People with Wal-Mart’s MoneyCard continue to have trouble accessing their funds, despite comments from the card’s operator, GreenDot, that the issue was resolved Wednesday evening. Several customers have reported going five days without being able to use their money.
Nearly 600 frustrated customers have joined a Facebook group Wal-Mart Money Card Exodus since it was created Wednesday evening, about two days after people started experiencing problems, and the page is filled with troubling stories of people who haven’t been able to pay bills, buy food or put gas in their cars because of the MoneyCard glitches. Plenty of people have posted updates to the page saying they now have access to their funds, but that’s not the case for everyone.
Cessari Gaines started crying as she explained she hasn’t been able to make her car payment, and her phone payment doesn’t seem to be going through, either. Gaines, of Lonoke, Arkansas, said she has had to borrow money from co-workers to buy necessities, but she’s worried about losing her car or her phone getting cut off. She just got paid this morning, and even though her direct deposit shows up on her MoneyCard account summary, she hasn’t been able to use it.
“It’s making me feel like I have no control over the situation,” Gaines said. “I’m starting to get behind on bills that I need to take care of.”
There are a lot of stories like Gaines’ in the Facebook group: People say they can’t buy medication they need and that their utilities are being shut off after declined payments. Customer service is another common complaint, with users complaining about dealing with long hold times and getting conflicting explanations on what’s going on and when it will be fixed. Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Credit.com. Here’s what Green Dot told Credit.com yesterday when first asked about these issues:
“While we are still investigating a small number of complaints received Tuesday related to the inability to spend funds, actual customer transactional data indicates that the vast majority of customers were able to use their cards during this period of time, including for ATM cash withdrawals, purchases and the crediting of deposits,” the company said in an email. “While impacted customers may have reached out through other channels, less than 100 customers in total over the aggregate three-day period lodged complaints on Green Dot’s social media channels.”
Green Dot attributed those problems to a processor conversion that happened last weekend. The company has been silent on social media since May 18, has not issued a news release on the matter and has not yet today responded to multiple requests for comment from Credit.com.
Meanwhile, customers continue to report all sorts of problems. Leah Ray of Benham Springs, Louisiana, checked her account balance this morning, and it showed two different balances ($0 and -$324) on the same page. Neither was correct. She said she should have about $1,100 in her account, but that’s not what it says, so she had to ask her husband to mail her checks. He’s working in Nebraska, and it took two days for the checks to arrive, at which point she could buy the things her family needs.
Ray last tried to use her MoneyCard Wednesday evening, after she got off the phone with a customer service representative who told her the card should be working. After it was declined twice, Ray stopped trying. She said she’s lucky, considering what some people seem to be going through, but she’s still not sure where her money is, and she and her husband had to use a lot of their reserves to make sure they stay on top of their bills.
Kelly Ramirez of Post Falls, Idaho, said she last tried to use her card this morning, and it was declined.
“Even though we know there’s money on the account, it is showing that our balance is -$100, which doesn’t make any sense,” she said.
Ramirez said her husband has always been wary of banks, so they’ve been MoneyCard holders for years, but on Wednesday, they opened up a traditional bank account.
“We’ll no longer have a prepaid card,” she said.
This week’s issues are the first time in more than 4 years as a customer that she’s had trouble using MoneyCard. Both Gaines and Ray also said they have also been customers for years and never had trouble with MoneyCard prior to this week. In fact, they all said the same thing about why they used the service: convenience. Now, they all say they’re planning to cancel their accounts as soon as they get their money.
Ray and Ramirez both had cash on hand for emergencies, and this experience reinforced the importance of that practice. Gaines said she’s going to open a bank account, but she can’t do that until she has money to deposit in one.
Having money in more than one place, whether that’s multiple accounts or a cash stash, is a good idea (as these customers’ experiences show). A credit card can also serve as a good emergency back up, keeping in mind that paying off the balance as soon as possible is important if you want to avoid going into costly debt. Even consumers with bad credit can get credit cards (they can actually help you build credit), but you’ll want to make this decision carefully and check your credit before applying for any new accounts. You can get two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.
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