Walmart’s new Money Order limits: new speed limit enforced [likely nationwide]


Those who have long manufactured spend by using gift cards to purchase money orders at Walmart will now find themselves running into a new roadblock: cashiers are now reportedly being prompted by the register to ask for ID for any money order transactions in excess of $1K (seems to be nationwide) and inputting it into a Walmart database. Furthermore, registers are hard-coded not to allow a customer to purchase more than $8,000 in money orders per 24 hours. While these limits won’t be too restrictive for those simply looking to use this technique to help meet minimum spend now and then, they are a sure blow to those manufacturing spend in volume.

It was reported a few weeks ago by Million Mile Guy that memos had gone out to stores about new money order limits set to take effect on October 16, 2018. However, the 16th came and went without change at many stores — including the one that I frequent most — and thus it seemed business as usual for most.

However, reports have come in both at Million Mile Guy (see his post for screen shots of the memos) and via comments at Doctor of Credit advising of the new limits being in effect at stores in various states around the country as of yesterday, November 1, 2018. This time, it looks like the limits are for real and very likely nationwide (or will be very shortly). The new money order limits at Walmart are as follows:

  • If a customer buys money orders in excess of $1K, the computer will automatically prompt the cashier to enter the customer’s name and driver’s license number into Walmart’s “Know Your Customer” database (previously this happened at $3K)
  • That information in the system hard codes the computer not to allow said customer to purchase more than $8,000 in money orders “in a single day”, which is being defined as a 24-hour period in practice (was previously $10K per calendar day, though this varied by store).
  • The “Know Your Customer” database entry is different from a Suspicious Activity Report, which is collected when a cashier has reason to believe you are up to no good.
  • The key difference between the Know Your Customer entry and the Suspicious Activity Report is that the SAR requests your social security number and is more likely to be shared with authorities for purposes of investigating money laundering, etc.

Additionally, bill pay transactions will now be limited to a rolling $8,000 per 30 days.

A few of my thoughts on this:

  1. Not a big deal for casual MSers. If you’re just doing a thousand here or there to meet minimum spend, this is unlikely to make much a difference in your life. This might even make it easier as you won’t be tempted to do $2K in 4 swipes, which likely attracts more skepticism than $1K in 2 swipes.
  2. Know Your Customer database may be a concern for some and no big deal for others. I’m not excited about the idea of supplying my driver’s license number to Walmart, so I’ll probably look to keep it under $1K. Reports we’ve received indicate that if you buy a MO for $999.12 and the MO fee of $0.88 brings you up to $1K, you’ll have to enter your ID as your transaction will be for $1,000 total. Update: I’ve personally confirmed that an MO + transaction fee that comes to a total of $1K does not trigger the need for ID. Of course, if you regularly buy MOs that fly just under the radar, I’d wonder if an ambitious cashier might want to file a suspicious activity report. It’s sort of a Catch-22 that will likely depend on the relationships you build/have built at your local store(s).
  3. This will make liquidation slow for those doing volume. Since I don’t live particularly close to any stores, I usually spend one day in a larger area once or twice a month making the rounds at a number of stores and can liquidate the volume I need to in one day. Now it will take me twice as long. That’s unfortunate as I often advise people not to get stuck with more in gift cards than you could find a use for if your preferred liquidation methods dried up. To follow my own advice, I would have to reduce my purchasing…which in turn reduces my rewards….or find alternative means of manufactured spend. Luckily . .
  4. We maintain a Complete Guide to Manufactured spending. It lists many other ways to earn points beyond the gift card / money order route. Surely there are additional niche methods that pop up for those keeping their eyes open and ears to the ground. This is a definite speed limit, but hardly the end to MS.

Bottom line

Those who only MS a thousand bucks here or there will likely not be affected by this policy change, whereas the new Walmart Money Order limits are surely a pain for those manufacturing spend in volume as this makes the already-tedious process of liquidation even slower. It also adds an element of hassle for the cashier, which isn’t desirable when stores are busy and lines are long. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look to be store-by-store but rather hard-coded into the system. I do not think this means stores which were previously more restrictive (e.g. did not allow money order purchases with gift cards) will change their tune. In other words, if your store(s) did not allow you to buy MOs before, this memo likely makes no difference for you. But for those with stores that were previously friendly about doing larger volume, this will add a big hurdle to volume liquidation and likely push them to look elsewhere for new methods.

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I just got blocked from using VGC to buy a Money order on Friday. Any news on if things have changed?


At $3,000 the SSN and occupation are required by the BSA of the Patriot Act. This is not a suspicious activity report. You should correct your article as it’s very misleading.


I think it’s disgusting how Wal- Mart parking lots are crammed with cars every day. No hours cut or limits on customers. Too bad they want money more than honoring the rulings against the VIRUS Too bad stupid people are the ones cramming the stores!!! Not just in my town but all over. SHAME


Will the Pay Pal business debit card work with buying money orders at Walmart, to get the one percent back on the card ?


I went to Walmart to get eight different money orders to pay my bills for the month and the average out to about $1,300 and I didn’t have my ID on me and I’m like well she said with you getting $1,000 money order we need your ID I said I’m not getting $1,000 money order I’m getting eight different in order to pay my bills so then she just kept going on I said I’m not even using my debit card I’m paying you in cash so I can send off my bills it was just a big mess so I told her I said don’t even worry about it I end up going to Kroger getting all my money orders without even having to worry about showing ID I was just trying to pay my bills

Kennith Wayne Johnson

I just went to Walmart to do Walmart to Walmart to send money to my kids who are all in college but at different locations. I was told I couldn’t do but one Walmart to Walmart in one day. I know I have done different transfer in a single trip so what is this a new rule or something or is casher being a [edited]

[…] year, Walmart instituted new requirements and restrictions on money order purchases (See: Walmart’s new Money Order limits: new speed limit enforced [likely nationwide]). Specifically, Walmart’s system is now hard-coded to require an ID entry if you purchase […]


Can a money order be purchased with a gift card?


Any data points for purchase MO with Fixed $200 Visa GC? Does it mean max of $800 MO + fee per transaction since it only allows 4 swipes? Thx.

[…] The MS beatings continue: Walmart’s new Money Order limits: new speed limit enforced [likely nationwide]. […]




“The key difference between the Know Your Customer entry and the Suspicious Activity Report is that the SAR requests your social security number and is more likely to be shared with authorities for purposes of investigating money laundering, etc.”

This is not true. The key difference between the KYC reporting and SAR reporting is that except for a very select few individuals (FinCEN and law enforcement namely), the customer is absolutely NOT supposed to know a whether a SAR was or was not filed. The employee filing the SAR isn’t going to ask for the customer’s details to tip them off to the filing of a SAR. It is not required that all of the information on a SAR be filled out in full. Filing a SAR is actually a pretty big deal as they are handled on an individual basis; it’s not like Walmart would file 5,000 SARs daily and expect anything to be done with them.


It is clear that the real world limit is 2K a day. I know I’m limited to 4 debit cards in a 24 hour period. If it were $8K a day I’d have no problem with it. What am I supposed to do, whip out $6k in cash to complete the $8K?I have heard of Simon Malls issuing $1K Gift Cards, but only to business organizations.


I’m not a heavy MS’er so this won’t affect me for the most part, but I have had problems in the LA area (and once in Reno and NorCal each when traveling) using VGCs. Several times recently I’ve been told preemptively or in the midst of transactions that they are not allowed, and one time recently a CSR said she’d allow me to do it “this time,” but not in the future. Has VGC use been blessed system-wide under the new rules or will it continue to be YMMV? Thanks in advance.


Count yourself lucky to not be given the 5th degree when swiping. All our local CSRs watch carefully – some even put the POS terminal on top of the counter so as to make it obvious what sort of card you’re using.


why all the worry about the ID? I cashed in $2k last night and had no problem giving her my DL. What are they going to do? It’s not like I’m doing something illegal. What are the possible outcomes?


100% correct. Bring them on if they want to investigate. My theory is it is the cash back crowd who wants to avoid this as it is then income……


As I understand it, cash back is considered a “rebate” by the IRS, not income, and is therefore not taxable.


It’s not giving the ID that’s the problem, it’s the interminably long time it takes some cashiers to type it all in (you quickly realize how many WM cashiers are in dire need of corrective lenses as they squint at the DLs)


It’s been a while since I did MS on a regular basis…like a few years. Life got in the way and when the easier ways dried up, felt less of a need. Anyway am I understanding this correctly that you can use VGCs with a PIN at Walmart to buy MOs? They don’t check your “debit card” to see your name?


Most savvy WMs always check to see if your name is on the card. You might find an occasional new-hire who doesn’t know to look, but they eventually they learn to check. The old crones who’ve been at the Money Center desks for eons are the worst.


I ran into this limit last week, however buying 999.12 DID NOT require ID.


It was in force in my local Walmart last week!


Hopefully this will put an end to “You can only do one transaction”.


Since it isn’t illegal to turn gift cards into money orders (or other cash instruments), I’m a bit surprised that some business hasn’t developed to cater to the manufactured spending “community” to make it easier to unload them. I presume the system would work on some sort of trusted customer basis; kind of how gift card buyers prefer to do business with regular customers who they know aren’t scammers. Any reason this hasn’t happened, and why folks have to go down to the Walmart and look sketchy to get rid of their gift cards? Is there no money to be made by creating an alternative?


I am totally guessing, but it could be the legal liability of anti-money laundering.


That could be it, I suppose. Beats me. There’s certainly a lot of money floating around in this game. Is there anyone reading this who’s ever gotten a money order at a Walmart who wouldn’t prefer an alternative? With competitive fees, it would be a huge business.


Short answer: it’s too expensive.

Swipe fees alone eat 1%, then you have to pay to build and maintain a system, and pay people to run it. At a fee of $10/500 it won’t break even, and most MSers won’t pay $25/500 card so you’re left only with fraudsters. See also Tio and Evolve Money. Q.E.D.


I only do $999.12 with a $0.88 fee to make it an even $1000 a week when we’re in the Walmart area. This is enough for me since I have other ways to meet minimum spend and I only do ~$40k of MS a year, so this won’t affect me much unless my local Walmart decides to do it for all MO purchases. I’ll just purchase $998 and with the MO fee, it will be under $1000. And just empty the leftover in my amazon account.


How do you do $8k?
Most WMs only let you buy all MOs in ONE transaction. It’s hard to exceed $2k.


I’ve seen many MS go one Walmart to the other. There are about 5 Walmarts within 10 mile radius of my house.


I bought a $999.75 (+ $0.25 fee) MO this morning with no ID required. Clerk said ID only needed if total MO face value was $1000 or more.

This will reduce my trips to WM – no need to stay under $2K any more – if they’re taking the info anyway, might as well be for $4K or $6K…


The clerks at my location *insist* that all MOs have to be bought in one transaction and you’re only allowed one MO transaction per day. For me the only way around it would be to go early and then late in the day trying to hit people from two different shifts.

Also, the 4-swipe rule is still in effect so $2k is still the limit if you are liquidating $500 cards.


Hey Russ I’m new to MS. Where is a good place I can buy a GC and which one should I get to be able to buy a Money order with at a Walmart?

When I use a credit card to purchase these GC will it code as cash equivalent or will I actually get the points for the x amount I spend on the GC.


While not directly MO related, my local and always-MS-friendly-in-the-past WM has acquired a new manager/clerk who starts talking about “fraud” when I try to load a second VGC to my GoBank card. I tried to explain that GB started only allowing $500 loads at a time, but I am allowed to load up to $2500 a day (I was looking to load $1500 but then 2 Emerald cards). She was adamant it was fraud. Knucklehead. Not sure if this is a side affect of the money order policy, but I’d happily share my DL info if it could be done quickly and if it would avoid the silliness of this new-to-me clerk.

I was allowed to load a single $500 VGC. I went in the next day, made sure that specific clerk was nowhere to be found, and one of the friendlier CSRs loaded my remaining $3k across 3 cards.

What a hassle. Thanks for letting me vent.


The worst are new hires and new managers who’ve just done their AML “training”. Most can’t figure out the difference btw a payment type (only two payment types allowed at WM) and the 4 swipe limit for gcs (which is one payment type, four times – the same as handing someone 4 Fives, rather than 1 Twenty).

Recently had one silly new-hire cow convince a new manager that 4 swipes was four payment types, and therefore not allowed. Ruined the store for everyone, and it was one of the few MS-friendly stores remaining in my area. Unsurprisingly, they fired the silly cow within a month (which seems almost impossible from what I can see from the quality of people at WM)

[…] to unload your gift cards, then you should pay attention, especially if you do large volumes. Frequent Miler reports that cashiers are now being prompted to ask for ID during the checkout process on money […]


Yeah, I emailed Greg when my local store asked for info on 11/1. I usually buy 2x $999.12 MOs for a total of $2k and split pay with four cards. I thought about splitting the charges yesterday but like you said, it’s a catch-22 and I don’t want to act like I’m trying to hide something.


$8k a day??? That’s kinda nuts.


It’s nuts to you, and me, and other “hobbyists” who might want to meet a minimum spend or gin up a few award points. But others are hungrier. They try to make a business out of stuff like this. Of course, it’s these “exploiters” who tend to get things shut down. But it’s a free society. So as long as it’s not illegal (and, I suppose, even if it is), you’re going to get some pedal-to-the-metal folks. It’s why I think it’s best when offers have limits (like the quarterly credit card bonuses that are capped at $1500 in spend), so you don’t get crazy excess, and the deal survives.


Yes, a piddlingly-low threshold, I know. Barely worth bothering with, especially with so many stores limiting to one transaction. Bah.


I’d love to know why Walmart doesn’t like this business. Is it government pressure, not worth the staffing, not enough profit per transaction?


@DaninMCI, I don’t think the pressure is coming from Walmart here, it’s from Moneygram. Walmart leases Moneygram “technology” and the anti-money laundering reporting and responsibilities are pretty full on. The issue is that MGram isn’t in the business of deciding who’s doing these amounts for points and who’s doing it for nefarious purposes. So they just throw a cold blanket over the entire thing.


yes, it is MoneyGram who is requiring this, that’s what I was told by the WM cashier last night as well.


Yes, and I suspect a Moneygram ban wave will occur once they’ve got a few months of DL purchase data/


It’s coming from Moneygram via Big Brother who wants to control every aspect of your financial and social life. They already have access to every major website, every major portal, every major telecommunications company, so squeezing Moneygram to “crack down” on unfettered (ie, unlimited) MOs was a long-overdue demand from Big Brother, all in the name of “national security” and “anti terrorism” malarkey. Of course, the banksters running Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC et al launder billions from terrorist states like Iran, Syria, North Korea and at worst they pay a piddling fine without ever having to admit guilt or see top management imprisoned. But woe be to the MSer on the street trying to do $8000.01+ a day! CRIMINAL! SCAMMER!!! THROW HIM IN THE SLAMMER!!!!!!!!