Walmart MoneyCard: A Solid Option for Some - NerdWallet
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Walmart MoneyCard: A Solid Option for Some

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The Nerds generally don’t recommend prepaid cards, but if you’re in a situation where you can’t get a credit card or a bank account, the Walmart MoneyCard is worth considering. That doesn’t mean it’s the best option, though. Let’s take a look at the three MoneyCards Walmart offers, compare MoneyCard with one of the top prepaid cards on the market and discuss better alternatives.

MoneyCard Basic MoneyCard Plus MoneyCard Preferred
Purchase fee $0 online / $1.88 in store $3 $4
Reload fee Direct deposit and Walmart Check Cashing reloads are free; $3 using Rapid Reload® at Walmart stores; up to $4.95 on the Green Dot Network Direct deposit and Walmart Check Cashing reloads are free; $3 using Rapid Reload® at Walmart stores; up to $4.95 on the Green Dot Network Direct deposit, Walmart Check Cashing and Rapid Reload® at Walmart stores are free; up to $4.95 on the Green Dot Network
Monthly fee $3 $3, waived if you added at least $1,000 in the previous month $3, waived if you added at least $500 in the previous month or if you have your paycheck or government benefits direct deposited
ATM fee $0 at MoneyPass ATMs, $2 out of network $0 at MoneyPass ATMs, $2 out of network $0 at MoneyPass ATMs, $2 out of network
Foreign transaction fee 2% 2% 2%

As you can see, the MoneyCard isn’t entirely fee-friendly, but it’s not so bad compared with many prepaid cards on the market, especially if you use it enough to get the monthly fee waived. Let’s take a look at how the MoneyCard Preferred stacks up against the best prepaid card out there, the American Express Serve Cash Back.

MoneyCard Preferred American Express Serve Cash Back
Activation fee $4 $0 online, up to $3.95 in retail locations
Reload fee Direct deposit, Walmart Check Cashing and Rapid Reload® at Walmart stores are free; up to $3.95 on the Green Dot Network Up to $3.95, varies by retailer
Monthly fee $3, waived if you added at least $500 in the previous month or have direct deposit $5.95
ATM fee $0 at MoneyPass ATMs, $2 out of network $0 at MoneyPass ATMs, $2.50 out of network
Foreign transaction fee 2% 2.7%
Rewards None Earn 1% cash back per dollar spent

If you’re going to apply for a prepaid card, the Serve Cash Back is a great choice. It helps that you can reload it for free at Walmart locations, as well as at CVS Pharmacy, Family Dollar and participating 7-Eleven locations.

Both the MoneyCard Preferred and the Serve Cash Back let you use your account for online bill pay, to set aside money for savings and to send money to family and friends. But the Serve Cash Back goes further by offering a better user experience and rewards. For example, it’s convenient for families because it allows you to set up sub-accounts for family members and set spending and ATM withdrawal limits. It also features mobile check deposit, purchase protection and Amex Offers, a program that lets you save on shopping, dining and more.

However, the MoneyCard Preferred may be the better option if you’re traveling internationally. The card is issued through either Visa or MasterCard, both of which are more widely accepted than American Express. Plus, the foreign transaction fee is a little lower than with the Serve Cash Back. While it may not seem like a big difference, it adds up, especially if you’re overseas for an extended time.

Why you may not want a prepaid card

Prepaid cards can be a good option in certain cases. But before you go the prepaid route, make sure you understand what you won’t get with a prepaid card. First of all, prepaid debit cards aren’t credit cards. You can only spend what you have previously loaded on the card. This may be helpful if you worry about overspending, but because there’s no credit line, using a prepaid card won’t help you build your credit.

Prepaid cards function similarly to debit cards, but a prepaid card isn’t tied to a bank account. There’s one distinguishing feature between prepaid cards and debit cards: fees. With several banks offering limited free checking options, you may feel like a prepaid card is a better alternative than a checking account. But you should still be able to find a free checking account, especially if you can meet the minimum balance requirement. And if you’re worried about overdraft fees, you can opt out of overdraft protection.

Consider this other option to build credit

If you’re considering applying for a prepaid card because you’ve been denied for a credit card, you may still qualify for a secured credit card. Secured credit cards function much like conventional unsecured credit cards. The difference is that secured credit card issuers require a collateral deposit. For example, if you want a $3,500 credit line, you would typically need a $3,500 deposit. That way, the card issuer can draw on that collateral if you default on your payments. Also, you can get your deposit back when you close your account.

The Nerds typically recommend a secured credit card over a prepaid card if you have bad credit or no credit history and plan on borrowing again in the future. Over time, a secured credit card can help you establish or rehabilitate your credit history, so you have a better chance at qualifying for a better card or scoring a lower interest rate on a loan the next time you apply.

The takeaway: As far as prepaid cards go, the Walmart MoneyCard is a decent option. But if you’re looking at prepaid cards because you have bad credit, consider applying for a secured card, instead. Using a secured card wisely can help you improve your creditworthiness for the future.

Ben Luthi is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email:bluthi@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @benluthi.

  • Pingback: The Walmart MoneyCard: America's Most Popular Prepaid Credit Card - rushroutingnumber.com()

  • disqus_mfDmrQyQd9

    Great article!! Was looking into a secured credit card vs preloaded debit card information for my brother who is just starting to establish credit.

  • disqus_mfDmrQyQd9

    Great article!! Was looking into a secured credit card vs preloaded debit card information for my brother who is just starting to establish credit.

  • o clements

    if you get walmart money card and money is stolen from your account and you call with the problem you will not get anyone who speaks clear english and they willnot get your money back for you, I called about a charge on my card and told them i didnt make the charges and didnt know the company and two days later the let the same company put 2 more charges on my card and i cant get the money back

  • o clements

    if you get walmart money card and money is stolen from your account and you call with the problem you will not get anyone who speaks clear english and they willnot get your money back for you, I called about a charge on my card and told them i didnt make the charges and didnt know the company and two days later the let the same company put 2 more charges on my card and i cant get the money back

  • Veni Vidi Vici

    This article needs to be updated The Wal-Mart Money Card Preferred “The Black One” has less fees:
    Free ATM’s use, free cash loads at Wal-Mart, $ 3.00 monthly fee but waived with 500 monthly load or 500 direct deposit…
    The Serve card is still slightly cheaper has superior fraud protection and more free ATM locations including Wal-Mart but Wal-Mart’s card is a good option for those who do not want to use Amex… I have had better luck with this card but the customer service there need more training but unlike Amex you have a physical location.
    https://m.walmartmoneycard.com/custom.aspx?t=cardfees&feetype=preferred

  • Veni Vidi Vici

    This article needs to be updated The Wal-Mart Money Card Preferred “The Black One” has less fees:
    Free ATM’s use, free cash loads at Wal-Mart, $ 3.00 monthly fee but waived with 500 monthly load or 500 direct deposit…
    The Serve card is still slightly cheaper has superior fraud protection and more free ATM locations including Wal-Mart but Wal-Mart’s card is a good option for those who do not want to use Amex… I have had better luck with this card but the customer service there need more training but unlike Amex you have a physical location.
    https://m.walmartmoneycard.com/custom.aspx?t=cardfees&feetype=preferred

  • Veni Vidi Vici

    This article needs to be updated The Wal-Mart Money Card Preferred “The Black One” has less fees:
    Free ATM’s use, free cash loads at Wal-Mart, $ 3.00 monthly fee but waived with 500 monthly load or 500 direct deposit…
    The Serve card is still slightly cheaper has superior fraud protection and more free ATM locations including Wal-Mart but Wal-Mart’s card is a good option for those who do not want to use Amex… I have had better luck with this card but the customer service there need more training but unlike Amex you have a physical location.
    https://m.walmartmoneycard.com/custom.aspx?t=cardfees&feetype=preferred

  • tami mac

    I have been using this card for years.. after 2 they change it to more of a checking account where you can mail off checks for free and it allow me to get gas (sometimes) using this as a credit. My thing was my bank FOUND reasons to charge me fees especially with the bill pay function, it would mail out the check but not take the money out.. so being as irresponsible as I am it killed me all the time. So I switched all the bill pay to this and now I am happy with no fees… I’m sure WoodForest will find a way to charge me though.

  • tami mac

    I have been using this card for years.. after 2 they change it to more of a checking account where you can mail off checks for free and it allow me to get gas (sometimes) using this as a credit. My thing was my bank FOUND reasons to charge me fees especially with the bill pay function, it would mail out the check but not take the money out.. so being as irresponsible as I am it killed me all the time. So I switched all the bill pay to this and now I am happy with no fees… I’m sure WoodForest will find a way to charge me though.

  • tami mac

    I have been using this card for years.. after 2 they change it to more of a checking account where you can mail off checks for free and it allow me to get gas (sometimes) using this as a credit. My thing was my bank FOUND reasons to charge me fees especially with the bill pay function, it would mail out the check but not take the money out.. so being as irresponsible as I am it killed me all the time. So I switched all the bill pay to this and now I am happy with no fees… I’m sure WoodForest will find a way to charge me though.

  • ls

    This card is a way for them to make money!!! Not only do they take 3 dollars a month,they also make money selling your private information that is a CRIME!!!!!!! DO NOT GET A WALMART PREPAID CARD!!!!

  • ls

    This card is a way for them to make money!!! Not only do they take 3 dollars a month,they also make money selling your private information that is a CRIME!!!!!!! DO NOT GET A WALMART PREPAID CARD!!!!

  • ls

    They do sell your private information you give them when you first get it!!

  • ls

    They do sell your private information you give them when you first get it!!

  • ls

    Do not get this card!!! They take your money,an sell your private information!! This is a crime!!!!

  • ls

    Do not get this card!!! They take your money,an sell your private information!! This is a crime!!!!

  • Ann Bennett Haltiwanger

    This has been an absolute nightmare for my daughter… Last week she purchased one of the cheap Master Card money cards and added 25.00,, Got home to try and activate it so that she could receive the card that would come with her name on it only to be given a week of dirty business.. The phone lines kept saying experiencing technical difficulties and online it would get to where it said validating the address.. Then last night she took it back to the store where she purchased it and a manager tried and got the same messages gave her a second number to call now she got the same messages .. This morning she began to try again and the phones have suddenly been disconnected isn’t that a coincidence.. So tonight we go to yet another WalMart with receipt in hand still the girls try the phone and get the disconnect and blah blahh blahh take it back to the store where it was purchased but when this gal scanned it there was no money showing on the card so they will not be able to return her 25.00 Now this is totally crazy , she has YET to activate the darn thing, so how on earth could she have spent it ???? You are telling me WalMart cares no more than this for their customers ?? This girl doesn’t have a lot yet she is suppose to suck it up and take a 25.00 loss ?? What happened to the WalMart that used to be concerned about the customer and my next question is if the 25.00 is gone for real then do we not begin questioning our employees abut some type of theft ???? Sick of this run around and will avoid WalMarts from here on….

  • Ann Bennett Haltiwanger

    This has been an absolute nightmare for my daughter… Last week she purchased one of the cheap Master Card money cards and added 25.00,, Got home to try and activate it so that she could receive the card that would come with her name on it only to be given a week of dirty business.. The phone lines kept saying experiencing technical difficulties and online it would get to where it said validating the address.. Then last night she took it back to the store where she purchased it and a manager tried and got the same messages gave her a second number to call now she got the same messages .. This morning she began to try again and the phones have suddenly been disconnected isn’t that a coincidence.. So tonight we go to yet another WalMart with receipt in hand still the girls try the phone and get the disconnect and blah blahh blahh take it back to the store where it was purchased but when this gal scanned it there was no money showing on the card so they will not be able to return her 25.00 Now this is totally crazy , she has YET to activate the darn thing, so how on earth could she have spent it ???? You are telling me WalMart cares no more than this for their customers ?? This girl doesn’t have a lot yet she is suppose to suck it up and take a 25.00 loss ?? What happened to the WalMart that used to be concerned about the customer and my next question is if the 25.00 is gone for real then do we not begin questioning our employees abut some type of theft ???? Sick of this run around and will avoid WalMarts from here on….

  • Ryan A

    **********DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT GET THIS CARD**********
    I would have to create my own website to tell you all about the absolute horror this card has and is still putting me through….long story short…Its been over a month and I’m still waiting for my opportunity to ditch this sorry card!!!!!! This will be the last check deposited on it.
    ****************GO ELSEWHERE——-NOT HERE——–DO NOT GET WALMART MONEY CARD************************************

    • Ryan A

      I actually found this disqus board looking for alternative solutions of how to get out of this issue i’m having and also looking for a different prepaid card to use! smh

    • narg

      Seriously? Get a real bank account. People surprise me often on how they expect things without knowing how they work.

  • Ryan A

    **********DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT GET THIS CARD**********
    I would have to create my own website to tell you all about the absolute horror this card has and is still putting me through….long story short…Its been over a month and I’m still waiting for my opportunity to ditch this sorry card!!!!!! This will be the last check deposited on it.
    ****************GO ELSEWHERE——-NOT HERE——–DO NOT GET WALMART MONEY CARD************************************

    • Ryan A

      I actually found this disqus board looking for alternative solutions of how to get out of this issue i’m having and also looking for a different prepaid card to use! smh

    • narg

      Seriously? Get a real bank account. People surprise me often on how they expect things without knowing how they work.

  • Charles Davie

    I see some of these comments about how terrible the Walmart Money Card is and I don’t see how. I’ve used in many times in the past and I use it now. Things post pretty quickly, I get paid 2 days before my coworkers. Never had money disappear on me, never had an issue with it not working. I think the problem is people will find something to complain about. You must have f*cked up something for you to have such a problem with it but never had an issue, I don’t think I ever will. I’ve used it like 4 different times in the past. Bill Pay is AMAZING and fast. So many ATM’s in my area that I can use, free loading of cash or a check at Walmart. One of the best cards out there and I was going to switch to Amex but I’m like nah. I’m completely happy. Hope everyone finds something that will make them happy :)

  • Charles Davie

    I see some of these comments about how terrible the Walmart Money Card is and I don’t see how. I’ve used in many times in the past and I use it now. Things post pretty quickly, I get paid 2 days before my coworkers. Never had money disappear on me, never had an issue with it not working. I think the problem is people will find something to complain about. You must have messed up up something for you to have such a problem with it but never had an issue, I don’t think I ever will. I’ve used it like 4 different times in the past. Bill Pay is AMAZING and fast. So many ATM’s in my area that I can use, free loading of cash or a check at Walmart. One of the best cards out there and I was going to switch to Amex but I’m like nah. I’m completely happy. Hope everyone finds something that will make them happy :)

  • Scrap Parts

    Let me jump on the Bandwagon…I have had a prepaid Walmart Money card for three years, never had a problem, I just recently wanted to change my direct deposit to this card and did without a hitch, but I was not able to get my money earlier than my actual pay date, (ex. with a regular Monday payday… the Saturday before, the funds become available) because I did not have a “Preferred” card, So after a call to customer service My three loyal customer years of holding the card I had was reduced to total worthlessness, and now I need to go get a new card and account, if I want my deposit early, so I went and purchased one at my local Wal-Mart. The next week, I went ahead and provided the “preferred” card information to my payroll admin, completed registration, and was told It Would take up to Two- weeks to get my card. and true enough..the next payday I got the deposit on Saturday, Only problem was I had not received my new card. So I called customer service and the Short version is, they told me they would process the card as not received, and send out another one, Which would take as long as Two weeks, I begin to thoroughly Question the service Rep. on different ways to access my funds, How about a transfer to the other card I’ve had for three years?, Every Possible way to access my funds was denied, I was furious, but reassured that there is no way on earth whatsoever to access my funds unless I have the “personalized” card…the one that was never received. So, Two weeks later, Still no card, I called to ask If a replacement had been mailed out, only to be transferred to the lost/stolen desk again, and again since it was not received by the time of this call, was asked to hold, and was transferred to the lost/stolen department again, there, I was told I have no option, “you say that you did not receive it “, so, we will have to reissue it again. It has been a whole month and they are still denying me access to my deposit of two weeks pay, with two more weeks to go..If I ever get it. OR…I could close the account and get a check mailed? I asked the lady “If you cannot mail me a card”, “How the He@@ Can I expect you to get me a check”?, and Why cant it be transferred to my other card in good standing of three years?, Why cant they mail me my card w tracking??, I’ve never had any problem getting my mail, I am late on all my bills, I got ALL of them by mail…and bottom line is…They dont give a jolly if Im in this process a year…all the more interest the earn on MY Dang MONEY, while I write letters to my landlord begging for more time before eviction..TWO WEEKS for a card, HEck I could walk there to pick it up in person… in two weeks. ABSOLUTE REFUSAL to Expidite overnight shipment, I would gladly pay…AND ” No way to track shipment of the card, THERE MOST CERTAINLY IS!!…, ITS CALLED A TRACKING NUMBER!!!!..but yet, you refuse to use TRACKING NUMBERS for your cards…BOTTOM LINE #2 …YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUX!!!, I cant wait to mail you your cards back to you in a box of stinky CAT S#$% ….WALMART MONEYCARD….and post this letter everywhere on the web I can find to post it…

  • Scrap Parts

    Let me jump on the Bandwagon…I have had a prepaid Walmart Money card for three years, never had a problem, I just recently wanted to change my direct deposit to this card and did without a hitch, but I was not able to get my money earlier than my actual pay date, (ex. with a regular Monday payday… the Saturday before, the funds become available) because I did not have a “Preferred” card, So after a call to customer service My three loyal customer years of holding the card I had was reduced to total worthlessness, and now I need to go get a new card and account, if I want my deposit early, so I went and purchased one at my local Wal-Mart. The next week, I went ahead and provided the “preferred” card information to my payroll admin, completed registration, and was told It Would take up to Two- weeks to get my card. and true enough..the next payday I got the deposit on Saturday, Only problem was I had not received my new card. So I called customer service and the Short version is, they told me they would process the card as not received, and send out another one, Which would take as long as Two weeks, I begin to thoroughly Question the service Rep. on different ways to access my funds, How about a transfer to the other card I’ve had for three years?, Every Possible way to access my funds was denied, I was furious, but reassured that there is no way on earth whatsoever to access my funds unless I have the “personalized” card…the one that was never received. So, Two weeks later, Still no card, I called to ask If a replacement had been mailed out, only to be transferred to the lost/stolen desk again, and again since it was not received by the time of this call, was asked to hold, and was transferred to the lost/stolen department again, there, I was told I have no option, “you say that you did not receive it “, so, we will have to reissue it again. It has been a whole month and they are still denying me access to my deposit of two weeks pay, with two more weeks to go..If I ever get it. OR…I could close the account and get a check mailed? I asked the lady “If you cannot mail me a card”, “How the He@@ Can I expect you to get me a check”?, and Why cant it be transferred to my other card in good standing of three years?, Why cant they mail me my card w tracking??, I’ve never had any problem getting my mail, I am late on all my bills, I got ALL of them by mail…and bottom line is…They dont give a jolly if Im in this process a year…all the more interest the earn on MY Dang MONEY, while I write letters to my landlord begging for more time before eviction..TWO WEEKS for a card, HEck I could walk there to pick it up in person… in two weeks. ABSOLUTE REFUSAL to Expidite overnight shipment, I would gladly pay…AND ” No way to track shipment of the card, THERE MOST CERTAINLY IS!!…, ITS CALLED A TRACKING NUMBER!!!!..but yet, you refuse to use TRACKING NUMBERS for your cards…BOTTOM LINE #2 …YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUX!!!, I cant wait to mail you your cards back to you in a box of stinky CAT S#$% ….WALMART MONEYCARD….and post this letter everywhere on the web I can find to post it…

  • Damian

    Best card ever! I’ve been using the Walmart Money Card for the last 2 years. We bought the black card, which is only a dollar or 2 more. Don’t buy the cheaper ones, or the free one. In the last 2 years the wife and I have our checks direct deposit. We both have our own card with our own names on the same account. We have not paid a single fee since we bought it. The online part is my favorite. There is a vault which acts as a savings. And I pay every single utility bill on the walmartmoneycard website, not a single fee. There is an account and routing number attached to your card. Best bank ever!

  • Damian

    Best card ever! I’ve been using the Walmart Money Card for the last 2 years. We bought the black card, which is only a dollar or 2 more. Don’t buy the cheaper ones, or the free one. In the last 2 years the wife and I have our checks direct deposit. We both have our own card with our own names on the same account. We have not paid a single fee since we bought it. The online part is my favorite. There is a vault which acts as a savings. And I pay every single utility bill on the walmartmoneycard website, not a single fee. There is an account and routing number attached to your card. Best bank ever!