Walmart limits and thresholds

Because of the ongoing roll-out of CVS's "cash-only" policy for most prepaid reloadable products, you may be foreseeing more visits to Walmart in your future. Here's a quick reminder of some Walmart transaction limits you should be aware of before you go, to avoid any potentially embarrassing surprises at the register.

Bluebird loads

Just because Vanilla Reload Network reload cards (at CVS) are dead doesn't mean Bluebird is. You can still load up to $1,000 per calendar day, per account, at any Walmart register using a PIN-enabled debit card, up to $5,000 per calendar month.

You can split your load amount between multiple PIN-enabled debit cards. However, you can only use 3 debit cards per load transaction because of Walmart's 4-swipe-per-transaction limit (swiping the Bluebird card counts as one of your 4 swipes).

You're allowed unlimited load transactions, so this limit isn't a problem as long as you don't mind monopolizing your cashier for a few minutes.

Gobank loads

If Gobank never got around to shutting you down, you can still use PIN-enabled debit cards to load your account for free any any Walmart register, up to $1,100 per transaction and $2,500 per day, with no monthly limit (until you get shut down). If you never opened a Gobank account, now's as good a time as any to try it out!

You can read all my reports on Gobank here.

Money Orders

Walmart accepts PIN-enabled debit cards as a method of payment for MoneyGram money orders. You can purchase money orders for up to $1,000 at a cost which seems to vary slightly regionally, but is typically $0.70 per money order.

You can purchase as many money orders as you like in one transaction. However, you must still abide by the 4-swipe-per-transaction limit mentioned above. For example, using 4 PIN-enabled debit cards with $500 balances, you would be able to buy 2 money orders for $999.30 each (or one for $1,000 and one for $998.60. Mix and match to taste).

Bill Payments

While it's no longer possible to pay American Express credit cards through Walmart's partnership with CheckFreePay, you can still pay your Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cards at any Walmart Money (or Customer Service) Center. Check out my 5-part series for more information if you're unclear on this technique.

You can make bill payments in any amount up to at least $9,999.99, but you must still abide by the 4-swipe-per-transaction rule.

Additionally, when making large bill payments, you may encounter...

Additional Reporting Requirements

As a money transmitter, Walmart has to abide by certain internal corporate and federal anti-money-laundering regulations. The most important of these is that for transactions involving more than $2,500 in cash or cash equivalents, Walmart collects certain personal information, including (most sensitively) driver's license and Social Security numbers, among other bits of vital information.

While I obviously have nothing to hide about my activities (I write a blog about them!), I still prefer to avoid this time-consuming hassle so tend to make bill payments below the $2,500 threshold. That's a personal preference though, and you may find it more convenient to make larger bill payments instead. If so, you may need to...

Mix and match PIN-enabled debit cards

One of the oddest pieces of conventional "wisdom" bandied about the travel hacking community is the idea that the 4-swipe-per-transaction limit for some reason imposes a $2,000 limit on PIN-based transactions.

That's an artifact of the fact that many people seem to rely exclusively on $500 Visa cards — and it's ridiculous. I have lots of PIN-enabled debit cards that can have balances above $500, and by mixing and matching, I can do PIN-based Walmart transactions well above $2,000.

For example, my PayPal Business Debit MasterCard allows up to $3,000 in purchases each day. Together with 3 $500 PIN-enabled Visa debit cards, I could make a bill payment of up to $4,498.12 (because of the $1.88 bill pay fee). I have US Bank, Nationwide, and TD Go Visa Buxx cards, all of which have daily transaction limits above $500.


The rules of the travel hacking game are always changing, but the nature of the game is always the same: your job is to find the combinations of merchants and products, hotels and airlines, cards and accounts, that get you where you want to be as quickly and cheaply as possible, whether it's the Maldives, Disneyland, or retirement.

CVS has fussed around with the rules, but it can't change the nature of the game.