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The End of Serve/Bluebird Reloads with Gift Cards?
Ben Turnbull is reporting via Twitter that a new Walmart memo has emerged regarding Serve and prepaid gift cards. According to the report, starting next month Walmart’s systems will be hardcoded against allowing loads to Serve (and presumably Bluebird) from prepaid gift cards.
— Ben Turnbull (@turnbullben) February 20, 2015
According to what Ben was told, only bank issued debit cards will work with their systems going forward. This could be a huge blow to many people’s manufactured spend strategies. (If this happens it reinforces my decision to switch to REDbird.)
Keep in mind this is still rumor at this point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Walmart makes a move like this. I have noticed a definite change in their behavior towards looking for gift cards in the past couple of months.
While some areas have been tougher than others regarding gift cards, Las Vegas has been pretty lax. In the past two months, employees have sought out gift cards and seem to be trained as to what to look for.
Kiosks Vs. Registers
For those who use the MoneyCenter Express kiosk, this may not be an issue. While it is possible that Walmart could block all prepaid cards by number like what happened with Vanilla branded cards, it is more likely that this hardcoding will be done within their POS system.
The kiosks seem to still use the old POS system along with old hardware. Now this may very well be a software issue on the backend, but if the new restriction is based on Walmart’s new POS system, then the kiosks may still work. (Or at least I am hoping so.)
At this point we don’t know much, but I felt this worthy of reporting since Ben is a knowledgable person and because I have noticed a distinct shift in the behavior of Walmart employees in recent months.
Hopefully this is nothing, but my guess, my gut instinct is that it will soon be a lot harder to load Bluebird/Serve at Walmart with prepaid gift cards. If you have heard similar reports or know anything about this memo, please let us know in the comments.
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