Walmart Money Card at first seems like a great alternative to banking, but it pales next to the Walmart Bluebird card. In fact the Bluebird card is such a superior product offered by the same vendor that it seems like a sure bet Walmart is phasing out their Money Card. Both cards are reloadable debit cards or cash cards. Both cards let users reload by direct deposit, pay bills and cash checks online and with apps. The major difference is that the Money Card is a fee minefield while the Walmart Bluebird card has virtually zero fees.
Anyone searching “Is Walmart Money Card worth it” will almost certainly answer with a resounding “no” once they see the facts in the article below. It’s not so much that Walmart’s Money Card is such a terrible product when taken by itself. It’s a great alternative to banking and offers many of the features that a bank account does. The problem is that Bluebird Card is so much better and fills basically the same niche. The choice is really between these two cards, and seen that way it’s almost no choice at all.
Walmart Money Card Facts
Walmart Money Card Facts
|Walmart Money Card has many confusing and hard-to-avoid fees.|
|Walmart Money Card rewards are limited to $75 per year.|
|Most of Walmart Money Card's benefits are also provided by Walmart Bluebird Card.|
|Walmart Bluebird Card has less fees than Money Card.|
|Walmart Bluebird Card is easier to use and more versatile than Walmart Money Card.|
For years the Walmart Money Card, also known as the Green Dot Card, has been a great option for consumers. Especially helpful to the unbanked, the card does many of the things a checking account does. It lets users pay bills and cash checks. It works like a debit card and it can be reloaded in a variety of ways.
There are several problems with the Money Card that render it less than a sweet deal. It’s still a great product, but as we’ll show below, there’s a better option from Walmart that doesn’t have the same problems.
The biggest problem with the Money Card is its fee structure. The card has several confusing and hard to avoid fees, many of which pop up monthly and ding users for amounts that can really add up. Another problem however its its enticing but ultimately empty rewards structure. The easy-to-understand 3-2-1 rewards plan looks great at first, but there are two major catches that suck the wind out of its sails. We’ll get into those catches lower down.
Also see: Save Money With Walmart Savings Catcher
The Lure of Walmart Money Card
Walmart Money Card Features
|Use it like a debit card|
|Deposit checks with smartphone|
|Pay bills online or by app|
|Reload with direct deposit or in stores|
Anyone looking only at the table above would conclude that Walmart Money Card is definitely worth it. The features are exemplary and even a few years ago it would have been impossible for anyone to do all these things without being approved for a bank account. Walmart’s genius with this card was in basically replacing many of the goodies a checking account provides with a simple card. The card can be used to pay bills online or with a mobile app. It can be used like a debit card. It can be reloaded with cash or checks at a Walmart. Users can reload it by direct deposit or by taking pictures of checks with a smartphone. It can be used to send money to friends.
If that was the end of the story, we’d say the Walmart Money Card was worth getting. The problem is that Walmart now has a new product on offer that leaves their Money Card in the dust. That product is the Walmart Bluebird Card and it does everything the Money Card does but without all the fees.
The Walmart Money Card Fee Minefield
Walmart Money Card Fee Plan
|Reload by direct deposit||No Fee|
|Reload by Walmart Check Cashing||No Fee|
|Rapid Reload at Walmart||$3.00|
|Reload with cash through Green Dot||$4.95 max|
|ATM balance inquiry||$0.50|
The table above shows all the Walmart Money Card fees. The $1.00 purchase fee isn’t a big deal. However the $5.00 monthly charge is a huge deal breaker that makes this card not worth it, especially next to the no-fee Bluebird Card from the same store.
The monthly fee can be avoided, but only when customers put $1,000 a month on the card, every month. For people who direct deposit all their paychecks onto the card every month the fee is easy to avoid. For anyone else however, this fee can quickly add up to $60 a year. While that’s not a world-shaking amount, why pay it at all if it’s not necessary? In other words, why pay it if the Bluebird Card from Walmart doesn’t have the same fee? This is one big reason it looks like Walmart is planning to phase out the money card. It’s also an excellent reason for anyone with a Walmart Money Card or Green Dot card to switch to the Bluebird Card.
Also see: Walmart Money Center Review and How To
Walmart Money Card: A Deceptive Rewards Plan
The rewards plan behind the Walmart Money Card at first looks like a feature that makes the card worth it. The simple 3-2-1 structure is certainly enticing. 3% cash back on all Walmart.com purchases. 2% cash back on gas at selected stations. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
There are two major problems with this rewards plan however. The first is with the 3% cash back. While 3% is a big number, it’s important to stress that it only comes for purchases made on Walmart.com. That big 3% back doesn’t apply to in-store purchases.
The second and by far the biggest problem is with the rewards structure itself. The cash back only comes at the end of the year. Further, it’s limited to $75 per year. That means no matter how many rewards a user racks up, they’re still only going to get a max of $75 back at the end of the year. Even someone who does manage to pull off that number will very probably see it eaten up by the card’s fees.
A Great Alternative to Walmart Money Card
Walmart Money Card vs Walmart Bluebird Card
|Action||Walmart Money Card||Bluebird Card|
|Reload by direct deposit||$0||$0|
|Reload by Walmart Check Cashing||$0||$0|
|Rapid Reload at Walmart||$3.00||$0|
|Reload with cash through Green Dot||$4.95 max||$0|
|ATM balance inquiry||$0.50||$0|
The Walmart Bluebird Card is an excellent alternative to the Walmart Money Card. Anyone looking to switch can rest assured it’s a great move. The card carries all the same features of a Money Card but without all the fees. The Bluebird Card can be purchased online or in stores. There’s no annual fee and no fees for just about any action customers can take with the card. It’s a debit card just like the Money Card. Cardholders can use it to pay bills online or with an app for iPhone or Android. They can send and receive money for free and reload the card with direct deposit.
The card can also be reloaded from bank accounts online, with cash or debit card at Walmart or by taking pictures of checks with a smartphone. All these actions are fee-free as well. Users can also send checks, replace lost cards for free and conduct several other money tasks.
There is a $5 fee to buy a card in a store. There’s also up to a $9 fee to cash out the card in a Walmart. There’s a $2.50 ATM fee at non-MoneyPass ATMs. Apart from those few fees, the card is basically fee-free.
Walmart Money Card: The Bottom Line
The Walmart Money Card isn’t a terrible option for anyone who can’t otherwise get a bank account. It’s got many of the features a bank account has, and the fees aren’t that much higher than many bank accounts. That said, with the excellent Bluebird card also available from Walmart, there’s no reason anyone should choose the Money Card. There’s also very little reason to stick with a Money Card over switching to Bluebird, and no reason to fret if Money Card suddenly gets discontinued.