week). I would think that if this were a widespread effort to snuff out MSers / suspected money launderers, we would likely see more widespread shut down reports from people doing more consistent volume. In short, I think it’s too early to know what a ban looks like or exactly what might trigger it or if this is some kind of glitch.

That said, when Walmart began requiring an ID for money order purchases over $1K, I personally stopped exceeding that limit. That’s obviously cut my speed in half, but I was suspicious of the ID collection from the get-go, figuring that this would make it all too easy for Walmart / Moneygram to ban folks whose patterns they didn’t like.

Whether or not any of this is relevant to you will depend on your area and purchase habits, but I thought there were enough data points to make it worth a quick warning that it might be worth slowing down a bit if you’ve been entering ID at Walmart. Read more in this Flyertalk thread.

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