Metabank Prepaid Visa Errors When Loading to Bluebird/Serve at Walmart

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Walmart Load Issues Metabank
I finally found a new KATE, but the experience didn’t go as planned.

Walmart Load Issues Metabank

I have been hearing more and more reports of readers having problems buying money orders or loading cards like Bluebird/Serve at Walmart with cards issued by Metabank. These cards include Simon Mall gift cards, cards purchased from Staples online and many more.

The mysterious part of this is that the problems seem to be intermittent. Some cards will seemingly be rejected while others of the same type will work. I hadn’t run into this myself until today. After reading Julian’s article at Frequent Miler about how to find MoneyCenter Kiosks, I headed out to a new store and found to my surprise that it had one! I was excited, until I began to load my card.

Some Success & Some Failure

My first load actually went quite well. Then on the second load the debit card was rejected. I tried a different card and it was rejected too. Finally a third card of the same type ($300 Visas from Staples) was accepted. Then I did two more transactions with other cards and they went through fine. Finally, I hit a roadblock with all of my remaining cards getting rejected.

I walked into Walmart with eight gift cards and four worked while four others didn’t. The four remaining cards all came back with the same timeout error. I was running late so I didn’t have time to investigate further. With that said, almost everyone who has run into similar issues has eventually been able to use their cards.

Working Through Problem Cards

Here are some best practices if you run into this type of situation:

Change the pin – Some people have had success calling up and changing the PIN. For some reason this resets the card and makes it work.

Come back another time – Several people have told me that cards which are rejected seem to work at a later date.

Possible Funds on Hold – While this didn’t happen to me, sometimes a transaction errors out with a hold on the funds. It can take a few minutes or more for the funds to return, so you may have to wait.

What Is Causing This?

Well the issue I had seemed to be caused by a timeout. The POS was trying to contact the card issuer and wasn’t hearing back. While I don’t know exactly what causes this, here is the error code as shown on the receipt:

Walmart Load Issues Metabank

There have been enough recent reports of problems that it seems like Metabank may be actively trying to block these transactions or perhaps a system upgrade or change on one or both ends is causing communication problems. Thankfully it seems you can still eventually liquidate these cards even if you have problems.

What to Do?

I personally am not stockpiling large amounts of prepaid gift cards since I don’t want to be stuck liquidating them if some sort of hard change is implemented. With that said, I am not freaked out by these errors since it seems possible to work around them. The main reason for writing this is to give you a frame of reference if you run into a similar issue and also to allow you to share your experiences in the comments to help others.

Have you run into any of these errors lately? Was the error code the same as above or different? How did you solve the problem and liquidate the cards? Let us know and have a great Friday evening!


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37 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve run into this issue recently, but have had 100% success after changing the pin. How I miss the Vanilla Reload days.

  2. This happened to me yesterday. I went back to the mall to see if CS would give me a new card, but they wouldn’t. Out of the two cards I had, one worked and the other didn’t. So I ended up purchasing a $496 card with the the $500. I wish I had thought to change the PIN.

  3. I’ve run into this too. There is more than one issue.

    If there is too much of a lag time during the transaction, there will be an error message. To my surprise the WM clerk said, “just try it again – it didn’t go through ’cause we took too long.”

    There is also a second issue (unrelated) and that is the host time out. If this happens, you may want to come back later when the machine is working again.

  4. I have tested with regular bank debit and my us buxx , all works so it has to be metabank issue itself
    lets hope this error is for a good cause..like system wide refresh or something..

  5. Man, I could have used this about thirty minutes ago. Bought 5x$200 gift cards at Office Depot. Three worked and two didn’t. When the first one didn’t, I just ran it again immediately and it still didn’t work. When I walked back to the parking lot I checked and they showed a zero balance. I called Metabank and they said it went through so I called bluebird and worked with them for about 30 minutes then decided to check the balance again and the $200 was back on there. I then went back in (didn’t change pin) and they worked.

  6. Data point: These problems are also happening with Simon Mall Visa GCs on the Blackhawk network, so it’s not just Metabank cards. I encountered issues on Wednesday of this week while trying to purchase MOs at WM. So far, the problems continue…

  7. Had the same problem this afternoon with Simon Mall VGC…one card timed out so I tried another card and it processed flawlessly. Ran the “error” card through afterwards and it too worked. I got a couple of funny little receipts that said “Transaction Timed Out” but everything posted correctly.

    I always change the pin before attempting to load VGC at Kate.

  8. Bluebird/Serve… must be nice! Seems like since the points blogosphere is drying up on worthwhile tips since the death of Redbird, Bluebird, Serve, Etc. Not many relevant tips for a lot of us these days. The points/travel hobby is quickly turning into nearly a full time job to reap any worthwhile benefits for the everyday Joe. Not hating, just bumming!

  9. I am having trouble with 2 cards. One is blackhawk from SM and the other is USB from grocery. I will try changing the pin for a third time. The error I get is debit not available code 75 but the funds are there.

    • I had some grocery USB cards not work about a month ago and I had to call in. Somehow the pin had been blocked, (I think I used the wrong pun at first) and resetting it didn’t change anything without calling in to get card unblocked for debit usage. Then it worked perfectly (I bought MO).

      I also saw a post online from maybe a year or more ago of two folks with the same circumstance that didn’t believe they had misentered the pin but the guy that called in got his unblocked just like mine.

      Good luck.

      • Thanks! This is a great blog. The blackhawk worked and I will call about the usb. I am in Vegas where I can get mo. In MN I can’t buy them except maybe at post office. I tried finding a gas station here that would sell variables with no luck.

  10. So you mean to tell me that when those receipts come out, it does not mean that the BlueBird has been closed down?

  11. I had the exact same problem, probably at the relative same time as you did Shawn. Here is my guess. So many MSrs are trying to unload at relatively the same time we are getting denial of service messages. I went back later near 7:30 CT and they all worked fine. Another reason to always bring back-up cards.

  12. Shawn, problems were system wide, beyond Wal-mart I believe across the entire debit network on Thursday afternoon. I had some cards fail at a grocery store as well and had many favors fail (not just meta) at Walmart earlier in the afternoon. Many I tried again and they passed. Completed 25 loads in about 40 tries.

  13. I have had problems in the past too
    Customer service told me that more than 3 attempts ( or ‘swipes’) on the card will cause it to be ‘locked’.
    Just call and tell customer service that your card appears to be ‘locked’ and ask them to ‘unlock’ your card.
    I now always reset the pin when this happens.

  14. I am just trying to “wet my feet” into MS. I know its not the best time to do so, but can anyone point me towards and updated article on the “how to’s” of MSing. So many things are not working anymore therefore many of the articles are not valid now. I live in a very rural area so I don’t have access to many stores. I do have a walmart, CVS, Staples (45 mins. away) and a few grocery stores. But I would love to increase my points and break close to even doing so. THANKS!!

  15. I had this issue but due to the BB. Switch the BB, it worked with the same Simon GC. One of BB, I called AMEX since I did not receive email last month about account was closed. They told me my BB is OK but I tried again no luck.

  16. Buying MO at WM yesterday…2 x $500 SM worked great. Next MO was for $700 $500 SM card “timeout error”. $200 VGC loaded, $200 VGC loaded, then next $200 no go. $300 of a $500 GC also no go. Finally tried (several times) my ATM card from a Brick & Mortar bank. No go on this one either. Only choice that seemed viable was to go to WM ATM and W/D $300 cash to complete the transaction, as I was really worried all of those $200 would never show back up on the individual cards if we tried to cancel the transaction. ATM fees kill the deal, but sometimes, ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

  17. I had two $500 VISA GCs from Kroger that I couldn’t get rid of for a month. Tried multiple times at multiple Walmarts (no Kates here, always with a cashier, many of whom worked very hard to get them through). Also changed PINs. Even tried MO at WM–no go. In desperation, I asked my BoA if they could do a MO and they suggested they could just transfer funds to my checking acct. No fees involved. I used two other Kroger $100 VISA GCs for small everyday spending to get rid of them. But all of my problem cards have come from Kroger. No more Kroger for me. Such a shame as it was a good deal with AMEX 6% CB and gas points…

    • Immediately after the Serve shutdown, I tried a Kroger GC at the WM Money Center and it was shot down. However, the Kroger GC’s are still a valid way to MS under the right conditions.

  18. 2 $500 metabank GCs at Walmart went thru in Maryland w/o problems. I read this article so I changed the PIN while in the store.

  19. I’ve had problems recently as well, even after changing the PIN or coming back. Today I was able to use the problem cards and new cards without a single issue. We can hope it was just a temporary issue and is fixed.

  20. Tried to load 3X$200 Staples Visa GC last night at Kate at our rural WM, and no luck. I’ll change pins and report back! LOL

  21. I will admit up front…I AM AN IDIOT. In my rush to see if my 3X200 staples GC worked at the kiosk at WM I used the “activation codes” off the form I got with the cards. NOOB ERROR. Although not a real NOOB. I went out yesterday, and used the last 4 digits of the GC as the pin, and bingo, loaded them all up on my Bluebird. So at least I got that going for me.

    Now, if only i can buy these somehow up front and get more points than just the $1 per dollar on the cards i have, since I can’t buy GC via portals.

    Cheers!

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