Walmart Has a Sneaky Way of Tricking Customers Into Saving More Money

Think of all the reasons you go to the bank.

What if you could do all that during your weekly run for groceries, diapers and windshield washer fluid at Walmart?

Maybe you can. Walmart has offered the Green Dot prepaid debit card since 2007, but a newer savings program tied to the card offers an extra money management incentive.

Building your savings through your MoneyCard could come with a prize of up to $1,000.

How to Win $1,000 With Walmart’s MoneyCard Vault

The Vault feature on the MoneyCard smartphone app offers 500 cash prizes each month: a $1,000 grand prize and 499 prizes of $25.

Each dollar a customer deposits into their Vault account via the MoneyCard app counts as an entry into the monthly drawing. Users get up to 500 entries per month, and the prizes are deposited into their Vault accounts automatically.

Walmart launched this program in August 2016, and it told The Atlantic that by December, more than 100,000 users had started using Vault to save – and get a chance to win. Further, the average savings for Vault users has grown from $413 to $572 since.

Given how many Americans would be unable to cover even a car repair or a $100 unexpected medical expense, it would seem Walmart’s MoneyCard Vault program is a valuable tool to help people save, whether they have a traditional bank account or not.

The “chance to win” element of Walmart’s Vault program gamifies saving in a way few typical savings accounts do. For those who remember earning more than 0.25% on their savings accounts before the recession, the idea of potentially winning extra savings is more attractive than watching your money grow at a minuscule rate.

What Else Does Walmart’s MoneyCard Do?

The MoneyCard Vault doesn’t pay interest, but MoneyCard users can earn 3% cash back on purchases at, 2% at Murphy USA and Walmart and 1% at Walmart stores, for a total of up to $75 per year.

Users can have their employer direct deposit their paychecks onto their MoneyCards.

Loading cash onto your card at Walmart costs $3 per load, but the card otherwise works like a bank-issued debit card. Users can swipe the card anywhere that accepts Visa or MasterCard, deposit checks via the MoneyCard app and pay bills. And since it’s prepaid, there are no overdraft fees.

No overdraft fees and a chance to win extra cash for your savings? Doesn’t sound like a bad option.

Your Turn: Have you tried Walmart’s MoneyCard Vault feature? Has it helped you save?

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder. She remembers once earning 5% on a savings account, a long time ago.