Issues with Bluebird reloads at Wal-Mart Money Center kiosks - Invalid Card?
Standard boilerplate: I've spent the last half hour trying to find a reference to this specific problem on FlyerTalk, so please, no "we already talked about this" flames.
Okay, I've recently had some odd experiences reloading my & my wife's BB cards at the local Wal-Mart. Fortunately for me, our Wal-Mart has a Money Center Kiosk. I would rather use the kiosk and have it take twice as long, if it means avoiding the dice-roll that is a Wal-Mart human employee at the MC desk.
My BB process involves buying $200 Visa GC's at a local OM with my Ink, then loading these GC's onto our BB's using the MC kiosk. I am very aware of the $1000/$5000 reload limits, and keep careful records to make sure I'm keeping my nose clean. Then, we use the BB's for rent payments, car loan payments, bill payments, and credit card payments (NOT to AmEx), with an occasional purchase tossed in. We've also occasionally made payments to each other (once every month or two). We haven't been churning money back and forth, we haven't been buying money orders, weren't not withdrawing all our BB funds out from an ATM, and we haven't linked any checking accounts (we also don't have direct deposit set up). This strategy has worked well for months.
But over the past three to four weeks, the MC Kiosk has grown unreliable. Again, I know for a certainty that we're NOT violating the $1000/$5000 limit.
For example, I'll load a couple of $200 Visa GC's to my BB as debit cards - no problems - and then on the third, the Kiosk will display a "Invalid Card" message. Repeating the reload attempt will get the same failed result. Usually, after this happens, I've gone up to the MC desk to load the GC's manually. One of three things happens:
(1) The GC's load without issue. For some reason, the Kiosk wouldn't allow that specific GC load, but the MC registers had no problem.
(2) Reload fail due to manager/cashier ignorance. MC customer support truly is terrible; the folks behind the desk are not trained, or they're not consistently trained, and they don't know the BB policies. I don't argue with them; I've never had anything positive happen from including *more* Wal-Mart employees into the process.
(3) A couple of times I've actually had a Wal-Mart MC manager who seems to know the BB rules, but she's claimed that their computer system is hooked into Homeland Security computers (Jeebus, what isn't these days?) and that some kind of government banking software is raising a flag, because I might be a terrorist (Yeah, right.)
In cases (2) and (3), I've simply walked away, waited 24-48 hours, and retried the GC load at the Kiosk, usually with no issues.
I don't want to talk about customer service behind the desk at Wal-Mart. It's Wal-Mart. It's terrible. Period. End of sentence.
What I want to discuss is your experiences using the Money Center kiosk. What would cause an "Invalid Card" message, on a BB card that was clearly valid, working, and a BB account that was not locked down?
Last edited by MileHighCanuck; Sep 9, 13 at 1:44 pm.
OP I do the same as you, except that instead of hitting the MC , I simply head over to a reg cashier on any checkout lane. No flack and not a word about GCs or wanting to see my DC. When theres a line up I even ask if they would like to take some of the others and then continue, they answer back Nope, they can wait,you were here 1st and I get paid the same no matter who I take
lately the kyosk has been taking forever to do 1 transaction. I usually will do 5x on 1 BB, then 4x on the other and for the last one walk over to a cashier rather then chance a Denied. On Sat night since it was a couple of mins to the witching hour, I waited a couple of mins and ran the 10th one , no probs.There were only 2 cashiers with a mile long line each
I only wish the reg cashiers could issue MOs as well
As for what could cause a DC or BB not to take anything, this morning I had to swipe my ATM card at my branches teller window 4 times till it took and asked for my PIN. It could be swiped too fast or too slow, it didnt p/u the info from the magentic strip. The kyosk is having its own problems. At times a GC might not have been properly activated or a person didnt put in the correct pin. It doesnt make a difference to me I will simply head over to acashier with the ones that had problems and like you experienced it goes thru. A couple of times the GCs also didnt take (CGCs) and I had to redo the PIN since it didnt take the 1st time properly
Just brush it all off and dont let it get to you and move on.I usually carry a couple of spares with me (unless its my last monthly load then no spares to be had) just in case something hits the fan,that way I can finsih off the reloading and later on workout what was wrong
But unfortunately in this biz , things will hit the fan every so often you got to learn to deflect it and move on as if it all went like clockwork, or get out of this biz
Many FT'ers have reported that loading $2000 over a 10 minute period causes an issue with the system and an employee needs to come in to fix it. In your case, I do not think that is the case since you are loading $200 cards. It could only happen if the person before you used the kiosk to load 3 $500 cards and you came in right away and started swiping $200 cards. I know the probability of that happening is very low.
Do you have a neighborhood WM? I have found that the MC folks there are much friendly to work with.
Originally Posted by MileHighCanuck
Okay, I'm familiar with the $1000 per day, and the $5000 per month limit. What limit is this "$1999.99 per 10 minute"?
Thanks everyone. I wasn't aware of the $1999.99 per 10 minute rule - and neither are the folks at the Money Center desk, either. I just wanted to make sure that the Hammer wasn't going to come down on my BB reloads with GC cards.
It's certainly possible that there are issues with the actual kiosk hardware, like the card reader. As for my BB card itself .... eh .... I've never had to clean it or wipe off the strip, and I've walked away from a "Invalid Card" incident at the Kiosk and purchase a bag of candy thirty seconds later to test the card. No problems. But I suppose it's possible.
It's also completely possible that I walked up to the kiosk five minutes after somebody else loaded $1500 of GC's on it. Good to know that wandering around for ten minutes might take care of the problem. I appreciate the suggestion about loading at a cashier, but my goal here is to *avoid* Wal-Mart employees. As much as possible.
What about that "Homeland Security" anti-money-laundering blather I got from the MC manager? Was she just pullin' stuff out of her you-know-what, or could a Bluebird kiosk disallow your GC reload because you were somehow violating money laundering laws?
There is no throttling, or money trading slow-down, with cashiers or MC. I NEVER use MC, they are obnoxious and could care less for us. That said, I had a good expieriance today, but like the OP says, I always default for the blue monster, unless it is down or refuses to spit out paper.
I think the rule only applies for the Kiosk and not the MC, but I'm not 100% confident.
As far as avoiding employee's go, if you can find the right one (usually at the MC), it'll make the $200 load process a lot faster since they can do it all under one transaction.
Yes, I got lucky *once* - found somebody who could actually load my BB with multiple GC's in one transaction. But usually I get somebody who doesn't know how to do it, or who says it can't be done (obviously untrue). Yesterday I got a manager who said that they wouldn't *let* me pay for my reload with multiple GC's because it made her feel "uncomfortable".
I know I've had *wildly* inconsistent results with the MC, and with the MC at different Wal-Marts - to the point that I consider the MC to be completely unreliable and unknowledgeable about their own products ("Lady, don't tell me you've never heard of Bluebird when there's a @#!#% Bluebird Promo Sign hanging three feet over your head.")
I have also had issues when the card gets swiped 3x. My MC transactions frequently get "card not accepted" issues, and I think it's because I'm swiping the card too many times. I also find the regular checkers can load the BB, no problem, when Kate is broken or the MC line is long. I've had much better results at the checkout line than the money center. I've tried the uber-fast "hit the cancel button" trick, but, basically, the MC bombs out for me more often than not.
happened to me yesterday with a chase GC. I used the original pin given to me when i activated. I just called and switched the pin to the last 4 digits of card number and it worked. I used multiple chase GC yesterday and there was only one that gave me that error.
Made another trip to the Kiosk again today. A complete clown show. Pressed about three buttons to Add Money to my Bluebird, swept with my BB card, and the Kiosk froze, for about five minutes. Then it asked me if I wanted to continue, I said "no", and the Kiosk froze up solid as a brick. Amazing. A Wal-mart customer service person had to physically unlock the kiosk and fiddle with wires inside the housing, in order to restart the machine. Yes, the "off" button would not turn the machine off, and the machine was direct-wired into store power.
This just continues my recent disappointing experience with Wal-mart MC kiosks. I'm going to be very, very conservative in my GC strategy from here on in. BB reloads are just getting a little too flakey for my liking.