Manufactured Spending

Here’s Why Your Visa Gift Cards Are Getting Rejected at Walmart

I was at a local Walmart last weekend, trying to liquidate some gift cards through money order purchases. I came across an issue that I’ve never experienced before and that you all should be aware of if you’re continuing to buy (and activate) gift cards through the mobile app: The app no longer activates gift cards, even though it might appear that way.

I’ve been out of the loop for the past few months, so I had no idea this had become fairly common. A Google search turned up nothing and it wasn’t until I called that I realized there was an issue with the app. Three of my cards got declined in a row, so I got worried. Especially when the mobile app displayed all of the cards as active with $500 balances.

I called and had a very strange exchange with the rep, who claimed he would activate all of my cards “when you get off the phone.” He did point out that if I was using the website to activate cards, I should try using Chrome, because the site was experiencing issues with certain browsers. Uhm, ok. I didn’t have my laptop with me, so I quickly re-activated the cards on my phone browser. It worked! Moral of the story: The mobile app is no longer a reliable source for activating (or checking the status of) a gift card. Go directly to the website instead.

I’m hoping this is a temporary glitch because using the mobile app is way more convenient than the website. Anyway, if you’re still liquidating Visa and MasterCard gift cards from, you need to be aware of this issue. The mobile app may not actually activate your gift cards. Even though you’ll get a message saying they were activated and the full balance is reflected.

After giftcards. com discontinued cash back on Visa gift card purchases, most of you probably aren’t placing as many orders as before. Since the cash back rate for MasterCard gift cards wen up to 1.5%, it absolutely makes sense to keep ordering from the site. Just be aware of the MasterCard gift card liquidation trick

When this happened, I immediately began contemplating alternate ways of earning points and miles. I thought of the Citi checking account offer I was recently targeted for, which could generate 85,000 AAdvantage miles for me. I began tallying up my credit card inquiries and thinking of which cards to apply for next. All of this made me realize I’ll be fine. If things really fall apart and Walmart stops accepting Visa gift cards for money order purchases, I can earn miles in other ways. In fact, just this last month I earned over 85,000 points from Amex Offers alone. It’s best not to depend on a single point-earning method. Always have a back-up plan.

Have you had issues with activating Visa and MasterCard gift cards from What do you plan on doing in case of a shut-down?]

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  1. K Johnson

    No problems activating the cards by calling the number on the back of the cards.

  2. None of the several Walmarts anywhere close to me will take the visa gift cards anymore. Any thoughts on other ways to liquidate, besides just spending them, which I’m doing for free ones I bought from staples.

  3. I too had a problem with the cards activating by calling in. I would pick these up at the mailbox, sit in the parking lot of WM, and call the number on the card, punch in the number and CVC. “Your card is now ready…..” Nope, it wasn’t. At WM I got the dreaded “Please Use Alternate …” I had to go online back at home on the laptop to actually get them activated. I started using GCMall as their cards were activated. Only when I needed to maximize points did I continue to use I figure the actual cost of a $100 hotel bill is now $78 when buying cards with a 2x bonus when buying from GCM. I plan to upgrade my Arrival Plus to the Premier card where there is some possibility of an upsized reward on flights. Barclay needs a 3x card.

  4. With redeeming MC GC, anyone thought about paying bill with Plastiq via Masterpass? $250 free and just make multiple payments.

  5. I only have 1 Walmart nearby. The clerks have recently been trained to ask to see the cards, to say no if giftcard is printed anywhere on the card, and to look carefully st your hands while you’re swiping. I’ve given up on this MS technique for now (& I’m pretty jealous of anyone who can still do it at WM).

  6. Beach Miles

    Why did you have Visa gift cards from gift

  7. I believe because they print your name on the card. But there is also the word Giftcard printed on the top right hand side of the card.

  8. R Phillips

    A little nail polish remover or pure acetone and a q-tip does a real nice job taking the words gift card off.

  9. Okay, wow! Thanks!

  10. Hey Ariana! I too was out of the mix for a while. My formally MS friendly WM where everyone knew me, now limits MOs to 2k per day from the former 10k. Makes it a huge pain. I also was getting a #12 error when I tried to use the Visa cards by entering the last 4 digits as the pin. I found that if you change the pin to a custom one, this makes it so the card will work.

  11. Beach Miles

    What I meant was, are you getting cash back on Visa gift cards , from GC .com. Please tell us more.

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  13. None of the Walmarts in my area will accept gift cards anymore. So unfortunate; Walmart was the best place for liquidating VGC.

  14. Totally unrelated question but which banks do you recommend for depositing money orders i bank with Wells and wanted to separate my every day banking from my manufactured spending

    • I would actually recommend WF – they don’t have any credit cards I want so I don’t even care if they shut me down. I keep that solely for MS purposes. If I were you, I’d switch my banking activities elsewhere.

  15. I’m somewhat of an MS newbie and I have low income so I really only MS to clear the occasional cc bonus. Anyway, I tried to liquidate a Visa gc at Walmart and it was declined. So, a week or so later, I tried at another Walmart and it was declined again. So, I went home and figured I’d double check the balances so I could liquidate them through spend and the one $500 gc was spent down to a balance of $19.11.

    So, someone at Walmart got the PIN and used the gc. I immediately registered and sent in m dispute form. Has anyone else had an experience ilke this? Am I at risk for not receiving a replacement card, because I attempted MS?

    Thank you ahead of time for any responses.

  16. Just curious what cards everyone is using to buy GCs. I use CIP and CIC to get me 5x UR at office supply stores. Only issue is that I am capped at 75k (50+25). Besides the Amex Blue Cash preferred that is capped at 6k in grocery spending, Im not aware of any other card that would net positive rewards after fees.

    • How in the heck are you able to spend 75k at office supply stores on GCs? Are you saying 75k dollars? I’m confused.

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