Here is one of the little-known secrets of the modern world: If you have a collection of Walmart gift cards you want to use to pay for a single large purchase, you may need to consolidate them first, because Walmart's terms and conditions prohibit using more than four gift cards on a single purchase.
We first learned about this after getting a complaint from David, a Walmart gift-card recipient in New York:
This is so bizarre, it blows my mind! I have seven $100 Walmart gift cards. I went to Walmart's website and was in the process of buying an iPad with my gift cards. When I went to put in my fifth $100 Walmart gift card, I was notified that I had reached my limit! You cannot use more than four gift cards per order! There is no place that I saw on their website mentioning a limit on the amount of gift cards you can use. In addition, to top it off, Walmart sells their gift card saying it is equal to cash! Therefore, I guess if I ever go back to Walmart to buy an item that is over $400, I can use cash for the first $400 and have to charge the rest. I canceled my order!
What happened — was there a weird glitch on the Walmart website, or is there indeed a four-card limit which David overlooked?
It was the latter, although you can't really blame David for missing it. After reading David's complaint, we did an online search for the words “Walmart gift card limit” and found a link to a Walmart Help page titled “Gift card terms and conditions.” This online document is 1,874 words long and says nothing about a maximum number of cards per purchase.
However, if you scroll down to the bottom of the terms-and-conditions page, you'll see another link which reads “Spending, activating and reloading Walmart gift cards,” and if you click that link and scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll see yet another link which reads “Paying with more than one Walmart gift card.”
Click on that link, and here's what it says:
If you would like to use more than one Walmart Gift Card to pay for your online purchase, or a combination of a Gift Card and other payment method, simply click "Use a Walmart Gift Card" during checkout.
Once you have entered the first card, you will see it appear on your Purchase Summary, and you can click "Use Another Walmart Gift Card" and enter up to four Walmart Gift Cards per order. Or you can select a second payment method, like a credit card or Pay with Cash, to pay the balance of your order.
All right, the four-card limit is clearly stated online (even if you might require a bit of hunting to find it). So does this mean David cannot use his multiple $100 gift cards to buy anything more expensive than $400?
No, it just means he'll have to take a couple of extra steps first. Go back to the original “Gift card terms and conditions page” and, about a quarter of the way down, you'll see a paragraph with the bold-print headline “Consolidating Walmart Gift Cards,” which says this:
If you have two or more Walmart Gift Cards, you can consolidate them by using them to purchase one new Walmart Gift Card that has a balance equal to the sum total of the Walmart Gift Cards you currently have.
So if David has Walmart gift cards with a total balance high enough to pay for the iPad he wants, he can use those cards to buy it from Walmart, so long as he combines them first — exchange four $100 gift cards for one $400 card, for example.