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:
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!