Is It Safe To Buy Pokémon Cards From Walmart?

Is It Safe To Buy Pokémon Cards From Walmart?

The golden age of Pokémon card collecting has come and gone, product is now hard to find and often scalped at shocking prices. The peak of the crisis was just after the COVID19 pandemic hit and Pokémon cards were in high demand. The supply chain couldn’t deliver cards fast enough and shelves were often bare. 

With the demand so high, Pokémon card fans began to report an increase in tampered products. This includes resealed booster packs, missing items, and fake cards. Unfortunately, some of these reports came from Walmart customers. So, is it safe to buy Pokémon cards from Walmart?

There will always be a risk that cannot be avoided, but generally speaking, it is safe to purchase Pokémon trading cards from Walmart and Target.

Where do big box stores get their trading cards from?

Lots of big-box department stores stock Pokémon cards. Mainly, we’re referring to Walmart, Target, and Walgreens. We get our cards from them, but where do they get the cards from?

The Pokémon Company overlooks the entire production process of Pokémon cards, but the printing process and distribution are contracted out to other companies. Pokémon cards take a long journey and are transported multiple times before arriving on the shelves of your local Walmart. 

Who distributes cards to Walmart?

MJ Holdings is North America’s largest distributor of trading cards and is in charge of distributing Pokémon cards to most big box stores. However, MJ Holdings is not always the company that physically delivers the cards.

pokemon cards walmart
Fully stocked shelves at a Walmart on a Thursday morning

In less populated areas or many parts of Canada, MJ Holdings contracts out the card distribution process to smaller companies. The company that actually brings the cards to each store may be different based on location or logistics. 

When they do arrive at your local Walmart, the employee of the distribution company, who drove the truck in, is the one who stocks the shelves. The employees of Walmart do not know when the truck will arrive, and can only make an educated guess based on patterns.

Does Walmart/Target still sell Pokémon cards?

Following multiple incidents where store customers incited violence, Walmart and Target temporarily pulled all trading cards from store shelves. However, this lasted only a month or two before customers reported stock returning to the shelves, and today, all locations stock trading cards.

How to check if a Pokémon product has been tampered with

Unfortunately, somewhere along the journey that Pokémon cards take to arrive at a Walmart, they can sometimes be intercepted and tampered with. Furthermore, customers will sometimes purchase a Pokémon card product and return it only after removing the cards and replacing them with fake ones.

This sucks big time because these people often get away with it.

If you’ve ever purchased cards off the shelves at Walmart only to discover that the product has been tampered with, you know how bad it can sting. It is important to inspect the product in the store, before purchasing.

Look for:

  • Loose wrapping (Official plastic wrap will be tight to the product)
  • Unfamiliar glue underneath the flaps of collection boxes
  • Loose flaps on collection boxes
  • Loose booster pack wrapping
  • Anything oddly out of place
  • Anything indicating that the product may have been opened

To combat people from tampering with and returning trading card products, most Walmarts now refuse to accept returns on cards. This can be a good thing when it prevents fraud, but bad when you’ve already purchased a product that you later found out was tampered with.

If the latter occurs, reach out to the store manager from the customer service counter and explain your situation. It’s, at the very least, worth a try. 

Buying Pokémon cards from Walmart online

Who am I kidding? Most people these days purchase everything online.

Unfortunately, we can’t recommend purchasing Pokémon cards from the Walmart online store. Time and time again, customers and members of the Pokémon TCG community report receiving fake booster boxes full of fake cards from Walmart online. 

This is in part due to the fact that Walmart has a deal with another company named JD (sometimes under the name JoyBuy). JD is China’s largest online retailer. That’s right, Walmart online is selling Pokémon cards from China.

There are plenty of legitimate Pokémon cards in China, but the majority of fake cards circulating in North America today also came from China. Furthermore, Amazon removed many Chinese sellers from their online store in April 2021. When this happened, it’s rumored that many of the sellers simply moved over to sell through Walmart’s online store.

How to get your money back

Members of the Pokémon TCG community have reached out to Walmart customer service with very little luck at receiving a refund for the fake cards. Most of the time, they will just direct you to contact JD (or JoyBuy) and ask them for a refund. But once again, very little luck.

You can always contact JoyBuy by email at

And we recommend you do so! 

Final thoughts

The huge boom in the Pokémon TCG hobby has had many benefits and many drawbacks. One of these benefits is the community pulling together to understand how and when big-box retailers are restocked, giving us die-hard Poké collectors hints on snagging cards before scalpers do. This is cool because it solves an issue that only recently came about.

On the other hand, fake Pokémon cards have also seen a huge boom, obviously, and when the Walmart shelves are empty, many people turn to the online store. However, it is not the same. If you can help it, we highly recommend that you only purchase Pokémon cards from the physical Walmart location, and always check the product for evidence of tampering.