Green Dot Mixes Up Prepaid Card Addresses, Ties Up My Money

Sarah bought a Green Dot Visa card at Walmart so she could do some shopping online. Her experience is a great illustration of why this site isn’t a huge fan of prepaid debit cards: she put down cash for a card that had erroneous address information even though she had carefully followed all directions and registered the card. She ended up with most of the card’s balance tied up in transactions she couldn’t complete.

She wrote to Green Dot, and copied Consumerist on her message.

I purchased a Walmart Visa Gift Card in the amount of $50 in order to do some online shopping and have not had much luck using it.

I followed the directions on the packaging and went to to register my address before making an online purchase and received confirmation of the change. However, when I placed my order it was declined due to the address being incorrect. I double checked the address and tried again. This second transaction was also declined.

I double checked that my address was updated at and, while it had my address correct, it also now had two pending transactions for $21.99 each which effectively depleted the value of the card.

Concerned that I would be unable to make my purchase, I called the customer service number on the back of the card and, eventually, spoke with a man named [J] who verified that the address associated with the card was not my address but yours. Which was a surprise as showed my address for the card. Even more amazingly, as we were speaking, the computer “refreshed” and updated my address.

We then made a conference call to the merchant who verified that the first two charges were declined.

[J] was nice enough to reverse one of the charges which allowed me to complete a transaction (for $21.99) and I should get that order in a week–hurray!

The reason I am taking the time to write you is the second declined transaction (which still shows pending) won’t be reversed until 3/17. This is unacceptable. The delay of the address update in your computer system caused the first two $21.99 transactions to be declined and it is unfair that I should be without my money for almost two weeks due to your companies mistake.

I would like the second pending charge of $21.99 reversed as well so I can get on with my online shopping spree.

Aren’t prepaid cards supposed to simplify the process of getting your hands on plastic to shop with?