Review of the Walgreens Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Feb 03, 2016 | Updated May 12, 2016

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The Walgreens Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard is a prepaid debit card, an alternative to cash that provides financial services in Walgreens and Duane Reade stores. These include check cashing, online bill payments and direct deposit of paychecks.

As of December 1st, 2015, Walgreens and Duane Reade stores have discontinued this card and replaced it with the Exact Prepaid MasterCard. The Exact Prepaid MasterCard will not be sold at Walgreens or Duane Reade.

Balance Financial Cardholders will get a new Exact Prepaid MasterCard in the mail in early February, 2016. Click here for more details.

Many people have reported problems with this card, especially concerning payment. To avoid problems, pay your bills early, and be sure to understand the terms and conditions in full before you use this card.

Keep in mind, this is not actually a credit card, it is a prepaid card! Prepaid cards generally do not help you build credit since they don’t report to the credit bureaus. If you have bad credit and would like to improve it, a secured credit card may be a better option.

Walgreens Balance® Financial Prepaid MasterCard®

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: $2.95/mo
  • Interest Rate:
Quick Card Facts
  • Earn 10 points for every $1 spent at Walgreens or Duane Reade stores
  • Earn 100 points every time you reload in store
  • 1,000 bonus points when the first direct deposit is made if the card is linked to a Balance Rewards account upon activation, 250 points for every month after that you add a direct deposit

The Rewards

You’ll earn:

  • 10 points for every $1 spent at Walgreens or Duane Reade stores
  • 100 points every time you reload in store at Walgreens or Duane Reade stores
  • 1,000 bonus points when the first direct deposit is made if the card is linked to a Balance Rewards account upon activation, and 250 more points every month you add a direct deposit

The Benefits

Check your card’s Guide to Benefits to learn the exact benefits you have, and how to access them.


  • No Minimum Balance Required

    You won’t be charged a fee for having no balance on the card.

  • Additional Balance Financial MasterCards

    No fee for additional cards.

  • Transfer Funds

    You can transfer funds from card to card at no fee.

Security Benefits

  • Fraud Protection

    You will not be held responsible for unauthorized charges made on your card.

The Costs & Fees

Card Fee Monthly Maintenance Fee Card Reload Direct Deposit Bill Pay Costs
$2.95 $2.95; waived when you load $1,000 or more to your card in a 30-day period $2.95; Cash: $10-$500, Pin Debit: $10-$1,500, Checks: $10-$2,000 $0 $0.95
ATM Withdrawals Withdraw Cash at Non-participating ATMs Check Cashing Services for Payroll, Tax Refund and Government Checks
$0 at 7,500 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores $2.95 $0; Qualifying checks may be deposited to the card with up to $100 cash back; additional cash may be withdrawn at the in-store ATM, subject to the merchant’s limits and a $2,500 daily limit

The Bottom Line

For consumers who don’t have a bank account, managing money on a prepaid card is a safe and convenient option. That being said, it’s important to make sure the prepaid card you get is actually a good card before you decide to use it.

On the surface, the Walgreens Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard looks like an excellent prepaid card. It gives customers free and low-cost opportunities to perform basic financial transactions like direct deposit, check cashing services for payroll, tax refunds and government checks.

However, reports have surfaced that some account holders experience poor customer service. Click here to check out reviews other visitors have left on our site. Be warned. They are not the nicest.

Do you have the Walgreens Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard? If so, how do you like it? Leave your own review of the card here.

For more prepaid cards, with better customer reviews, check out our picks for The Best Prepaid Debit Cards for 2015 »
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  • Detroit Politics

    I tried to make an online purchase with mine, and messed up the billing address. The transaction was immediately rejected, so I tried again with the correct zip code. That was “declined.” When I checked the card balance (I had bought the card just for this purchase), the original amount had been deducted from the balance and was “pending.” It’s been pending for 9 days now, and I haven’t had access to that money. They won’t release it without a call from the merchant.

    • Kimberly Rotter

      Thanks for sharing that experience. These are important details for other customers to know about. If you have an update, please let us know.

  • Kristine Harper

    I have been waiting four days just to get a refund back from a merchant most other prepaid cards pay you right away within two hours after they get the deposit. I don’t think this card is worth it at all I’m probably going to go with someone like netspend

    • Kimberly Rotter

      Thanks for sharing this experience. Having your money tied up is definitely a strong disadvantage. The Balance Financial website says refunds take 3 to 5 days, and I assume they mean business days, so basically up to one week before you see the funds.

      Other than this incident, what has your experience been like on this card? Were you able to easily avoid the maintenance fees? I think for someone who can get the fees waived and who regularly buys at Walgreen’s / Duane Reade, this card has the potential to be really good. But obviously, customer service is a necessity, not a luxury.

      Do you have another prepaid card that you like better? I’d love to find out which one. If you’re shopping around, try the Bluebird.

  • Bjorn

    The clerk gave me the wrong card. Went back. Then there were 2 charges that were approved but denied??? Ok so then the merchant faxed in a letter on letter head with the merchant I’d and authorization numbers, 5 days later the funds were returned. However that night I went to use the card…but it was now canceled. I called them spoke to 2 “supervisors” neither of which had answers. I was told that “they canceled” the card and issued a new one….however I did not authorize the cancelation …. And now I’m told I’ll have a new card in 11 days all while I have no access to my funds on deposit. I will be filing with the bbb, nys AG as well as a small claims action. I can imagine that this is a normal course of conduct with them through their responses. Additionally their customer service boarders on utter incompetence

    • Kimberly Rotter

      So sorry to hear about these difficulties! Reports about customer service have not been stellar. Were you able to resolve these issues? Please let us know if you have an update. Thanks.

  • Kendrick Kenbo Singleton

    I am a Desk Clerk at a Hotel. I had a customer try to check in. When his card was swiped on our end fo $73.45 it showed declined. He then immediately received a text message saying that an authorization in the amount of $81.40 had gone through.
    Upon investigation (calling balance financial) I fond that checking into hotels there is an extra 20% charge added on for incidentals. That is understandable. The real problem here is that he only had $81.40 on the card at the time, and the hotel cost ($73.45) + 20% equals to $88.14! For his card to be declined for insufficient funds is understandable, but his account was drained to $0.00 without an overdraw.
    In order for this poor man to get his money back they demanded we give them an authorization code. We obviously did not have one seeing as the card was declined. I even called our bank (just to cover all my bases) and they agreed that the card had only been run once and showed declined with no auth or pending code. The only option he has now of getting his money back, the only money he has to his name, is to wait 30 days (not even kidding). He now has to sleep in his car for the night. My heart goes out to this gentleman and im writing this on his behalf. This company and their practices are horrendous at best. Stay far far away.

    • Kimberly Rotter

      Wow! Very disturbing that a transaction would be deducted from the balance but show up for the merchant as declined. There is no better definition of being stuck between a rock and a hard place!! I hope he follows up with customer service and gets some answers.

      FYI to anyone considering the card: Errors can take anywhere from 10 to 90 days to investigate and resolve, so someone in this situation could be stuck without the money for quite some time while the situation is in dispute.

    • laura

      I work at walgreens and this is my situation. I made a purchase at ARCO through the pump they did 3 transactions total of $300.00 making me negative 33 dollar cause I only have 267. Arco already released their charge the next day and it’s still holding me back $200 it’s already been 5 business days and they said they can’t release it unless I get an authorization code from arco but arco says they can’t cause they only see one transaction. It’s all a big frikkin mess and their customer service is poor and they obviously don’t know what their doing! After my money clears no more balance financial for me! My advice don’t use this card because they are new and they don’t know to handle situations like mine. It’s only taking this long cause they don’t know what their doing!

      • Kimberly Rotter

        Yours seems to be a common story. Declined or extra transactions that don’t go through but still get debited from the card balance. That is a pretty big issue that I hope Balance Financial addresses sooner rather than later. We can and will bring it to their attention but I doubt our two cents will have much effect.

    • Va Loogkaoneo

      Woah, I was about to go out and get this card. But not anymore after I read your review. Thanks for sharing.

      • Kimberly Rotter

        Unfortunately, we receive more negative comments about this card than most or possibly all other cards that we track (hundreds). The issues have a great number of similarities and I would have to agree that there are some kinks to work out before I can truly advocate for this card as a great choice.

        • irishforlife

          I’ve had this card for six months. I made a reservation at a hotel for a two night stay. I told them that I was paying cash but they ran my card by mistake. The hotel said my funds would be put back in two days. Two days passed. No refund. I called the card company. They said I needed to submit an authorization form with certain information an managers signature or to wait 30 days. The hotel submitted the form by fax as requested. Their response was then that the form needed a letterhead. I called the hotel and requested the letterhead form. They faxed the form with the letterhead. The company’s response was the letterhead wasn’t sufficient enough, whatever that means. I called the hotel and they called the company. Didn’t help. Card company still refused to release funds. I put in a complaint to the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I opened up a Cash Management Account with debit card. and a Brokerage Account(required to open a Cash management account) at Fidelity. I will never trust these people again and I will never use the card again. There’s just no reason for all these people who need their money to go through hell like this.

          • The Fidelity Cash Management Account Visa looks like a seriously great card. Thank you very much for that recommendation. Was there a minimum opening deposit amount?
            And thank you for your comments here, and for taking the time to report to the CFPB and BBB. I’ll be curious to find out if you get any action as a result of those complaints. The CFPB, in particular, is pretty diligent about following up.

          • irishforlife

            There is no required minimum opening deposit. I stated before that opening a Brokerage account was required but that may not be the case. The cash management comes with a debit card, direct deposit and bill pay.

          • Great find. Thanks again for sharing it. I will be taking a very close look.

    • James Rockon

      So you took his $81 and made him sleep in his car over a $7 discrepancy? What is the name of your hotel so I make sure to never stay there.

      • Kendrick Kenbo Singleton

        If you read carefully you would see his card had declined completely. If that had been the case in which we did received 7 less than the amount i would have gladly put him up. Please take time to actually read and process the information I gave before writing me off completely.
        I posted this for his sake and for others awareness. This guest has thanked me when he saw this posting. He is a regular and i regret none of the decisions that were made. It did hurt my heart that he could not stay with us, but at the end of the day I have a business to run. James Rockon you are more than welcome to visit my property.

  • Yvette Tamez

    Never ever ever ever again will I ever get this card and I am sorry to report that even though I am a Walgreens employee I will never recommend it to anybody. This card has been trouble from day one but today’s incident was taking the cake. I went to go eat with my fiance because he’s leaving for a few weeks the card has been declined by the merchant despite me having a sufficient amount to cover our meal. I went to an ATM to try to withdraw the money and was once again declined again despite the fact that I had more than enough money. I tried to call the customer service line and it was down. I kept calling back until I got through, they told me it was a system error and the card should be fine. We went to eat somewhere else as the original place was closed, I got a text alert the way I always do but I noticed we were short 100 bucks, I checked and we got charged three times from the previous restaurant without being notified for the charges. I immediately called back and told the rep what happened, she said she’d open up a ticket and escalate it to a supervisor but that they were all out because of the holiday, then hung up on me. Getting rid of the useless card as soon as I get my money back. STAY AWAY!!!!

    • Kimberly Rotter

      Thanks so much for reporting your experience. It seems that they have a big issue with charges being declined on the customer side but going through on the bank side, tying up people’s funds for weeks.

  • Kathleen

    I’ve had pretty good luck with the card until now. I needed to get a replacement card, so they immediately deactivated my old one (not stolen or lost). They replaced my card with a card that was one of a bad batch of cards that can’t be activated. It took a week to get the first replacement card, and now they’re telling me I have to wait another six days to get a valid replacement card. Meanwhile, I have bills that will be overdue and result in late charges. I’m without money until I get the new card since all my funds are tied up in this account, and they can’t reactivate my old card or rush-ship my replacement. Nice going, Balance Financial!

    • Ouch. Bad customer service strikes again. I wonder if it’s possible to tie the account to another prepaid account in order to avoid getting locked out of the funds in the future?

      • Jean

        That would be a good idea link another card to the Walgreen card

  • Tessa Marek

    I have used this card since October, 2014 and have had the following problems:

    1. At least once a week, the card gets declined for unknown reasons, even though there is ample funds on the card. *over $200 on the card, purchase for $10 at a fast food window is declined; Gas station purchase for gas for $20 with $400 on the card is declined, etc* Upon calling Balance Financial to find out why this continually occurs, there is no real answer other than there must be a problem on the merchant’s end of things.

    2. Direct deposit. I was using this card to cash my pay check. I am paid weekly on Friday morning at 2:30am. The amount is always the same, the company handling the deposit is always the same, and the time is very close to the same time each week *within 15 minutes*, yet at a minimum of once a month *and some times more than once a month*, they hold up my deposit for at least a day *one week they held my check for 5 full days*. Upon calling them, the explanation they flagged my deposit for a manual review. I might understand this happening once or twice but regular reviews of standing deposits is unreasonable.

    3. Customer Service. Upon calling into their customer service desk, most of their representatives do not speak very good English. They often misunderstand what you are calling about and are often times difficult to understand when they try to read the answer to your problem off scripted answer log *i.e. calling about declined transactions, you will get the exact same explanation regardless of how many people you speak to, verbatim* If you ask to speak to a supervisor about your problem, you can expect wait times of up to an hour *and hopefully you will not have to restart your waiting time after being disconnected*

    4. If you dispute a charge for any reason, they freeze your account for 10 to 14 days. Even if the merchant reverses the charge, you must get the merchant to FAX *not call, not email* an authorization code to release your funds otherwise the money is held period.

    I have been using prepaid debit cards for better than 5 years as I dislike the typical bank fees and it is simply easier for me to move any money left on the card each week to my savings account. This allows me to avoid most checking fees, having to balance a check book, etc. Bottom line it saves me time and money; that being said, no other card in the business that I have ever dealt with has any of these practices in place. Today, i purchased a new card with a different company to rid myself of the constant anxiety of will my charge go through, will my deposit be available and if there is a problem will it be resolved in a timely manner. I wish someone had told me all of this ~before~ I went through the last 6 months. I believe I gave Balance Financial every opportunity to work through these issues and they were unable to resolve any of them. Let the buyer be ware of this company.

    • Thanks so much for your comments. I agree that holds on deposits, account freezes and declined charges are problematic for anyone. Thank you for sharing so much detail. We have decided to reach out to the card issuer to see if we can open up a conversation about service issues like what you experienced.

  • Cherie Durst

    This company are a bunch of crooks! They are giving me the complete run around on returning my money.
    I wish I had seen these reviews last month before a Walgreens employee swindled me into getting this card over my normal Amex gift card.
    I live on a island in the caribbean, every two weeks I go over to a separate island to do my shopping. In doing so I usually go to Walgreens and get Amex’s for online shopping and paying bills electronically. The banking options on island aren’t stellar and keeping up with our stateside bank was just a hassle. Long story short, Balance Financial would NOT allow me to use my Island register for the card I had already purchased and loaded with $500 (keep in mid I am no home on a separate island) So, next best option is to use a stateside address. I’ll just use my fiancées mothers address because well it’s convenient and she sends him his mail so why not? We could kill two birds with one stone… just get our mail send all at once from on place. So I go on to put in his mothers add. Pow it accepts the address input. Next screen pops up… your money is available to use but IF you would like a card with your name on it you have to send in proof of residency of the address along with social card and a bunch of other info. But wait, I don’t live there. No worries, I’ll just use the money I don’t need a “personalized card”. Back to long story short, I used the card at to pay for dinner at a restaurant intown. card was miss-placed/lost/stolen. Bright idea oh lets call it in before someone uses the card. BAD IDEA. Card found. seconds after reporting it lost. I’m literally still on the line with the customer service department.
    Nope don’t think it was in my luck that it hadn’t already been processed as lost on her end. Nope they can’t just turn the card back on with my money on it.
    Ok. I can handle that. How can you refund my money? Can you just send it to me on a new card? I can patiently wait. Trust me I’m on island time for everything around here. It’s ingrained in me at this point. Can you just transfer the funds to my fiancé balance financial card (purchased together on the same day)? Can you send me a check?
    Nope none of the above an option according to the companies policies. You see according to the customer service department: I have been flagged because I “lied about my address.”
    Um? I did? No you would not allow me to use my physical (island) address. (Bare in mind I purchased the card on U.S.V.I. grounds. from a Walgreens employee in their store on St.Thomas.)
    “We are a financial institution and you gave false information about your address” “Therefore by law we can no longer provide you with service.”
    Wait What?!? I don’t even want your services any longer, I just want my money refunded at this point.
    After an hour of run-around because they are not willing to send me a replacement card unless I send them proof of address to the address listed and attached to my social security # used to activate the card (declined by them to be registered) Well folks thats impossible I don’t live there never have never will. I live in the island for the past two years. but as stated you wouldn’t let me use my island address. After hours retelling my situation to 4 different departments/supervisors. They finally agreed to send me a check as long as I fax a copy of the receipts and a copy of the front and back of the “lost” card. with a reference number.
    Ok, I can do that.
    Nope, thats not even good enough. Everytime I go to fax it says their fax is turned off. So I call and spoke to someone on customer service and they said oh yes it’s only turned on once they verify it’s you and you are sending a fax. call back when you are ready.
    Ok. I go to call back and I get a really rude service rep. stating that it is ALWAYS on.
    Ok, fine. I don’t care which one of you is lying I just want my money back. I’m just calling to get the correct number to the fax or make sure it is turned on because I am about to go to town to stand in line and have this faxed. Idk how long this will take so leave it on. Thanks.
    I am then told by the representative that she needs to verify it is me. So, I go through the whole process of explaining what has already been settled with several other reps and hours of frustration.
    Oh no. how dare I think this could be as simple as them taking my money.
    Nope. This new rep is telling me I have to send all the original doc’s that I already spent hours explaining why I couldn’t provide those doc’s in the first place.
    Now I am told, to fax a letter explaining my “story” to the ID department, along with the copy of receipts and copy of front and back of the card. a reference number. As well as, proof of my island address (ok, i can send this but I don’t get mail at this address on island I get mail at my P.O. box) Cust. service rep then goes on to tell me; “oh well they won’t send refunds to P.O. Box” ( I could pull my hair out at this point. NOBODY on island has physical addresses for mail. We all have p.o. addresses for mail and our physical address is literally for our voters card and for emergency vehicles.)
    Ok how about this.. you can send it with permission to my fiancé mothers house (the stateside address attacked to the account that I can’t possibly verify with my name attached) and she can just mail it to my P.o. box.

    Here is the kicker: when I asked the rep what do I do if the fax still doesn’t work. She said sure, yo can mail it to us…..
    P.O. Box.
    WAIT WHAT!?!?! you won’t let me receive my important information via P.O.Box but you want me to send you MY important info to YOUR P.O.Box! You have go to be kidding me!

    All I keep getting is I am sorry you don’t agree with our policies.

    I even asked her, What happens if the ID department doesn’t accept? She said well then the money will go to Delaware.
    WHAT?? how does it go to the state of DE?
    I assume it’s because thats the state my fiancé mother resides in? Despite the card being bought in USVI?? <— Makes absolutely no sense.

    Oh yea and guess what another representative told me: Walgreens in USVI are not even supposed to be selling these cards.

    Seriously, I feel as if this company goes out of their way to make it difficult to deal with them. Making you go through layers of red tape in hopes I will just give up and they can keep the money. I'm sorry but this is stealing. Robbing people of money they so trustingly gave up because you are attached to a big name company and a trustworthy CC institution. Shame on you walgreens!
    How can this company continually get away with robbing people of their money??

    I know it's only $269.83 but, I will continue to call, nag, and exhaust every outlet possible to get my money back. Simply on principal.

    • Amazing story! And not in a good way. Thank you so much for providing all the details. I am working on our end to reach a corporate rep and bring to their attention the customer service issues brought to light in your comments and others’. In your case the issue seems to clearly stem from the card being sold in the USVI. Their website – – clearly says “1 The Balance Financial Prepaid MasterCard is not available for purchase in Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands.” So the most pressing problem is why were they in stock and why were you not only allowed but also encouraged to purchase it? If they correct the problem at its root and properly educate the staff, none of the rest of the cascade of problems will ensue for other customers.

      Keep trying. We would love an update if you make any progress.

    • Kathy Goss

      I agree!

    • Angela Casarez

      Yes, I would call them over and over again all day every day until they give you your money. that is the most bizarre story that I have ever heard! And it IS your money. I don’t care if it is $10.00, it is the principal. They have NO right to put you through that hell, because they are doing business illegally and most employees do not have a clue even how to load your card. They are untrained and they have had two almost three years to remedy this issue (training) these employees that obviously are NOT interested in learning how to do their jobs and then have the gall to be rude to you. I don’t know how you kept your cool! I wouldn’t have been able to. I guess living in the Virgin Islands has helped you become way more patient than most people would be- believe me. I hope you get this fraud resolved and soon. I feel bad for you and all of us that trusted this bank with our hard earned money…Good luck!!

  • Tom Krapu

    My bad. I bought three of these cards as xmass presents. Did not see the $2.95 per month fee that is charged in addition to the $3 charge to purchase the card! This fee is charged even if the card is not activated! If you can afford $3 a month just to hold the card great, but BUYER BEWARE!

    • Sorry that you got blindsided by the monthly fee. It can be avoided if you load $1000 or more during the month.

      Most prepaid cards have monthly fees. Amex Bluebird has no monthly fee. Amex Serve [] has a fee of just $1 per month and it’s waived if you have direct deposit in any amount or reload $500 or more per month. H&R Block has a prepaid called Emerald that has no monthly fee.

      On all of the above, be sure to check the terms because there may be fees for reloads or other activities.

  • Letty Donald

    Absolute worse card in the world. Warning Prepaid cards have this issue. I have had an account with them for almost 9 months now. However when I lost my card there was no way of getting cash out. This is not a good thing. Customer service is helpless there’s no service in the “customer service”. If I am not mistaken financial institutions should not hold a person’s money hostage, even over security. This is the worse idea in the world. Instead go to you local bank and see if there is a 2nd or 3rd chance banking. Only use a prepaid card for gift cards. You don’t want your livelihood on hold for 7-10 business days.

    • Hi Letty,

      Thanks for your comments. According to their website, you should be able to get a replacement card when you lose the card (not a cash refund):

      “If your card is lost or stolen, call the automated customer service line at 888-924-2653 to deactivate your card and prevent unauthorized use. A replacement card will automatically be issued and mailed out to you. A $2.95 Lost, Stolen or Damaged Card Replacement Fee will be assessed.”

      There is no mention of how long it will take for the new card to arrive. Presumably, all funds on the card will be inaccessible until you receive and activate the replacement. Also, you cannot get a refund once the card is purchased/loaded.

      I think for prepaid cards these terms are probably typical.

      You can, however, transfer funds to another Balance Financial cardholder, so for a consumer who depends on this card for everyday money management, it might be worth it to set up two accounts and keep one card locked away. That way if the card is misplaced, you can hop online and transfer all funds to the spare card. This will, unfortunately, cause you to incur the expenses associated with the second card, so it’s not a free insurance policy.

      • Letty Donald

        Actually they changed the card to card transfer option this past weekend without notifying clients. In the words of the manager I spoke with “it was literally an overnight change” that customer service agents were even made aware. That being said if you don’t have the card in your posession you cannot do a card to card transfer unless somehow you remember your CSC code but if your card is deactivated your CSC is no longer valid.

        What natural bank has clients setup two accounts just in case? None. Most of them have an option (even if they charge you for it) to overnight a card to you. That being said I finally talked to someone at Balance Financial today who is willing to help make a change there. I won’t ever benefit from that change since as of today I am using a real bank with a real branch location. Prepaid cards are for gifting not for banking.

        • Ah. Thanks for the clarification. Just trying to be Devil’s Advocate and find ways to make this card work better for consumers. There’s not much that’s worse than having your money tied up when you need it. But yes, I have to agree that setting up two cards is a far-fetched solution. Thank you so much for your comments. They are very helpful to anyone looking at this card. I’m glad you were able to establish an account at a local bank.

      • Angela Casarez

        But still, a good idea for a bank card that holds your money hostage!! I believe these prepaids are all fraudulent and take full advantage of people who have less than perfect credit or are in a bind. They are the equivalent of loan sharks!!

  • Bridgette McCaskill

    These people are crooks. It is my advice that they not be used. You can do better elsewhere. After using them for 2 years and updating my info for income tax purposes without warning or notification, they cancelled my card…held on to my income tax for 3 days to make money from it, then sent my income tax back all without any warning. The only reason I found out that my card was cancelled is because I called to be sure I had given the correct info to the irs.

    • Thanks, Bridgette. We’re reaching out to the card issuer to find out their response to the service issues.

      • Bridgette McCaskill

        Well Kimberly thanks for your response, but I had no confidence in doing a formal complaint with them since they are the offenders and now I have to wait another week to see when my taxes will arrive in the form of a check of which I was trying to avoid by having my taxes direct deposited to this card. I really want nothing else to do with them. Bad business with them has left a rancorous taste in my mouth and it will be a cold day before I do business on any card again. Signed FLAT BROKE in TEXAS!

        • Very sorry to hear of such a big let down. Unfortunately, prepaid cards in general don’t have great reputations for customer service. For what it’s worth, since all prepaid cards charge you for getting access to your own money, they serve best as a temporary measure until you can get a decent free checking account. Maybe there is a credit union near you where you can get free checking and a traditional debit card. Best of luck with your next financial product.

          • Bridgette McCaskill

            Thank you. :)

  • lashandra h

    I thought it was just me with a problem with this company/account. I had about 3 red flags…the first was when i paid at the pump getting gas. They held $75 which is twice as much as my car takes to fill up. The second one was when i received an unauthorized charge, i called in and they said they would need a auth code. Then they would put in a dispute and refund it in 10 days. Third, every time i purchase anything under credit instead of debit, its a extra charge. The bad part about this is when you check your account it never tells you what the charges are for, they just automatically include the fees with your total. So, if your total is $7.25 the statement will show $8.70, so you’re like where did that come from? I wouldn’t recommend anyone to get this card!

    • Brendan Harkness

      Thanks for your comments Lashandra – unfortunately, as you can see, many people have had similar problems.
      If you’re looking for a prepaid debit card, I would suggest trying one from a major card issuer, like the American Express Serve card. American Express recently won an award for customer service, and people seem to have fewer problems with them.

      • lashandra h

        Thanks Brendan,
        I actually have an Amex Serve account, which I’ve been using before I got the Walgreen’s Balance Financial account. However, I needed to get an additional Visa/Mastercard since some merchants don’t accept American Express.

        • Brendan Harkness

          Ah, yes I see. In that case, have you considered the Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card? It seems to get pretty good customer service reviews.
          Good luck in your hunt for the right product!

  • Crystal

    My fiance and I have had the card since Early 2014. We have never had any major issues. The only issue we have sometimes, is that direct deposit goes in at different times, like a 2-3 hour window and I am one of those people who start freaking out if my money doesn’t show up right away. As far as people having issues at gas stations, a lot of gas stations have a policy, where they can hold up to a certain amount on a prepaid card. I however, have not had this issue. Also, my fiance never got a card with his name on it, it just says “preferred customer” which has made it hard to use at times as companies will mistake it for a gift card. I however got mine with my name on it, so no issues there.

    • Brendan Harkness

      Thanks for your comment, @disqus_e3uTE2BmiK:disqus!

    • James Rockon

      The different direct deposit times are due to your company sending it at different times. Not the card.

  • Sheila Rand

    I am not happy and will be closing this card ASAP. I got this card to load 360.00 to pay a bill that i was told i owed i was being threated so i wanted to get this bill paid so i paid it thru this card i got it just for this cuz my walmart money card would not let them clear it (should of been a sign) but like I said they were on me to pay and i was tring to clear up my credit. After i payed and started talking to people and further investigating and the company sent me a invoice i found out it was scam. I called walgreens balance financial that day, my local police dep. Filed a dispute the next business day just as they told me too. I have done all they have said i had to wait 15 days then 30 day then 10 day I have to wait a total of 45 days and they say the monies maybe credited but then again maynot. It was clearly fraud. They say it doesnt fall under their provisional protection. Not happy with how they have dealt with this.

    • Brendan Harkness

      @sheilarand:disqus I’m sorry to hear all that. To clarify, what exactly are you saying is a scam?

      • Sheila

        The monies that were taken out was a scam. The vendor that took the money out.

        • Sheila

          So today was the day that Walgreens Balance Fininacial said the funds would be refunded into my account. They were not. I called they said the merchant has till today 7/23 and monies will be back on card tomorow 7/24 I said thats what you said last week that they had till 7/22 and monies would be on card 7/23. He said the merchant has a month to respond I said they have had over a month. I called the day it happened they told me to wait till the transcation processed before i could file a dispute (not sure why they couldnt stop payment the day i called before it processed) So the next day it processed I called which was a saturday I filed the dispute first thing 8 am Monday June 8th. So it’s been well over a month for the merchant to dispute the claim and they have not. I am seriously thinking of talking to a lawyer cuz this has been a game. I have done everything they asked me. They said they would send me emails with updates (which i never received, they have checked serveral time to see if they have the correct email yes they do) No mail from them Nothing!!! They have not followed thru with anything they have said they would do. So i will take it to the next step..

          • Brendan Harkness

            @disqus_P8M6hyAU7n:disqus Wow, that’s an awful story! I would definitely try to sever all monetary relationships as soon as possible, myself.
            We can’t provide legal advice at all here, but I hope you get everything you are owed and some compensation. Good luck!

  • William Combs

    I bought a card so I could make purchases without linking to my bank account. I couldn’t log into my walgreens account to find my balance. I called customer support. I provided the last 4 of my SSN and the last 4 of the card number. They asked me to provide the balance of my card(!?) which is why I tried to log into my account for to begin with. The Customer support rep asked me to state the last transaction I made and the amount of the purchase. It was one purchase and I told them how much I paid. He said I couldn’t get my user name simply due to the fact I couldn’t remember how much I spent for that one purchase. I’ll get a pp card from another source.

    • Brendan Harkness

      @Cpl_Cadaver:disqus That’s a pretty awful customer experience, and unfortunately, as you’ve probably seen, a lot of other people are having problems. I’d suggest looking into a prepaid card provided by American Express, like the Serve or Target REDCard. Amex is known for having above average customer service.

      • William Combs

        I may get the Chase Liquid Prepaid. I have an account with Chase and can load the card but it will still be divorced from by bank accounts. I will look into the Red card so long as it is a prepaid. I want a barrier between the point of sale and by bank accounts.

  • Wahine

    Activated my card. Every time I try to use it (only at WALGREENS ATMS) it is declined. Will be closing it as soon as I sort this out and get my money back. Terrible.

    • Brendan Harkness

      @disqus_EWdPoba8cN:disqus Did you get any explanation of why this is happening from customer service?

  • Austin

    Can a Balnce financuel debit card be ran as credit at a valero gas station

    • Angela Casarez

      Yes if you have $75.00 in your account that you can wait 7-10 days to get refunded, minus the gas cost!

  • Rhonda Sharp Slone

    My card was hacked when I first learned of this she alerted FB right away, not long after I informed them of this someone in Dublin Ireland tried to use my card but it was decline since well there was no money as it was hacked earlier in the day and two it was reported as a compromised card. I was told to fax over a letter of dispute for the fraud charges I did. I was then told a replacement card would be sent out and I should receive it within 7-10 business days. 1st card; according to their customer service department was returned as they said the forwarding had expired, bull as I get mail all of the time at my parents home; this is where I asked that the card be sent to as I was in the transition of moving. Was told another one would be mailed out this time to the attention of my parents; same time frame, guess what NO card showed up so back on the phone I go. 3rd card mailed out same time frame guess what NO CARD still, back on the phone I go. Spoke with Marie this time in states, she said the cards are mailed out from IL; I live in WI and they are sent out in a batch…she could not tell me where these are being mailed to in WI. Sooooo another card is being mailed out this time I asked that it be sent to my new address; again I continue to get mail at my parents house. She said she would contact me today to let me know what/where my card is along the process route…now this all began on 8/22 and as of today NO CARD. I am not holding my breath that she calls me or that I will get this 4th card! Oh and to just piss me off even more they charged me a replacement card fee for a card that was comprised and then they charged me a monthly maintenance fee for a card I DO NOT HAVE. I am disappointed that Walgreen’s would even pair themselves with this firm; I think they need to be investigated for stealing!!!

    If anyone knows of who I can call beyond their sad do nothing customer service I would appreciate that!

  • Winston Pennington

    This is an email I just sent Galileo Processing. Appearently that is the company behind this card. After having numerous issues with this card. yesterday I had to send a screen shot via email and the email the gave me was so I looked up and that is there corporate office. and They will not give you that info over the phone. but my issues has caused more problems health wise and more money loss than what I recieve a month. I am fed up and wrote this to email to them…

    To who ever can help me out with this.

    Hello my name is Winston Pennington, I
    am not sure who to send this to or who to report any of this to. I
    have had the last straw with my Walgreens Balance Financial debit
    card. What has went down with my card and my funds that should have
    been on my card.

    The situation and this is the third or
    fourth time that this has happened. I can name two other times
    something like this has happened. On Tuesday 10/20/2015 I visited
    fast food establishment Panda Express. The first time my card was
    swiped it was declined, right away it was swiped, and it went
    through. This happened between the time of 11:30 am and 12:00 pm.
    Later that night I had checked my account and I noticed I was short
    some funds. So I checked my account history and seen that I had to
    pending transaction from Panda Express. At the time I noticed it was
    too late for me to call into customer service to get this issue
    resolved. The fallowing day, I called in at 7:00 am. I had to get
    started with the process early because at 2:30pm I had a doctors
    appointment that was going to cost me $40. I knew at the beginning of
    this month I had this appointment. So I budgeted my money to make
    sure I had this $40. I had contacted your support numerous times.
    Supperviser Liz had contacted the Panda Express that I had visited
    the day before. We where not able to get what we needed from them so
    I done my own leg work and contacted Panda Express corporate office.
    They emailed me the info that was needed (I will attach this to this
    email). So I called back and talked to suppervisor V. Who told me
    that they needed to get the info from the merchant and not from me.
    She contacted Panda Express and the representive she was connected to
    gave her all the information she was requesting, it was the exact
    info that they had emailed back to me in less than 20 minutes. At
    2:15 I had informed supervisor V that I had to leave in the next 5
    minutes to get to my appointment after she informed me that she had
    received in invalid code from Panda Express and had to contact them
    back. While I waited on hold for her to contact Panda Express back I
    had called my Doctors office to see if I couldn’t come in at 3pm
    instead of 2:30 that was fine I was expecting to have the situation
    resolved, and I could be on my way. When she came back on the phone
    she had informed me that the only code they had was for the
    transaction that went through but not for the one that had gone
    through. Because the one that was pending was the one that was
    declined said it would come back to my account because they didn’t
    receive that transaction, V informed me that I would have to wait one
    to two business days because the situation had to be escalated.

    Now I had a major problem. The doctor
    appointment I had was for my diabetes management and to get my
    supplies that where needed for me to take care of my health. Yes I
    could have gone to the ER to get my medical situation resolved,
    however I am trying not to make any other bills that I do not need,
    and a trip to the ER will create a minimum of $2,000 bill. I can not
    afford this while I am trying to pay off and clear past debit because
    I am trying to rebuild my credit and already paying off past debt, As
    well as paying off legal fees.

    So since I was not able to have the
    money put back into my account yesterday, I had to look into other
    options to get to a doctor to get what I needed to get my diabetic
    supplies. I had found out last night about a social work organization
    that would pay for a doctor appointment but I would have had to be
    there by 8am this morning. I had to bring in a print up of something
    showing that I couldn’t pay at this time due to a pending transaction
    that I was waiting on to come back to my card. This is another
    problem. Yesterday during the process of trying to get my account
    funds correct your website that I go to to see my account info is not
    working. When I log in to my account it comes to a screen that says
    “E-sign disclosure and consent” at the bottom it gives me a place
    to check off and a button that says “Submit” I do this and it
    brings me back to the exact same place. So this caused problems for
    me on getting what I needed to print up. I informed your support
    staff about this twice yesterday, The first time I was asked to take
    a screenshot and email it to the following email
    It was sent via
    This however is not the email that my account is attached to and the
    support agent I talked to on your end informed me that it did not
    matter what email it came from. So last night when I called in to get
    this matter resolved so I could get this information needed this
    morning to take to my social worker to get the assistance needed to
    see a doctor. I had to leave my house before 7am this morning in
    order to be where I needed to be. When I woke up at 6 am to get ready
    to go I had checked my bloodsugar. It was right at 600 this is
    extremely high and was due to the fact I could not get my medication
    and supplies yesterday needed to take care of this. I went to check
    my account online and I am still getting the same screen even at 11pm
    tonight as I type this I still get the same screen and I will take a
    full screen shot and attach it to this email as well. I called your
    support team and explained the situation to them and the severity of
    the need to have this information before I left at 7am and the only
    thing that I got from 4 different support agents was “Sorry for the
    inconvinece we must release this call”. Even in explaining that I
    can not afford to go to the hospital and explaining that I needed
    this information if not fixing my problem emailing it to me. I was
    told to call back after 7 am which is 7 am their time by that time it
    would have been 8am I explained again that I needed to be where I was
    taken it at that time and It would be too late. I told her I could
    not wait until than. (just to help I did go and I even asked that in
    order to verify the situation I asked the work if I we could call you
    with and have yall explain what the situation to the worker… They
    needed printed document at that time Or I would have to wait until I
    could get it). After explaining this to your agent and explaining to
    her that I need this appointment to happen with what I needed.
    Because I couldn’t afford to go to the hospital, and I told her I was
    feeling very sick because my blood sugar was extremely high I could
    pass out into a coma or die at any moment, she told me she could
    contact 911 for me. Right while I am saying I can not have a $2,000
    plus hospital bill she tried to make it even more… It cost $4,500
    for an ambulance to a hospital 2 blocks away. Than just say sorry.

    Well after my appointment with social
    work I walk out to the bus stop, I pass out. I wake up in hour later
    I am laying in the hospital. I am told my blood sugar was at 735…
    How I was not in a coma or dead… I got lucky I guess. I also have a
    $3,600 hospital bill and $4,000 ambulance bill.

    Now what doesn’t make since to me is
    the information that I seen it says that they only took one
    transaction. The transaction that did not go through but still took
    from my account is just stuck in limbo, This why they did not have an
    autherization code, and wasn’t getting the money. That right there
    should have been enough just to credit my account back the $21.43.

    Now I want to explain to you about what
    happened in November when it was $50. It was the day before my
    internet bill was due. I am a student and I go to school online. Two
    things I need to do this is my internet, and electric. It was also at
    the first of the month and had not yet done my grocery shopping. Here
    is what went down… I attempted to pay my internet bill as soon as I
    hit submit I got the text allert saying that the transaction has been
    aproved for $50 and my account reflecting that. Now when I called
    yall since there was no way of contacting the merchant I was told I
    would have to wait 11 days for that money to come back to my
    account… now let me explain this. Since I needed my internet
    because I don’t own a portable computer. I had to go pay my internet
    in cash at a third party cell vendor. Which cost me $55. My electric
    bill was due that same day but I owed $75. and time wasted on the
    phone with yall because If I spent that full $75 to pay my electric
    bill I couldn’t pay on my legal issues. If I didn’t I paid my legal
    issues I wouldn’t have enough money to feed my kids. So what was
    important. One is school, I am paying $25,000 for school and if I
    dropped my internet service I would have to pay out of pocket to
    retake the class I was in the middle of that would have been $300, I
    did however only paid $25 on my electric, but they still cut it off.
    So in order to get it turned back on, I had to pay the rest $50 plus
    a $35 sur charge to get it turned back on right away. That took away
    from the $200 I had to pay to cover the legal issues. I was only able
    to pay $175 and because it was not in full they issued a warrant for
    my arrest. I had to pay an extra $300 and two nights in jail. The two
    nights in jail caused me to miss a day of class causing me to be
    dropped from the class and having to pay $2500

    to re take the test. And I had a hard
    time finding food for my kids. Also and dealing with yall for a few
    days I was talking to a supervisor named Matt I believe. I while I
    was trying to explain whole cost of the situation Matt started
    getting extremely rude with me and at one point told me that he hoped
    my kids would starve. And wouldn’t allow me to escalate anything even
    further. I was also upset to find that I can’t get in touch with
    anyone higher than the supervisor. Even through walgreen or the
    bangcor group who is the bank behind this card.

    I think this is not right, if I had an
    account at any other bank, or any other card, and I had a transaction
    that did not go through they would quickly fix the issue. And
    unfortunately I have not been able to remove my social security
    payments from going to this card to another account. I have lost soo
    much money because of this card and I have never received anything
    but a sorry for the inconveniece this is not right.

    I have been in contact with an attorny.
    After my two nights in jail. I suffered an anxietty attack wich
    landed me in the psych hospital for a week, costing me close to
    $5,000. I am seeking to file suit in court for this matter if nothing
    is resolved out of this.

    I am not comfortable with sending card
    info through email.

    So here is what I will do, first 4
    digits and last 4 digits

    5127 —- —- 2436

    dob: 04/25/1981

    social: 3285

    phone number on the card 832-314-9440

    address. 2410 S. Kirkwood RD 126 ,
    Houston, TX 77077


    Full name Winston F Pennington.

  • Robert McMillan

    Maybe I am the exception or perhaps they have gone above and beyond fixing any issues. I’ve had this card for nearly a year now and have had ZERO problems with it. Maybe it is the way I go about spending money on it. I don’t do pre-authorizations at the gas pumps. I always go inside and tell them I want X amount. I have it linked with my payroll, my phone and use it for literally everything I can think of. As for over-charging, which in most cases is gratuity, this is the smallest percentage of the cards or even my actual checking account card I’ve had. I specifically chose this card over every other card out there due to the fact its Walgreens. Free checking withdrawal is a must, don’t see any other cards out there that can say free withdrawal at over 8000 locations nationwide. All gratuity charges are coming off on a very regular schedule, 3-4 days after transaction. Every person I’ve talked to at customer service has been great to deal with, card replacements mostly. Only thing I can say ‘bad’ about it is the cards get worn out too easy. On my 2nd card this year. The extra points are a nice extra to have.

  • Jennifer Davis

    Please do not get this card.i purchased this card for myself and my boyfriend last year to have our tax returns deposited on.i liked it for 2 weeks and got my son one in another state so i can transfer funds and save money and time doing money gram or western was easy and free to transfer between the 3 cards.about a month upon getting the cards i reported mine and my boyfriends lost as we misplaced them during a move.they frozed all 3 counts until proving identity.i respect and appreciate that so i did as requested.sent my id,my birth certificate,my social security card,w2 forms and proof of address.My son did as well and so did my boyfriend.well my sons card got fixed right away.mind you he has less then $10 on card had $2800.00 and boyfriend had $3200.They told me it wasnt enough they wanted a form from IRS which contacting IRS the form that is needed the IRS has or is not familiar with.My boyfriend they keep telling him they havent recieved or can not read fax sent.Needles to say after all goverment issused identification it still isnt proof enough and our funds now a year later have not been returned.They are thefts and its sad to say its walgreens name ,the store i use to do all my shopping from.Walgreens needs to be closed all around for stealing shoppers money.

  • beats byIntel

    I knew I was not the only one. I’ve had this card for less than a year and it continues to disappoint. I applied for this card because I am a student that does not believe in banking fees. Within less than a year the price to “reload” this card has gone from $2.95 to $4.95. Strike one. I still have not received my permanent card after several calls to what you call customer service. This is America, let me speak to someone AMERICAN (No offense to anyone, just airing my frustrations). Strike two. Lastly, when I use my card (still temporary…) at “independent” restaurants and stores (Chinese, Convenience Store, etc) I get charged an extra $2 to $3…. Strike three. Why Balance Financial? Do these businesses not already pay your company a processing fee??? We had a good run but you don’t treat your customers right. Hopefully some young aspiring entrepreneur will put an end to your madness you call a corporation. Better luck never. #dueces

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