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An Update on THAT Walmart Incident

No, I’m not referring to the bizarre incident where a customer tried to return this plastic corn after  her grandson bought it, thinking it was real. A few weeks ago I wrote about a run-in with the Asset Protection team at Walmart. One of the Asset Protection Associates had seen buying money orders at another Walmart and had assumed I was up to something. He alerted his colleague, they rushed in, and basically accused me of making multiple trips to the same store in order to avoid filling out the FinCen form required for purchases over $3,000. I spoke to the associate at length and he told me he’d research the store’s policy about splitting a $10,000 purchase across five transactions. At first, he thought it was ok as long as it was during one visit and I filled out the paperwork. Then he seemed unsure, so he told me to come back the following Saturday and he’d notify the entire staff about it.

Multiple Walmart Money Orders for Manufactured Spending

I wasn’t able to return that weekend, and when stopped by the store before heading off to Chicago, my regular cashier spotted me in line and said the money order machine was broken. I finally went back to the store on Tuesday and the same cashier who was there during the incident helped me out, along with the store manager. The manager is a really nice guy and has always been ok with my money order purchases. I was relived when he didn’t object to a $10,000 purchase split across 5 transactions. 

When I was done with money orders, I asked him if it was possible to pay bills and use more than one payment form. In the past, none of the cashiers were able to figure that out – in fact, the last time I tried, the cashier couldn’t even find Discover in their system. He said he knew how to do it and then proceeded to process my bill payment. He noted, “Normally we don’t allow multiple payment form, but I’ll do it for you.” He pointed out that there are some shady characters who try to commit fraud with these cards but, “We haven’t heard anything bad about you, so I trust you.” I had a few more bills to pay, but decided to go to the other store to test if it was safe to go back there.

I went to the store where I had my initial run-in with the Asset Protection Associate. It’s the same store where the surly cashier told me I could only make money order purchases in a single transaction and that I couldn’t make payments on credit cards that didn’t belong to me. During my conversation with the Asset Protection Associate, he claimed the first part was not true. As long as I did it all in one visit, I could split my purchases across five transactions. Anyway, the same obnoxious cashier was working and he had the usual attitude problem.

However, to my surprise he didn’t ask for my ID when I asked to pay my Discover bill. This is the same guy who had insisted during the previous visit that I present my ID and that it needed to match my card. Maybe it was his bad mood, but he wasn’t enforcing the rules that day. I asked if the Asset Protection guy was around and he sad no, that he hadn’t seen him in a couple of days. Since it had been well over a week since my conversation with the Asset Protection guy and neither store gave me any trouble for bill pay or money order purchases, I assume it has all been worked out.

This is a big relief since I’m trying to ramp up my manufactured spending efforts in the next couple of months and will need things to be easier going forward. Thankfully, I’m back in everyone’s good graces and can continue to not only buy money orders, but now I can do bill pay at both locations. 

Anyway, I thought I’d provide an update for those folks who wondered how it all turned out.

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Ariana Arghandewal

24 Comments

  1. How do you liquidate the money orders? I’m reading up on MS and I’ve only read that banks get weird when you try to deposit many money orders.

  2. I am dipping my toe into MS. I ordered a modest gift card from giftcards.com to test the processes out using your Yazing portal link, thanks for being so comprehensive with your blog. And your Calais post was beautiful.

  3. Becareful of the BP rout. Once you pass a certain level, things get squirrely. Small time players will be fine but when you get into the 150-200k range there is a chance you hit their radar for a shutdown.

    • At my store, the cashiers can’t pull up anything other than Discover. But I know folks who’ve paid Citi and Barclays (and got their Barclays Arrival accounts shut down).

  4. So interesting the variances between states, cities and individual stores. Tried to use Bill pay at Walmart with a debit card. … She looked at me like I was from another planet. Have you ever done bill pay with a debit card and skipped the money order process?

  5. Last weekend the MoneyCenter cashier wouldn’t let me do two transactions for MOs. He whipped out some handbook that said all MOs need to be on the same receipt/transaction. He didn’t care that you can only do $2k in a single transaction/receipt.

  6. I don’t know how you get away with it. At my local supermarket they are always turning me down because they say that it’s a gift card and according to them it’s not allowed.

  7. Hello, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog for the last several months. I’m starting to ramp up my MS. I really haven’t been doing much yet. I was curious, how much is too much you think before getting shutdown? I’d like to MS UR and SPG points through giftcards.com and was wondering if $4000 a week per card is too much or if I have room for more. Thanks!

    • Now that Amex has made it pretty clear that you can’t buy reloadable cards or GCs for bonus offers I wouldn’t be surprised if they shutdown your account and trashed all your points. At least with Chase if they shut you down they give you a month to transfer out your earned points, though you may lose the points from the pending statement period. I used to do SPG but not anymore. And I can’t even remember the last time I MS’d on any Chase product. I have a legit business and I value my Chase relationship.

  8. I have a large property tax payment coming up, and I’m thinking of using Walmart MOs purchased with VGCs. I understand I can use a max of four per transaction, but what demonination of MOs are you purchasing? Your beginners guide says Walmart’s max is $1000, but this post has a picture of five MOs and mentions $10K spread over five transactions.

    Thanks for all your advice!

    • The $1k max refers to the fact that each money order cannot be more than $1k. I usually buy $2k per transaction and split payment across four $500 cards, paying the fee in cash.

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