I have never understood the whole "prepaid debit card" nonsense. You have checks, a debit card, a credit card(s) or you use cash. The only real reasons I can see to get a prepaid card are to control spending, which is actually ludicrous, because you can load money onto the card at any time,, to give a child/dependent money via long-distance, or to be super-conscious of fraud issues by only loading small amounts onto the card.
Anyway. MoneyGram is getting in bed with MasterCard and KeyBank to offer a line of pre-paid debit cards. The pilot program was launched last November, and the signage announcing the national rollout started appearing in Wal-Mart stores and other consumer locations in early October. I do remember seeing the signs, although they didn't stay up for long. Probably a contractual thing for us to promote a partner business, but not too much.
Anyway. This really blonde woman prances up. She's wearing what can only be described as a faux-Western outfit. The closest she ever got to a real cowboy was probably making a connecting flight at the Dallas airport. Upscale western-print shirt, polished brown leather boots up to the knee, jacket trimmed in faux fur, turquoise earrings, bracelets and necklace and an expensive leather handbag embroidered in Navajo design with more turquoise and semi-precious stones.
I start with my usual "Can I help you?" at which she replies that she "wants to recharge this."
"This" turns out to be one of the aforementioned MoneyGram prepaid debit cards. So they do exist.
Now, I know an awful lot about my job, but this is the first time I've ever run across one of these. We got no training on this (typical of Wal-Mart - I should write about the very first day I ever worked Customer Service some time) I had to start making this up as I went along.
I take the card and look at it. It's just a debit card with the MoneyGram and Mastercard logos. It doesn't tell me how to reload the card.
ME: "Ma'am, did they tell you how you can reload the card?"
HER: "No. I called and they said go to a MoneyGram location and give them the card and say that I want to reload it." Now I've dealt with MoneyGram on the phone on average of six to eight times a month for the past few years. They are ALWAYS fairly precise in instructions, such as "Fill out this form," "Have your account number and receive code," etc. I doubt they gave her these particular instructions. But you can't call a stupid spade a spade in the customer service game.
ME: "Ma'am, did they tell you to make an express payment, or to make any other kind of transaction? These are a new product and we've never had one of these before. Which is the truth. I get ALL the difficult questions and I KNOW we've not faced this one before.
HER: She's frustrated and angry at ME by this point, and decides to get mean. No matter that she has this card, has been using it, and doesn't even know how it works. So she goes "NO, IT MEANS THAT YOU'VE NEVER HAD ONE BEFORE. DON'T YOU KNOW HOW TO DO YOUR JOB?"
ME: Oh my god. Does the universe just put evil humans in my path?
I finally see that the customer service number is buried inside the raised numbers on the back of the card. I call the number and ask for help. The customer can reload the card by making an ExpressPayment to a certain receive code using the account number on the card.
And then the MoneyGram agent on the line goes "Is there a problem with the card?" I tell them no, I just need to know how to reload it. And the agent tells me "Reload information is in the kit that's sent with the card and with every card statement. Can you ask for her ID? The card might be stolen. And see if she got the package of materials when she opened the account?"
So I ask the woman. She shows me her ID and she tells me "I got the kit ... I just didn't read it."
So after all this fuss, do you want to know how much money the woman reloaded onto the card? That's right. Forty dollars. And there is a reload fee of $2.50 every time you put money onto it. So. She's paying to add money to her own account. Whatever.