Chris and his wife got a Walmart Money Card as a gift and thought they’d go spend it, but the money was buried under so many layers of red tape that they weren’t able to use it. To activate the card Chris was told he had to give up a litany of personal info, including his social security number.
I thought sharing my frustrating experience with you might help other
people avoid making a mistake of their own…
My wife and I are expecting our first baby any day now and her
coworkers decided to give her a gift – they gave money to one person
who then purchased a Walmart MoneyCard. My wife and I both thought
we’d been given a pre-paid Visa that just happened to be unfortunately
branded with a Walmart logo.
We went out shopping today for a number of baby items and began to
remove the card from its packaging in the parking lot of the baby
store when I noticed we had to activate the card. No big deal, I
called the number and expected to activate the card and go in for some
shopping. That’s when I realized this was no ordinary pre-paid Visa.
As more astute Consumerist readers may know – this card is a horrible
deal for anyone and should NOT be used at all, let alone be considered
as an item to gift to someone else. Calling to activate the card, I
was asked for a fourteen digit activation code from the receipt, which
we were not given. I was then prompted to press the star key on the
phone if I didn’t have the activation code, which I did. After the
second question, I hung up and went shopping without having activated
the card. But I called again when we returned home.
Walmart wanted the following information from me, with no explanation
other than ‘Federal regulations require we identify you’ or something
along those lines –
1. Home phone
2. First name
3. Last name
4. Date of birth
5. Zip code
6. Street address
7. Apartment or unit number
8. If I wanted my card sent to my home address (??? I thought I was
holding the card!)
9. Social security number
I wasn’t going to provide my SSN so I hung up.
I decided to contact the local Walmart and asked what I could do so we
could receive the gift my wife’s coworkers had given us. The local
Walmart said nothing at all can be done without the original
activation code from the purchase receipt and that this should not
have been gifted to anyone.
One obvious question I have is why I was being asked to provide all
that personal information to the activation number if nothing could be
done without the original code as the local employee (a manager, I was
told) explained. The other question is did Walmart explain to my
wife’s coworker what she was purchasing when she purchased it. I have
a difficult time believing her co-worker would have gone this route
over a traditional Walmart gift card had someone explained any of this
at all to her.
My wife and I do not shop at Walmart for many reasons. We did,
however, appreciate the graciousness of her coworkers in providing
this gift. Unfortunately, it appears their money has been handed to
Walmart and there is no recourse anyone can take save providing
Walmart’s automated phone system with nearly enough personal
information to open a real credit account at any major department
store and certainly more than enough information for an identity thief
to have a field day with.
My wife and I now have one more reason never to shop at a Walmart and
I am sure her coworkers will feel the same way when they understand
their gift is being held hostage.
I hope the $65 Walmart has now is worth the loss of several potential
customers. I wouldn’t think it woud be, but I suppose they know a
thing or two more than I about running a company, being the worlds
largest retailer and all. Be sure to avoid the MoneyCard at all
If you’ve gotten the Walmart Money Card and managed to somehow access the funds, let us know how you did it.