Manufactured Spending

Walmart’s Weird New Money Order Purchase Process

A few weeks ago, I noticed something strange when buying money orders at Walmart. As you all know, when your purchase exceeds $3,000, you have to provide personal information so that law enforcement tracks your transaction. Previously, this involved filling out a FinCen10 form. Recently, Walmart got rid of the paperwork and instead its cashiers would type the info into the computer.  The computers at my location are pretty slow and difficult to type into, so this process took a long time. But recently I noticed it’s been sped up a little which makes me wonder why they’re even doing it.

What is Walmart doing differently? They’re no longer asking for a social security number. Cashiers are still asking for a driver’s license, which means your name and address are still recorded. A while back, they stopped asking for employment information but my SSN was still being requested on the PIN pad. Now that’s not the case anymore, which makes me wonder if transactions are still being reported. And if not, then why go through the hassle? If it’s just to deter people from buying money orders, that’s a lot of trouble to go through for that purpose.

It’s not a huge thing but I thought I’d share it and get feedback from others who may know more than I do. Why is Walmart significantly cutting back on (and even eliminating) reporting information?  Is it because they realize these $2,000 transactions don’t need to be reported but still want to make customers jump through a few hoops? If you have any thoughts, please share in the comment section.

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31 Comments

  1. My Walmart you need id for any amount MO. Only one transaction allowed. Wish they allowed more. It is a lot of work for cashiers entering all the info into the system !

  2. Time is money to a drug cartel money launderer with 5,000,000 $200 Visa gift cards to liquidate before the statement date.

  3. I think the issue has always been about money laundering by criminals using stolen credit cards. So my guess is they are doing this as a deterrent for that kind of activity. I am a low level player in the gift card churning game and rarely churn more than a 1000.00at at a time. I noticed when I would get a 999.12 money order they would not ask me for ID. But 1000.00 or more and they would .

    • To a degree, yes. But at my location I was told corporate wanted to cut out the gamers because it was becoming difficult to differentiate between the two groups. Since people trying to earn miles won’t like the hassle they have to put up with now, they’ll likely step away and the criminals become easier to spot.

  4. I have no problem with Walmart capturing this information, but come on, reprogram your POS system so the poor cashiers can scan the information on my drivers license instead of typing it in each time.

  5. Richard Roper

    Perhaps they’ve tied/stored your DL to your SSN at some point, so they already have it and do not need to ask for it any longer.

  6. So I’m guessing this change is at every walmart now, even though i only really visit my regulars and the bordering states sometimes. Anyways, with my visits i noticed they changed from asking for SSN occasionally, or making me fill out the paper form occasionally, to consistently asking for drivers license ONLY when the purchase is $1000 or over. Its not up to the cashiers, the system automatically prompts it, and many of my locals did not even know about the overnight change lol. Anyways I did some reading up and asked some people I know who work for walmart and they said that the info does not get reported, but it is logged in walmarts system to put a cap on purchases within a 24 hr period (which sucks but oh well. The cap is $8000. However, if you liquidate in mass like myself, you can get around this little hiccup (if you have an alternate ID) by using your license until the cap, and then switching over to another approved ID (i use my passport). So I can still do almost 20k/day and that works well for me.

    • So Jeremy , we can still purchase the pin enable gift cards via one of the two websites, pay for the activation fee and shipping and then go to Walmart and buy mo?

      Sorry for the basic questions this is my first time.

      • Yes Ken, you can. The process is still very alive and well.

        • Hi Jeremy,

          Thanks for letting me know. I just recently bought my first $500 VGC via gc.com. However, I Found out about their fee free promo code and bought another $1k on 12/31.

          But here is the thing, my 1st $500 was purchase on 12/27 and I received an email stating that I should receive my card between Jan 3rd and Jan 8th. (Still

          The fee free $1 k order was placed on 12/31 and I have not received an email with the estimated ship date.

          So here is my main questions:

          1) it’s seems that gc.com takes a few days to process a vgc and was wondering if everyone else experience the same eta?

          2) how much revenue do you purchase a month from gc.com?

          3) what’s the most you have ever purchased ever on gc.com in one day?

          Please let me know and I look forward to the answer.

          Thanks!

          Ken

          • Ken,

            I know nothing about gc.com as I have never ordered through them. I have always had great experience with giftcardmall.com and just ordering through the simon mall website (which is giftcardmall), whenever they run their $0 fee promos. As far as the revenue question, not sure I understand completely. I usually cycle through about 140k or more per month and i split it between mainly 3 cards that I favor the most (cash, travel, and hotel). I pretty much buy the maximum $9,624 limit from gcm daily. However, you’ve gotta know how to spend in between the lines.

        • Hi Jeremy,

          Thank you answering that question.

          Now, as far as Simon is concerned. How do you procure it and cover the cost of the activation fee?

          Meaning do you go to ebates or yanzig or another shopping portal?

      • Hi Jeremy,

        So how do you liquidate 140k a month? Or is that all liquidated with Walmart MOs?

    • you can use another ID to get $8k more per day? that’s kind of crazy. I ran into the $8k-24hour limit accidentally when I did 1 run in the afternoon and another money order run the next morning. the cashier told met that I bought my limit already, but he didn’t seem to know what the limit was.

      did some googling and discovered the same thing that you found: ID required for MO purchases of $1k or more. $8k limit in a rolling 24hr period.

      most of the cashiers in my area ask if I’m going to get a MO for $799…so there must be a handful of people that are playing with office depot VGCs.

  7. Thanks for the info!

  8. Jeremy, how many stores to you have to go to to do 20k in one day?

    • Hi Dave, I usually visit just 2 stores to do 16k per day. Sometimes, if i have the time, I will do additional purchases at those same stores, I just have to do them for $999 to keep it below the $1000 mark so the system is not prompted to ID me again. However, this relies heavily on a built up rapport with the money center folks, because they are not supposed to “split” money order transactions. Cheers!

  9. The Wal Marts in Northern Virginia have completely stopped accepting VGCs for MOs. I was starting to get ID’ed for anything greater than or equal to $1K earlier this year, and after this summer I was told it had to be a CC or a bank-tied Debit card. When I ask to see “the rules”, I get dirty looks. I didn’t MS on a regular basis but was doing it to hit the minimum spend for sign-up bonuses, but I’m done now (at least in NOVA).

  10. Vikram Raggesh

    The only thing NOVA Walmart’s are any good for lately is the tasty selection of tandoori fudi they keep behind the CS register

  11. a few footnotes…. Here in “central” virginia (from Waynesboro to Richmond), I’ve chanced to buy modest # of mo’s over the past month at various WMT locations, and have encountered significant differences in how they’re handled. At the one I use most, I was informed yesterday that any time the mo is for more than $750, but under $1000 (my usual is $899.12), they’ll ask me for the purpose of the mo, without asking me for ID. (at that point I can say anything, usually “paying bills” works just fine, though one South-Asian American mgr at a Richmond location gave me the third degree, and wanted to witness me fill out the pay to line before he would let me have it…. whew) The less infasive strategy of asking for the “purpose” of the mo, without asking for ID seems especially curious — like, what’s the point?

  12. In Arizona, they have to gather personal information for money order purchases over $1,000. The most that you can buy a money order for is $950. I think the maximum you can spend in a day is $10,000.

  13. Are you only allowed one transaction at the register? I can only do one transaction and still only 4 swipes. So, 1 or 2 money orders. Even when I have gotten one MO for $800(4@$200) they take my ID. Very frustrating 🙁

  14. Lin,

    The MO has to be below 1k; so you can figure out the rest from here.

    And my friendly neighborhood stores here in Florida is strict (3k daily limit); however, the trick is finding a few cashiers and build a strong rapport. Once you do, you will notice that quite honestly these cashiers actually DOES NOT CARE how many MOs you buy.

    After I do one just below 1k (2 swipes) and they hand me over my MO with the receipt; I say (Hey Boo, that was so much fun, do you mind if we do another one? Oh you don’t ? Great. You’re my hero. ) Finally, after I have I get my next MO I say (thank you for your hard work and efficiency I greatly appreciate it. Let me know if you need help understanding CCs. Throw up a peace sign and dip.

    Before you take my advice please note that I have never in my entire life ever needed to purchase $10k in MOs on any given day.

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