Walmart MoneyCard, which is a prepaid debit card issued by Green Dot Bank, enables customers to pay bills, receive direct deposits, withdraw money, and swipe their cards at retailers. In other words, the card functions much like a debit card issued by a bank. However, for the past several days, many customers have taken to social media to say that they haven’t been able to do some or all of these things. Some customers have even said that their balances are incorrect, or that they simply cannot view their balances. I myself use a Walmart MoneyCard, and can verify that my balance and transaction history have both been incorrect for me personally for at least the past two days.
Green Dot admitted that customers were not able to view their balances online in a Wednesday Facebook post. They said the problem had to do with their “transaction processing partner experiencing slowdowns”. Their statement may be read in full below:
“Our transaction processing partner is experiencing slowdowns in some of their systems and as a result, we are currently unable to provide card balances online or over the phone. However, cardholders can get their balances through our mobile apps. If the customer has a mobile phone on file, they can also get their balance by text message. Text “BAL” and the last 4 digits of the card to WM411 (96411) for Walmart MoneyCard holders or GD411 (43411) for Green Dot cardholders and we’ll send back the available balance. We hope to have the balance inquiry functionality restored shortly.
There is no impact to the ability to make purchases or get cash from ATMs and deposits and reloads are all posting properly.
We understand the important role we play in the daily financial lives of our loyal customers and apologize for any inconveniences this may cause.”
Some customers are expressing their frustrations in a Facebook group known as “Walmart Money Card Exodus”. As of Thursday evening, there are 547 members in the group. Many of the customers in the Facebook group claim that that they have not been able to make purchases or withdraw their money from ATMs even after Green Dot issued their statement on Wednesday. I spoke to a few of these people who explained how the ongoing issues are affecting them.
Stephen W. Phillips, who is a published author, said that he put $600 on his Walmart MoneyCard on Monday, May 16th. At the time, he was unaware of other customers being unable to use their money. Phillips said he tried to buy something online about an hour and a half after he loaded the money on his card, and his purchase was denied. The amount of his purchase was much less than the $600 he had just loaded on his card. He also tried to make a purchase for a similar amount on another website, but that purchase was also denied. He tried to check his balance only to find that the website was inaccessible. He said he called customer service and got the following recording, “We are having technical difficulties at this time, but rest assured, you can still make purchases as usual.” Phillips said that same recording was used for at least a day and a half after he first heard it. When he finally got a hold of Green Dot, he was told that the system outage was due to a maintenance upgrade that had lasted longer than usual. Phillips said that the issues with using his Walmart MoneyCard are interfering with his writing career, as he was trying to buy a rare book online for research purposes. What’s more, his health is being affected as he cannot purchase his needed medication. Phillips told me, “I’m now going on two days without treatment, risking a seizure every minute.”
Pamela Slusser told me that even though her paycheck was deposited, her account was showing more than $100 less than she should have based on her purchases made since May 13th. A frustrated Slusser said, “I can’t use my card & my light & gas bills are due soon & I don’t know what I’m going to do at this point!”
Christine T. Hovi was finally able to view her balance the other day. While she says there was more than $300 on the card, she said she was left with nothing after withdrawing less than $200.
There are countless other stories from people who say they have not been able to get gas to go to work, or even food to put on their table. A few people even said that their utilities were shut off due to not being able to pay the bill with their Walmart MoneyCard. Even so, no data seems to exist at this time to let customers know how big the outage is. As of Thursday, May 19th at 4:46 p.m., Green Dot Corporation stocks are down 0.21 points, or 0.89%.
RushCard, which is another prepaid debit card, reached a $19 million settlement with its users in October of 2015. The company agreed to pay $100 to every customer that was not able to access their funds while a disturbance was going on.
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