Latest With Loading Gift Cards at Walmart – Worrisome But Mixed Reports

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gift card load bluebird serve

Mixed Reports from Walmart

A few days ago I wrote about a possible Walmart memo marking the end of Bluebird/Serve loads with pin-enabled gift cards. At the time some people expressed concern while others took a more positive position. (There are a lot of good comments on that post.)

Here we are a few days later and I don’t have any definitive news for you. The one thing I can say is that I have heard more reports of issues in the past couple of days than in the past couple of years combined.

What People Have Reported

Here are some examples of what people have reported on my original post:

I tried to load a $500 VGC on my Serve account today with Kate. Everything went smoothly until I looked at the receipt – “DEBIT NOT APPROVED VENDOR DOWN”
Anybody know what this means? – Charles 2/25

Just got back from Wal*Mart ; tried to unload 1K onto a money order and no go…..tried another set of cards…same thing…”debit not available”…tried loading 1K onto BB with same cards…No Go. Even the guy was stumped. I hope this was just a fluke, but I think the end is near for Wally World and GC’s. – Value Traveler 2/24

Confirming. New Kates (the open ones) do not accept GC (tried three different versions/banks). PIN doesn`t go through (after Enter, it prompts to enter it again. And again. Without any error message. – Katrina 2/21

Charles, the first person quoted above had reported success on 2/21, so perhaps his store has changed over.  I have also seen a number of reports on both Twitter and the Travel Codex forum that are both good and bad.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that some people are being denied and some people are having success. As mentioned before, I have never seen this many reports of problems before which leads me to believe a change is coming. With that said, it may be awhile.

Please continue to report your experiences in the comments. If you don’t have a backup liquidation plan, I highly suggest not purchasing large amounts of gift cards until we learn more about what is happening.

53 COMMENTS

  1. All the Kates in the South Puget Sound area (Seattle to Tacoma) are not working. All the super center WMs will still sell MOs from VGCs.

  2. is this a Kate specific problem? Stopping by WM this weekend to make a couple loads, but no Kate’s within a reasonable distance so hope I have no issues.

  3. I could not load on 2/23/2014. Cashier demanded to see my debit cards and told they would not load gift debit cards. They only load cards with your name on it – the real debit cards.

  4. Two WMs near me have not been MS friendly for awhile now. The cashier demanding to see the debit cards has been happening to me for months now at these two WMs. However, there are other WMs near me that are very friendly.

  5. Have to think that this is rolling out in waves – WM is too big and has too many different versions of POS – but it certainly sounds as if the end is nigh. RIP

  6. Loaded both US Bank and Metabank yesterday and today at Kate in San Diego. $6,000 a few different times. No problem.

    On a sidenote another guy behind me and before me was simply trying to access his own banking account, non MS related and was surprised that it worked for me. For him, it said “Host Down” so just because Kate acts up doesn’t mean they are on to us.

    On a separate issue, what I do know is that the Vanilla Visa site and phone number have been down all day. Paid for a Vanilla at RA today. Said approved. Went to get a MO. Card was not recognized. Tried to check the balance for the last few hours. System down according to their site.

    • Can you let me know which walmart you went to with a kate that worked in san diego? i’ve tried all the walmarts in the san diego area and also in la mesa (this is the one that i’ve always had no issues with in the past), and none of the walmart registers have allowed for giftcard loads to bluebirds and the kates have never worked for me before either. 🙁

  7. I was denied a couple weeks ago trying to get rid of 3 $500 VGCs through kate, and denied again today both from kate and the cashier. The PIN goes through, the screen says “transaction approved”, but the receipt says the transaction was denied and I need to call the card issuer.

  8. Was unable to load any Simon Mall gift cards today at Walmart despite three attempts at local store. The clerk called the service desk as they were confused by this and the service desk said that the Walmart server must be down. Will try again tomorrow or attempt to use Kate (further distance)

  9. Have people with these loading ‘issues’ tried subsequently doing a (god forbid) real debit load of a few dollars to confirm the operation of the machine as a whole (not to say its not possible the processor is down for the metabank and not for your personal legit debit card) ? I’m all for more people dropping off this bandwagon but I think this is a bunch of hoopla about nothing thus far… we know how reliable these machines are in general after all…

  10. Hi,

    I tried in several bay area WM with Visa gift cards. No luck. One lady at the register told me that WM changed the policy and they only accept bank cards.

  11. tried loading earlier today at cashier – no go. Tried again tonight at cashier, still no go. Went to store 5 miles away to try loading with Kate. Kate was down. Decided to try loading at cashier at this new store. First $500.00 card loaded immediately. Second $500 card loaded only after second try (first was timed out). Third $500.00 loaded only after third try (first two attempts timed out). I wouldnt have tried that many times at the register, but the cashier on this occasion was the one that wanted to try again and again.

  12. Today when loading a Visa VGC to BB with a WMT cashier, I got the message “DEBIT NOT APPROVED VENDOR DOWN”, but tried again and it went through. I tried another Visa VGC and the same message kept coming back after a few tries. The cashier and manager told me to try back later. When I checked the BB acct later, I saw that both loads had gone through, despite the non-approval message.

    • regarding my previous post –

      Bad news – I just checked the BB acct again, and saw that the last $500 load was reversed . Checked the Visa card, and luckily the balance was credited back……guess I’m done for awhile

  13. Just tried 3 WM last night on 2/25/15, 2 gave me the Vendor Down message and the other walmart was fine and loaded $500 8 times at the register. All the Kates said Lane Closed also. This is in Northern California.

  14. I was able to load 4 VGCs at the register this morning, 2 Sunnies, 2 USBank and they went through in one swipe. There may have been software update yesterday but it looks like it’s now fixed. The sky hasn’t fallen (yet).

      • I have not been able to load Metabank giftcards to Bluebird for the last three days at Walmart. At the cash register they PIN is not accepted and at the machine it says invalid payment method. Hope it is temporary.

  15. Trying to unload gift cards here in OKC and tried the old style kate’s to get to where you enter the pin and it throws you in an endless loop. I’ve still been able to stand in line at the Money Center and have had no problem getting them to load my serve account.

    It seems like the VENDOR DOWN messages yesterday were something to do with AMEX Serve actually being down to WM. I tried in the afternoon and got that with 4 tries. I went back in the evening and had better luck after 2 tries.

  16. I loaded $1000 onto a BB on Tuesday. Today I tried using a kiosk and registers in two different Orlando WalMarts with no success. I need a redbird!

  17. My messages at the register were “Debit not available Appr Code 51”. Kate said “Debit not approved, Call authorizer”.

  18. Just went to Walmart today. No luck with Kate. Try with cashier, 1st one went through but the second did not and got timeout message not approve. He tried again and it went through. I went to a different cashier for 3rd one and same problem as 2nd one. The cashier told me may be you not enter pin fast enough it time out, tried again and it went through. Went home and saw money in. Came back again with 2 GC which had problem with Kate and went to money center and had problems after trying 2 times. Asking to buy MO, buy $1000 money and told her pay by 2 x $500 and 70c by cash, it went through. The lady told me they have problem load to BB yesterday.

  19. Successfully loaded BB at register on 2/25 at one WM and at register and with Kate today (2/28) at another WM in Cincinnati. Nothing unusual.

  20. I went back yesterday and loaded $1500 onto BBs. It must have been a temporary software update that was messing things up.

  21. Anyone know anything about the WMs on Long Island? Never been into one and want to know if anyone’s had trouble there before I get a new card with 15k/3 month minimum spend and start buying VGCs.

    • Why not just try it yourself? Before you’re obligated to a 15K purchase, just buy a $100 GC and load small amounts at the different WMs. I always trust my own experience more than just someone else’s situation.

      Hope this helps!

  22. Walmart by me has given the cashiers and customer service folk explicit instructions NOT to load GCs to Bluebird, but the kiosk still worked as of last week. I was able to load 2k no problem. Of course, the kiosk only works about half the time… but so far so good, just don’t have the backup plan of human assistance any more.

  23. Today, I tried to load a $500 gc purchased from Kroger. It failed several times at the register and the Kate. I came home and tried to load it to my account under the section where you load your bank debit. That worked for me a while back and I was able to unload one. I called the visa company–the card is fine. I called bluebird and they tried to enter it then she told me that they changed their policy and can only load a checking card debit, not a debit gift card. I don’t know if I believe this or not because it is still listed on their site. Anybody else having problems with Kroger gcs. I checked the balance and it is $500. Thanks!

    • Had trouble last night at one WM kiosk, then tried a different WM kiosk this morning and still was receiving the ‘card not accepted’ message. I did not re-try again and again as some have suggested. I was able to buy a MO at Kroger with these 2 GC’s … so at least there’s that.

  24. I think the machine is hard coded. When I tried to purchase MO in WM today, it gave error code “Debit not available Appr. Code = 51” RIP

  25. I was successful in loading one Kroger GC at the kiosk this morning…but it was weird. It spit out a little tiny receipt, then a longer one with a bunch of gobbledy-gook printed on it, none of which indicated that the load had ‘taken’. I did not try to load my 2nd one because I wanted to confirm that the first one went through. When i got back to work I had received the confirmation of the load email, so all is good.
    I guess that there are just going to be some glitches along the way…maybe just for a while, maybe forever.

  26. I tried yesterday (16th) at two different Wal-Marts, once at the register (no-go, register wouldn’t take), at customer service (kept getting receipts with error code 75) then with Kate (different Wal-Mart), same receipt, error code 75. It said something about Debit tender not accepted, try another debit. I tried 3 times. No-go. I now have some GCs. I’m trying to determine what I want to do with them. Boo.

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