The prepaid Walmart MoneyCard: Who is it best for?

May 11, 2020

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Walmart MoneyCard overview

The Walmart MoneyCard is a prepaid debit card that earns cash-back rewards. Although it’s certainly not the right card for anyone looking to maximize rewards or build credit, it is an option for those who do not want a credit card but still want to earn cash back on purchases.  Card Rating*: ⭐⭐½

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

 

At TPG, we are big fans of credit cards. Building credit is important to your overall financial health, and the right credit cards paired with responsible spending habits can help you reach financial goals, take (mostly) free trips and more. But while we recommend credit cards to those who can qualify and take advantage of the benefits that credit cards offer, they aren’t always the best choice.

If you are looking for a way to earn cash-back rewards on Walmart purchases without needing a credit account, the Walmart MoneyCard could be a potential option.

The information for the Walmart MoneyCard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

The Walmart MoneyCard is a prepaid debit card that is best suited for those who can’t apply for (or do not want) a credit card. There are a lot of reasons someone may not want or need a credit card — for example, a minor who wants to practice managing money and earning rewards but can’t apply for a card yet, or a person who does not trust himself (or herself) with a line of credit or who is paying down a lot of debt and won’t qualify for a credit card that earns rewards.

This card is also an option if you don’t have a standard bank account. Because you can reload your card with direct deposit or load your card with personal checks, payroll checks, insurance agency checks, money orders, cashier’s checks, government checks and more, it functions as a checking account of sorts if you cannot get a standard account at a bank for some reason.

In those cases, the Walmart MoneyCard is an option. You have the opportunity to earn up to $75 in cash back per year (which isn’t anything to write home about, but is definitely better than nothing).

Related reading: What are prepaid cards? 

(Photo by TennesseePhotographer/Getty Images)
(Photo by TennesseePhotographer/Getty Images)

Sign-up bonus

This is a prepaid debit card, so you won’t earn a sign-up bonus when you get the card.

Main benefits

This prepaid debit card — which can be used anywhere Mastercard or Visa is accepted — provides function over flair, so you aren’t getting benefits like you would with credit cards. And there is one feature that could help those who need early access to their paychecks to pay bills, buy groceries or make ends meet.

With the Walmart MoneyCard, you can get your paycheck up to two days in advance or your government benefits up to four days in advance. When you set up direct deposit with your card, you might be eligible for this benefit. In that case, Walmart will credit the amount to your card when they receive payment instructions from your employer or the benefits provider rather than on payday.

How early you can get your paycheck or benefits depends on when payment instructions are sent to Walmart, but it can be a nice perk for those who qualify and have employers or benefits providers who send instructions early.

Another feature is the 2% annual interest savings account that you can get as a free feature with the card. When you move money into that account, it isn’t available for immediate spending  with your card, but you can move money in and out of your savings account as often as your like, subject to security limits.

There are some fees that are associated with using the card:

  • $5.94 monthly fee to hold the card*
  • $2.50 per ATM withdrawal
  • $5.95 per cash reload**
  • 50 cents for an ATM balance inquiry

*No monthly fee if you loaded $1,000 or more in previous monthly period.
**This fee can be lower depending on how and where this card is used.

You can avoid the cash-reload fee by using the MoneyCard app at Walmart stores.

Related reading: Best checking accounts 

Earning rewards

The Walmart MoneyCard offers a way for eligible cardholders to earn rewards on purchases. You’ll earn 3% cash back on qualifying purchases made at Walmart.com; 2% back at Murphy USA gas stations, and 1% on Walmart in-store purchases. For those who shop online at Walmart frequently, this isn’t a bad cash-back rewards structure. But there is a massive downside — you can only earn up to $75 in total rewards per year.

Related reading: The best cash-back credit cards for 2020

Redeeming rewards

Your redemption options with this card are also abysmal. You’ll get your rewards credited to your account once per year, similar to the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. The cash back is credited to your account, so you can use it like you would any deposit.

Is the Walmart MoneyCard worth it?

If you can qualify for a credit card, I’d highly recommend going that route. From a rewards-earning standpoint, this card is disappointing on every front — you can only earn rewards at Walmart, there is a very low rewards cap and you only receive rewards once per year. And because it’s a prepaid card, you can’t use it to build credit, since your activity isn’t reported to any bureaus. Its strength lies in its easy availability, versatility for those who don’t have a standard bank account and its ASAP Direct Deposit program that allows you to receive paychecks and government assistance a few days early.

(Photo by Orli Friedman / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Orli Friedman / The Points Guy)

This card could be a valuable tool for money saving and personal finance budgeting for some, but it’s not going to be a worthwhile rewards-earning card for the majority of people. If you are looking for a card to use exclusively at Walmart, you can get a Walmart Rewards Card to earn 5x on Walmart.com and 2x in-store and at Walmart gas stations (including Murphy USA locations). For more general grocery store purchases, there are also a lot of cards that offer rewards on groceries — especially right now.

Card alternatives

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Other options that will earn rewards across additional purchases and provide more redemption flexibility include the Citi® Double Cash Card which charges no annual fee and offers a flat-rate rewards across purchases (up to 2%; 1% when you buy, plus 1% as you pay).

Related reading: Citi Double Cash card review

You’ll also be able to redeem those rewards as cash back, or transfer them to a more valuable rewards currency if you have a pairable credit card.

Related reading: The power of the Chase Trifecta: Sapphire Reserve, Ink Preferred and Freedom Unlimited

Bottom line

For travelers, points-and-miles enthusiasts and those who don’t need the card’s specific benefits, this card is not a great option. But because of its savings account feature, rewards capability (which is rare on a prepaid card) and direct deposit feature for early payday and government assistance, it is a valuable option within its own category. If you fall into the first category, you’ll want to look elsewhere. If you are in search of a debit card that can help you manage your finances and make ends meet, this is a solid option.

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.