Home > Personal Finance > Wal-Mart Prepaid Cards Have Been Glitchy This Week

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Wal-Mart prepaid card users have taken to social media over the last few days to complain about problems with their MoneyCard accounts.

“NO ACCESS ONLINE OR THROUGH PHONE,” Rob Evol wrote on Credit.com’s Facebook page this Thursday. “WHAT LAWYER DO WE CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

On Monday, another accountholder alleged on the page that she was unable to access new funds she deposited over the weekend.

“I made a deposit on it last Friday and just now was able to retrieve my money,” Susan Michelle Woodrome wrote. “Never again will I use this card.”

Accountholders have also reported problems accessing accounts, checking balances and using cards on Twitter.

Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to Credit.com’s request for comment, but Green Dot, the company that issues the retailer’s MoneyCards, said the problems were rectified Wednesday night and that its system is currently operating normally. It also said the problems over the last few days were generally isolated to balance inquiries.

“While we are still investigating a small number of complaints received Tuesday related to the inability to spend funds, actual customer transactional data indicates that the vast majority of customers were able to use their cards during this period of time, including for ATM cash withdrawals, purchases and the crediting of deposits,” the company said in an email. “While impacted customers may have reached out through other channels, less than 100 customers in total over the aggregate three-day period lodged complaints on Green Dot’s social media channels.”

The balance inquiry problems were related to a system slowdown, following a processor conversion Green Dot and MasterCard PTS (point-of-sale terminal security) conducted last weekend, it said.

“While the conversion of accounts to MasterCard PTS went according to plan, post the conversion of accounts, certain systems at MasterCard PTS began to show latency (slowing) which in turn caused certain customer service inquiries to fail when customers attempted to retrieve their balance information from Green Dot’s websites or automated phone system,” Green Dot wrote. “In particular, some customers were not able to have real-time access to their card balance information for certain periods between Monday morning and Wednesday night when using the company’s websites or automated phone system. Other methods of retrieving balance information continued to operate normally, including the ability to retrieve balance information from the company’s mobile apps.”

Dealing With a Prepaid Problem

The reported Wal-Mart MoneyCard outages marks the second time in the last year that prepaid cards have left accountholders in the lurch. Back in October, RushCard, a popular prepaid debit card founded by celebrity Russell Simmons in 2003, suffered a technical glitch that locked some users out of their accounts. (The company just last week agreed to pay $19 million, plus $1.5 million in lawyer fees, to settle a lawsuit with cardholders over the incident.)

Prepaid debit cards, which let accountholders load money onto a card and use it just as they would a debit card, are typically popular among people who don’t have access to traditional bank accounts or credit cards. They’re also sometimes used by folks who want to keep a tight rein on their (or their child’s) spending or are looking to save money for a special occasion. But, whether you use a prepaid debit card because it’s your preferred financial tool or you don’t have access to a bank account, situations like this illustrate why it pays to have a backup plan.

Prepaid cardholders can potentially minimize problems associated with getting locked out of their account by stopping direct deposit. You can contact your payroll company to have your paycheck mailed or deposited to another account instead. You can also see if you can borrow money from friends or family in the interim. That’s not ideal, for sure, but doing so could at least help you avoid missing a monthly bill or loan payment, which can damage your credit score. (You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing your two free credit scores each month on Credit.com.)

Finally, if you’re someone who avoids credit or thinks it’s unnecessary, you might want to consider getting a credit card. A secured credit card (often available to people with bad or no credit) or a low-interest credit card could be a good back-up in case of emergencies.

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  • joia

    I have been using a prepaid Walmart money card for 5+ years and this is the first time I have been seriously inconvenienced. I am a married mother of two and my income is the only income we have for my family, I recently got paid last Friday and the card worked from that Friday to that Sunday (05/13/16- 05/15/16) after that nothing. I did not worry about it must since the remaining balance was less that $40, I did call on Wednesday (05/18/16) 3 day after the issue started and had a negative balance of -$244.36. I was told that there was a system wide issue that was being worked on and that my funds would be restored as soon as it was fixed, I asked for a estimated date or time the issue will be resolved and was told they do not even know in so many words. Now here it is next Friday (05/20/16) I have been paid but cannot access my funds because that negative balance was still there and the funds that were applied went into paying the $244.36. One of the main reasons I got a prepaid card was because there is supposed to be no way for you to overdraft because if the funds are not there then they just gets declined. Now that I do not have access to my funds I will be late on my car note, insurance, medical insurance, and my late fee for my rent to my landlord. This is a serious inconvenience and the fact that there is no insight on when the issue will be resolved makes it even worse. How am i going to buy diapers, pulls, food or milk for my two small children. This makes no sense Walmart is a multi million dollar company and should be able to fix this issue faster than then they have. I think they should be held accountable for this.

  • Laun

    They’re still lying. I just tried again about an hour ago to get gas, at the atm and to get some groceries. My card DECLINED on all attempts. I have over $2400.00 in my account so they’re still holding our funds and not giving us access to it.

  • http://twitter.com/CattlemansBank Vaughn Leland

    NO! Whomever issued that statement is lying. We weren’t able to spend the money in our accounts! And, the fact that their press machine is lying makes matters worse. I had $600 tied up in that card. Thankfully, I can access my account now, but others are still suffering. Take responsibility for your actions, GreenDot!

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