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Gift card rippoff. Walmart Visa Debit Gift Card scam. Costs more than its value!

Posted Tue December 18, 2007 1:26 pm, by Rob Z. written to Walmart

Write a Letter to this Company  |  Rate this Company

Beware of the rippoffs at Walmart. Especially the Walmart Visa Gift Cards. You won't find out untill the clerk rings up on the register that you have to pay a fee on top of the gift value of the card. For instance I purchased a $100 value for a friend only to be told I had to pay $105.44 at the register. We would certainly be far better off just giving cash or check rather than wasting $5.44 on every one of these gift cards. What ever happened to gift cards where you just paid for the amount of value you are giving? These cards even have a set expiration so if not used within the time limit it all gets forfitted to walmart or visa. What a rippoff!!! I've had it with Walmart and Visa.

Walmart should sell these cards for the face value or tell Visa to stick it and stop scamming Walmart's customers which make Walmart and Visa look bad for the whole scam.


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by ariesrob Posted Thu May 17, 2012 @ 10:37 PM

Eventually, probably after reading the post here an assistant manager
there called me and offered an exception to make a full refund for it.
I found that very good of him and more in line with Walmart's typical
no hassle returns policies.

by Tombstone Posted Fri December 31, 2010 @ 4:47 PM

I got some WALMART gift cards for Christmas this year, one was for 200
and the other was for 50, so instead of going to walmart to get things
i needed i wanted to be able to shop at multiple stores. So i went to
walmart bought 2 100 visa gift cards and a 50 dollar one and i had no
issue spending 16 dollars to activate them. BECAUSE ITS A HASSLE TO GO
TO TO WALMART EVERYTIME I NEED SOMETHING, i want to be able to go out
to eat, go to other places and such ya know. AND THEIR ARE NO FEES, I
fee their are no more UNLESS YOU DONT USE THE DAMN THING. They dont
charge a per transaction fee , as ive seen on prepaid debits a 50 cent
fee per use, the gift card doesnt have that AND IT DOESNT COST TO CALL
AND CHECK YOUR BALLANCE, their is no hidden fees at all, IF IT SAYS
100 DOLLARS you can spend 100 dollars. GEEZ whats the deal with you
people trying to scare people from buying something well worth it. LAY
OFF these are good when you RECIECE STORE GIFT CARDS and want to shop
other places, HELL EVEN good to give to someone.

by jayw654 Posted Tue September 9, 2008 @ 8:31 AM

These are Green Dot Debit Cards. Green Dot has been doing these cards
for some time now. These are not straight up Gift Cards which is why
there is an Activation cost. If you want a no extra activation cost
then buy the right gift card. If you you see the word
"DEBIT","Mastercard" or "Visa" on the card then expect to pay an
activation fee. Granted Visa, Green Dot and Walmart makes a cut for
selling these cards however it also costs a small fee to make the card
available to use to any business through out the US and Canada. I can
say one thing the monthly upkeep has dropped in price and is only .94
cents. This card was never intended to be a heavy user's card. It's
just a method for people who don't have bank accounts or people who
want to do online purchases safely without putting there REAL cards at
risk for dirty merchants and online thieves. THESE CARDS ARE NOT
the back, if you feel screwed it's your own damn fault.


by jimcar60 Posted Fri August 15, 2008 @ 8:47 AM

I agree as much money as Walmart recievs from Customer's who want to
do the right thing, they should be much more considerate of the
customer, afterall we are the ones that have allowed them to make
their fortune.
I knew when they advertised these cards somebody was out to make a
buck, Visa you stink always have and always will do to your greed and
thoughtlessness for anyone else but your banl account. You know when
financially they fail like many others then we will see who has the
last laugh.

by Gary S. Posted Sat July 26, 2008 @ 7:42 PM

It says right on the packaging that there is an intitial activation
fee (plus applicable monthly costs). Read.

by B K. Posted Wed July 23, 2008 @ 7:32 AM

Sam Walton Must Be rolling in his grave. Bought one for ps3 game
ripped. took two weeks to get my money back on the card. will put it
in gas and not use anymore. alabud


by Mort Posted Mon June 23, 2008 @ 11:05 AM

I bought two WalMart Visa gift cards yesterday to use to pay my phone
bill. I was going to split the bill between the two cards. Two
different Visa numbrers. Two different security codes. The first
payment was pulled off of BOTH CARDS. The second payment was DECLINED.
Then they declined BOTH PAYMENTS. Yet they pulled the payment amount
off of BOTH CARDS.

The card "customer service number is crap. No help no human beings
available. I called the local Wal-Mart talked to "Customer Service".
No help. Called the manage. No help.

I'm out $211 and have NOTHING to show for it. ANYONE getting up a
class action lawsuit?


Wal-mart visa debit card scam by danielle d. Wed July 16, 2008 @ 12:27 AM

I am in the same boat as you by Butch M. Sat December 13, 2008 @ 11:26 AM
by debi o. Posted Fri February 29, 2008 @ 2:33 PM

I have a walmart visa dedt card I LOVE IT I use it all the time.It has
my name on it, I reload it up 1400.00. all I have to do is load
1000.00 a month on it and its FREE. I have NEVER gotten any other
FEES, but the 1st activation fee. Just like any other store that
offers this type of visa debt gift card. I even got a 2nd card for my
spouse when I called to activate my card, just like at a bank my cards
do not expire until 2010. Maybe you people should read everything,
call people from the companies, find out what its all about before you
jump. I don't think CNN even checked it all out.

by Panda girl Posted Wed January 2, 2008 @ 9:06 AM

I read through some of the replies and have to ask are you blind? My
mother has reading glasses that she takes with her when we go shopping
to read some of the fine print and she was able to read about the fee
on the card without them. I was able to read about the fee as well.
It's not nearly as small as you are making it out to be. Just because
you didn't read it doesn't mean they are scamming anyone. Though I
will agree that it's sucky to have fees like that which is why we
refused to buy any and made sure everyone buying us gifts new that we
would refuse to use them even if they were given to us as a gift.


by Melissa Montoya71503@yahoo.com Posted Fri December 28, 2007 @ 12:06 AM

I bought a couple of these for X-Mas gifts from Wal-Mart as well. It
clearly stated the price of the card on the display and the package
does say activation fee.


by Nate269 Posted Wed December 26, 2007 @ 8:29 PM

Its not really a scam...
They tell you right when you buy it that there is a fee.
If you aren't getting a store gift card, then there is going to be a

You see, the dollar amount goes to Visa, Mastercard, AMEX.... Whatever
company is doing the card.

Then, you pay the activation fee which is profit for the store or
other establishment that sells the cards. That is their cut, their
incentive to offer the card for sale.

So its your choice... Pay the 5% premium for a use anywhere gift card,
or get a store gift card.


by PsychoSekc Posted Mon December 24, 2007 @ 12:52 PM

That's really odd. On all of the Visa gift cards I've seen, they all
state on the front of the package that there is an activation fee and
I'm quite sure that they also state that there is an expiration date.


by ariesrob Posted Sat December 22, 2007 @ 11:06 AM

Also thank you PLANETFEEDBACK. Was it more than just a coincidence
that only a couple of days after posting on here about this debit/gift
card discrepancy that other media forms such as CNN happen to be
addressing this issue also? You have a good thing going here
especially for all of us consumers not mention the fact that you are
also giving retailers the opportunity to make right on things and
stand behind their products. I hope this site never costs us consumers
to use it. I would think you could probably make out with pretty good
commissions from the companies that benefit from this site to see
issues posted here and proceed to clear their name addressing such
issues. Thank you PLANETFEEDBACK.


You're More Than Welcome by Gino Sun December 23, 2007 @ 11:40 PM

I doubt this site had anything to do with it. by Adam W Mon December 24, 2007 @ 10:59 PM
by ariesrob Posted Sat December 22, 2007 @ 10:56 AM

I've gotten a call from an assistant manager at the Lewisburg Walmart
today. He said he will refund the $5.44 purcahse fee to me but can
not refund the full card amount. He suggested instead to use the card
to buy regular bonafide gift cards with it to avoid any of the
potential fees from using it as a visa debit at any other locations
(50 cent fee for each balance inquiry, up to 20% can be charged over
price at restaurants and other fees may be charge by other
establishments for using it there). Thank you Walmart. You've always
had good return policies untill this Visa debit card and you are
obviously trying to work around the red tape and make good on this
too. Thanks again.


Understand pre-authorizations by Nate269 Wed December 26, 2007 @ 8:36 PM

of course he by T. C. Thu December 27, 2007 @ 10:26 PM
by Marty5223 Posted Sat December 22, 2007 @ 9:54 AM

CNN must agree with you! I just saw a story on Headlines News that
says steer clear of these bank and major credit card gift cards. They
recommend going with a stores brand card. They didn't call them a
ripoff but pointed out the extra fees, the fact some expire, and so


by Adam W Posted Thu December 20, 2007 @ 11:31 PM

The problem with these cards is that they have changed the definition
of a "gift card." They are not gift cards at all. They are prepaid
credit cards disguised as gift cards. Massachusetts has had a few
bills go through the Legislature regarding these. None of them have
gone anywhere due to the Visa/Mastercard lobbyists.

I have no problem with prepaid credit cards but to call them a gift
card is very misleading. It's kinda like a pet store trying to sell
you a dog and telling you it's a cat. In essence they are both
family pets and they serve the same function but they are definitely
not the same.


That is interesting by Marty5223 Sat December 22, 2007 @ 9:50 AM

it's not misleading by franese Sun December 23, 2007 @ 1:48 AM

you're right by T. C. Mon December 24, 2007 @ 9:28 PM

by dulynoted Posted Thu December 20, 2007 @ 6:16 PM

While Visa & Master Card gift cards are nice because they can be used
just about anywhere, there is a fee, which by the way is written on
the cardboard it is attached to when you purchase it.

And all gift cards have a service charge once you begin to use them
and let them set for a while without usage.

Yep, give me cash or check cause it don't cost me any more than the
exact amount I am buying. The only thing I am loosing out on is
convenience...and I don't mind that, but the $5 here and there adds up
pretty quickly.


Agreed by Srgntpeppr Fri December 21, 2007 @ 9:37 AM
by Matt Rodman Posted Thu December 20, 2007 @ 4:35 PM

Of course the OP didn't read everything this is America the land of
illiterate nincompoops!


by RowdyRetailer Posted Thu December 20, 2007 @ 9:12 AM

At my Grocery Store we have the same gift card rack. And above EVERY
card is the price. Its a two piece unit that holds the card and has a
place to put a price label on it.

And the Visa and mastercard and AMEX do state their is a fee to
activate the card and the 105.44 is on a tag right above the card.
Perhaps you did not read that.


by SiouxFan Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 11:15 PM

The reason why Visa giftcards have a fee is because you only get that
amount off the card. So Visa charges a fee so they make some profit.

Store giftcards don't have a fee because it is rarely seen that the
person only spends what's on the giftcard, they almost always spend
more. That's what the stores bank on.


Visa makes money on by donno Thu December 20, 2007 @ 3:26 PM

I think they also get the regular processing fee by SiouxFan Fri December 21, 2007 @ 11:07 PM

by Limestaria Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 10:35 PM

Keep in mind as well.. that cash advances cannot be run off of these
cards. That may seem obvious when it's from a retailer such as
Walmart, but perhaps not as obvious as a bank issued Visa gift card.


by Angelic Princess:) Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 2:24 PM

Umm.. almost every retailer sells these Visa gift cards. IF YOU READ
THE CARD.. it SAYS the extra amount is the activation fee. It is
VISA's fault.. NOT the store. This letter should be written to VISA.
::shakes my head::.. yet another person who doesn't take the extra
moment to READ.


who takes reading glasses to the store to read fine print by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:11 PM

actually... by Angelic Princess:) Thu December 20, 2007 @ 10:38 AM

Lord have mercy... by PsychoSekc Mon December 24, 2007 @ 12:57 PM

by Becks Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 1:07 PM

Gift cards ARE a ripoff, I agree.

Give a check. Or cash. Or an actual gift. If people don't purchase the
gift cards and keep griping, eventually they will have to change their


Should be advertised with fee and unreturnable. by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:09 PM
by Nicole F Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 11:47 AM

I dislike VISA/MC/AMEX gift cards. They are annoying to have to ring
up because the registers treat the cards as credit cards. A lot of
stores do not accept two credit cards on one salescheck, so it's a
hassle trying to get the customer to either buy a store gift card
using the credit card gift card to use on their purchase or have them
pay via check/cash. Annoying.

Oh yeah--make sure you hang on to those credit card branded gift
cards! If you have to make a return, it goes right back onto the card!
Some people don't realize this and throw the card away. Many people
have given their used gift cards to me even after I've told them that
refunds go back on the card. I've even had to deal with one angry
customer who gave me their card and told me to throw it away and one
week later had to have a refund on it. (Funny how I ended up serving
him both times.) Thank god I kept the cards in a secure file, just
waiting for something like this to happen.

I think the terms are located on the back of the card. Perhaps they
need to make it clearer that you are paying a fee at the register, so
you have chance to change your mind and decline the purchase. Maybe
the terms are located on the receipt as well?

Good luck.


Hey Nicole Thanks for all the great tips by Marty5223 Wed December 19, 2007 @ 1:33 PM

terms on receipt? that's part of the problem by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:14 PM

can be stopped at point of sale by T. C. Thu December 27, 2007 @ 10:22 PM

by Stoic LadyMac Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 11:06 AM

You're right... it's much better to give someone a gift that they have
to pay to use. /sarcasm.

Someone has to pay the activation fee when the card has a Visa or
Mastercard logo ~ if it's not you, it's your recipient. I can't
imagine giving someone a $100 gift card and then expecting them to pay
$5 to use it.

Tres tacky.


they should advertise the fee by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:17 PM

by MA Loper Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 10:22 AM

this isn't even about WalMart, it's about Visa. They have WalMart
gift cards that are sold at face value, these just aren't them.

What you are paying for is the convenience of using this card anywhere
Visa is accepted. Access to their networks apparently costs money.

The State of Ohio recently passed legislation stating that store gift
cards had to be good for AT LEAST 2 years and could not accrue fees.
These Visa cards were not included in that law.

Next time go to WalGreens or Giant Eagle and buy a specific gift card.
They have all different stores and there is no fee.


it certainly is about walmart by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:18 PM

It is not a "WalMart" giftcard, though by MA Loper Thu December 20, 2007 @ 10:46 AM

again it is not shady business by T. C. Thu December 27, 2007 @ 10:28 PM
by Richard S. Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 9:35 AM

The fees are not set by Walmart. If you read the terms on the back of
the card first you will see that the cards issued by Visa/MC or Amex
have a fee with the purchase of the card. Some of them actually have a
monthly fee as well.

All these terms are stated on the back of the card. If you do not want
to pay these fees then do not buy the card.


then why does walmart handle these with walmart's name on them? by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:20 PM

by Marty5223 Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 9:00 AM

I agree these ViSA, AM X Cards, and similar Gift Cards might not be
all they are cracked up to be. Store cards or cash seem to be the way
to go for gifts.

I just bought 5 of them from AM X. They actually advertise never
expire....however they charge 2 dollars aa month for not using it (yet
will waive this charge the first year)

One reason I purchased 5 was I needed 4 for gifts and there was a
special that said on my online AM X web site that if you purchased 5
you would get a 25 dollar Gadet AM X gift card. It went on to say
that when you placed your order they would provide details on your
confirmation page. (That did not happen...no where including when the
cards were delivered was that offer ever mentioned again). I called
AM X and was told a link should of popped up. I said it did not and
was bounced to two more depts. The last one being the fullfillment
center where I had no choice but leave my name and phone number with a
message. By the time they called back the next day I had found the
rebate form myself and downloaded. I told the caller about the problem
and they could care less that the web site said one thing and nothing
appeared about the offer.

Am X goes on to say valid virtually everywhere AM X is taken you can
use it. I just activiated one of the cards myself. When you flip the
card over it exludes Gas stations, ATMs, casinos, and travel industry.
Some of these are on the online exclusions but gasoline was not
listed when I made my purchase.

The real kicker to me is that if the item or charge is more than the
value of the gift card you might or might not be able to use it per
the agreement. Only if the merchant allows dual payment methods will
it work. It goes on to say often when that is the case you must pay
cash or check for the difference. An oh yeah...tells you to be sure
to pay that part first and only have the remaining balance on the card
keyed lastly if allowed.

The next nice thing is AM X explains that many food establishments
ring up to 20% over your food bill as a hold on your card. It says
that this could make the cost more than your balance and cause you not
to be allowed to use the card at that time. It suggest you request
the business only ring the exact amount of the charge. IT said
otherwise you must wait until the charge comes through for a
correction to be made.

By the way AM X did waive the fee on their cards. They range from
3.95 to 4.95 for each card.

I suspect the reason we pay these fees is all credit cards collect
from the merchant from 4% to 7% of what you charge on a card as a fee.
I suspect since these are not Credit Cards or ATM Cards they can't
collect the fee from the merchant so they are collecting in from Joe
Public (you and me).

Anyway I feel certain some of this above stuff will apply to the
person you are giving the person this Visa Gift Card.

Tis the Season.

by Brian D. Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 7:43 AM

LIke someone already mentioned, it IS NOT WalMart that charges this
fee, they only collect it.

Right on the back of these cards it the fee is mentioned.

If you had bought a standard store gift card there would have been no


no reason to think it wasn't like other gift cards by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:28 PM

Smart people read the fine print by Richard S. Thu December 20, 2007 @ 2:34 PM

by Gino Posted Wed December 19, 2007 @ 12:05 AM

One Way Or The Other, you're going to pay a fee. Get a debit card at a
bank, and voila, you get a fee. Buy a Visa or American Express gift
card, and you'll pay more than the value of the gift card up front for
the privelege of not having your credit checked.

Take your own advice, give cash.


but most gift cards have no extra fee by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:30 PM

You blame the store for not advertising.... by Richard S. Thu December 20, 2007 @ 2:31 PM

by T. C. Posted Tue December 18, 2007 @ 11:12 PM

Don't be stupid! Read the card. It is there in black and white. I
know we sell the cards as well.


its not in black and white by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:32 PM

do not need by T. C. Wed December 19, 2007 @ 10:02 PM

Who's stupid? by RedheadwGlasses Thu December 20, 2007 @ 1:36 PM

What the hell kind of logic is that? by Adam D Fri December 21, 2007 @ 1:10 AM

by Limestaria Posted Tue December 18, 2007 @ 7:59 PM

The purchase fee on these "gift cards" are not necessarily assessed by
the company you are purchasing them from. The fee is often charged by


by RedheadwGlasses Posted Tue December 18, 2007 @ 6:25 PM

If you were unaware of the fee until it had been purchased, I believe
they should let you return the card, including the $5+ fee. If you
were told BEFORE the transaction was complete, well, that was your
opportunity to make a choice: purchase the card and pay the fee, or
don't purchase the card.

Looks like retailers/merchants have found away around new legislation
that prohibits deducting "maintenance fees" from cards that aren't
being used quickly enough (or that don't get used at all for a very
long time).

Vote with your dollar: Refuse to purchase gift cards or gift
certificates that include a fee.

By the way, in some states, it's now ILLEGAL to have an expiration
date on gift cards. Find out if that's the case in your state. Here
in Minnesota, gift cards purchased as of a certain date (some time in
2006, I believe) can't ever expire and can't have any fees of any kind
charged to them on behalf of the issuer.


by PaintedLady Posted Tue December 18, 2007 @ 5:28 PM

I just stopped into Walmart a little while ago, and while standing in
line right next to the gift card display I noticed the Visa Gift Cards
(along with Chili's, Red Lobster, Itunes, etc.) on a hook with a price
of $5+....I was thinking that it was going to be a problem with people
thinking they got a $100 gift card for $5. Anywho, it must be a
problem with your location, as they are clearly marked at the one near
When you figure that the extra charge is all Walmart makes on them,
it's not such a bad deal; it's more convenient for the consumer to get
a bunch of cards for different places in one stop.


They're not marked in my town by ariesrob Tue December 18, 2007 @ 5:41 PM

you can't really compare a red lobster card to a by T. C. Thu December 27, 2007 @ 10:18 PM

by Harleycat Posted Tue December 18, 2007 @ 2:48 PM

If this is a Visa debit card that can be used anywhere and not just at
WalMart than the $5.44 is the fee WalMart charges to stock and
activate these cards for you and it is quite common. The only time
you don't get charged a fee is if you buy a WalMart gift card that can
only be used at Walmart. Also, if you don't use it in time the money
is forfeited to Visa not WalMart. This varies from state to state,
check your local laws.

My supermarket has gifts cards to just about everywhere and they all
charge a fee. If I don't want to pay the fee I need to go to that
store (ie: Old Navy) and buy the card directly from them. Otherwise I
pay a convenience fee.


unadvertised fee by ariesrob Tue December 18, 2007 @ 3:54 PM

not the red lobster card there by ariesrob Wed December 19, 2007 @ 8:35 PM
by ariesrob Posted Tue December 18, 2007 @ 2:12 PM

I've even called the Walmart where I purchased this card and they said
due to store policy I can not return it for refund and there is
nothing they can do there at the Lewisburg, PA. Walmart store. They
just told me to call the number 866-633-9096 on the card about it.
That number is automated and only applies to press 1 for account
balance and transaction history, press 2 for cards lost or stolen,
press for gift card frequently asked questions. Just call this number
sometime and hear all the crap they tell you. They sure do rip you
off. You can even be charged more then the amount of what you try to
purchase with it to cover additional charges for the use of it that
Walmart may incur by you using the card. You can also be charged 5o
cents off the card each time to speak to a representative to inquire
about its balance. Also if you wish to have the balance of the card
sent by check to you, you have to pay an additional fee out of the
balance for it. They rip you off more ways than you can imagine on
these cards. By all means please call 1-866-633-9096 and listen to
all the details before making the mistake I did of purchasing one of
these ripoff cards.


NOT A RIPOFF SO SHUT IT DOWN!!! by Tombstone Fri December 31, 2010 @ 4:46 PM

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