Meet the Walmart MoneyCenter Express Replacement
One of the most popular methods of liquidating Visa & Mastercard gift cards is to load them to Bluebird or Serve at Walmart. While this is possible in most cases at a register, many people find it much easier to use Walmart’s MoneyCenter Express Kiosk or KATE (seen above) since cashiers often want to see ID or won’t allow loads from prepaid cards.
Kiosk Replaced with an ATM
A couple of weeks ago I received word from a local reader in Las Vegas that one of the most stable kiosks in the city had been replaced by an ATM. I quickly headed out and checked a few other stores, however at that time only the one had been affected. Fast forward a few weeks and I have now run into the new ATM kiosk at my local store. The news isn’t good.
The new kiosk is about half of the size of KATE and for the time being is solely an ATM. As you can see from the screenshots below, Walmart is touting this an their “New ATM Experience” and saying it will have more features such as bill pay and money transfers added later. Of course card reloads are not mentioned as a future function of this machine, which isn’t a surprise.
The new kiosk has three home screens that each display for about 10 seconds before cycling to the next. Here are shots of all three. I apologize in advance for the poor quality, however the store was busy and I was trying not to draw too much attention for taking the photos.
Is This a Fluke or the Future?
I sincerely believe this is the machine that many of you will see rolled out to your local Walmart eventually. As you can see, this isn’t some off the shelf ATM that they stuck in this Walmart, but is a machine running custom designed software. While I have high hopes that card reloads will be added as a software update, I sincerely doubt it.
The first clue that this machine was designed differently comes from the hardware. The POS pinpad has been removed in favor of a more traditional ATM pinpad. Also, there is a card slot now instead of a place to simply swipe the card. I am sure the new hardware could probably support reloads, however it doesn’t seem designed for it.
Why Replace KATE?
It is no secret that Walmart does not like people loading Bluebird/Serve with prepaid debit gift cards. That is probably one of the main reasons why they are not adding that functionality to the new machines. With that said, I believe the reason the old KATEs are being replaced is reliability. In fact, I asked a MoneyCenter worker at this Walmart why the machine had been replaced and she confirmed it had to do with reliability.
I am going to set out tomorrow to see if any other KATEs in Vegas have been replaced with this new version. With confirmation of two stores now with these machines, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a full rollout fairly soon. At first I was hopeful these ATM replacements would be temporary or only at select stores, however with the language used on the splash screens and the customized software, I think this new version is here to stay! 🙁