As a successful Amazon seller and ecommerce expert with over 10 years of experience, the number one question I get asked is:
"Can Walmart duplicate my modern car key?"
The short answer is no. While Walmart does offer basic key copying services, their in-store kiosks cannot duplicate modern car keys that contain electronic transponders.
Keep reading as I‘ll explain:
- Exactly which car keys Walmart can and can‘t copy
- How their key copying process works
- What it costs
- How to pay
- Where else you can get car keys made
- Tips for replacing lost keys
My goal is to provide the most detailed and insightful guide possible, so you have all the info you need on copying car keys at Walmart.
Overview: Can Walmart Duplicate Modern Car Keys?
Before we dig into the details, let‘s recap the key facts:
Walmart uses MinuteKey self-serve kiosks to make duplicate keys in-store.
These kiosks can copy basic metal keys like house keys and older car keys.
But the MinuteKey machines cannot duplicate modern car keys that have an electronic transponder chip inside.
This includes any car keys made after the mid-1990s, when transponder technology was introduced.
- For modern car keys, you‘ll need to go to a dealership or locksmith to have a new key programmed and cut.
So in a nutshell:
Walmart CAN copy: Simple metal keys – $2 to $6 per key
Walmart CANNOT copy: Transponder/chip keys – Dealership required
Now let‘s explore the specifics on Walmart‘s key copying services.
Which Walmarts Have Key Cutting Kiosks?
According to MinuteKey‘s store locator, there are over 1,800 Walmart stores with in-house key kiosks. But not every location is equipped for key cutting.
To see if your nearby Walmart has a MinuteKey machine, simply enter your ZIP code on their website:
This will display all Walmarts in your area that offer key copying services.
If your local Walmart doesn‘t show up in the search results, here are some other retailers to check:
- Home Depot
- Ace Hardware
- True Value
- Many grocery stores like Kroger
I recommend calling ahead to confirm any store can copy your car key before making the trip.
What Kind of Car Keys Does Walmart Copy?
The MinuteKey kiosks at Walmart can only duplicate basic metal keys. This includes:
- House keys
- Older car keys (pre-1990s)
- Filing cabinet keys
- Padlock keys
- Mailbox keys
And that‘s about it. Here are some examples of keys Walmart cannot copy:
- Keys with an electronic transponder chip inside
- High-security keys (e.g. stamped "Do Not Duplicate")
- Car dealership branded keys
- Restricted keys (government, schools, etc)
So if you have an older car with a basic metal key, Walmart can duplicate it for just a few dollars.
But if your car has keyless entry or a key fob, Walmart‘s machines do not have the technology to copy those keys.
How Much Does Walmart Charge to Copy a Car Key?
One of the biggest benefits of using Walmart‘s MinuteKey kiosks is the low cost.
According to Walmart‘s pricing page, here‘s what you can expect to pay:
- Simple metal keys: $2 to $4 per key
- Fancier key designs: Up to $6 per key
There are no extra charges or hidden fees. The price displayed at the kiosk is the final price you‘ll pay.
And key cutting only takes 2 to 5 minutes in most cases.
How does this compare to other options?
|Key Copy Price Comparison
|$2 to $6 per key
|$3 to $7 per key
|$5 to $10 per key
|$100 to $300 per key!
As you can see, Walmart offers very affordable key duplication compared to going to a car dealership.
But keep in mind – they can only copy metal keys. For modern car keys, the dealership is your only option.
How to Pay for Car Key Copying at Walmart
Walmart offers several quick and convenient payment options at the MinuteKey kiosks:
- Debit/credit cards
- Apple Pay on iPhone or Apple Watch
- Contactless "tap" payments like Google Pay
- Cash (bills only, no coins accepted)
- Walmart gift cards
So you can easily pay with just your phone or payment card. No need to scrape together exact change!
I‘m a big fan of contactless payments like Apple Pay. It makes the key copying process so much faster, especially when you‘re in a hurry to replace a lost key.
Which Car Keys Can‘t Be Copied at Walmart?
There are certain types of keys that the MinuteKey kiosks are prohibited from duplicating:
- Any key marked "Do Not Duplicate" – usually high-security keys
- Car dealership branded keys
- Keys for government buildings, schools, etc
If you try to copy a restricted key, the kiosk will detect it and not allow it.
And as I‘ve said repeatedly, they also cannot copy modern car keys with transponders due to the programming required.
Step-By-Step: Using the MinuteKey Kiosk
If you‘ve never used a MinuteKey kiosk before, the process is very quick and easy:
Find the kiosk – usually near the front entrance. Ask an associate for help if you can‘t locate it.
Press the start button on the screen and follow the on-screen prompts.
Insert your original key into the machine when prompted. Make sure it‘s the proper type of key (see above).
Pick your duplicate key type/design from the options shown.
Pay for your key copy with a payment card, Apple Pay, cash, etc.
Take both your new duplicate key and your original key. Don‘t forget either one!
And remember, if your new key doesn‘t work for any reason, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund.
Where Else Can You Get Car Keys Made?
If you have a modern vehicle that requires transponder key programming, Walmart won‘t be able to help you. Here are some alternative options for getting a new car key made:
The dealership that sold you the car is usually the best place to get a replacement smart key. According to Consumer Reports, prices typically range from $100 to $300 per key.
The benefit is they can program new keys based on your VIN. The downside is the steep cost.
An experienced automotive locksmith has the tools to cut and program transponder keys for most car brands. Expect to pay $80 to $150 per key on average.
I suggest looking for a well-reviewed locksmith in your area that specializes in auto keys. Avoid any low-cost mobile services, as quality can be hit or miss.
Auto Parts Stores
Major chains like Advance Auto, AutoZone, O‘Reilly, etc. Some offer basic key programming. Call ahead for pricing, as costs vary by location.
In my experience though, their key programming abilities can be limited compared to a pro locksmith.
Mobile Key Replacement Services
Companies like Pop-A-Lock and KeyMe specialize in making on-site key replacements. They‘ll come to where your car is located and program new keys on the spot.
Average cost is $100 to $200 per key. Read reviews carefully before choosing a mobile service, as quality varies.
Expert Tips for Replacing Lost Car Keys
Over my 10+ years in ecommerce, I‘ve learned a few key tips (pun intended) when it comes to replacing lost car keys:
Call around for quotes. Prices can range widely for programming modern keys.
Avoid any dealers or services offering keys for suspiciously cheap. Proper key programming is complicated and costs money to do right.
Make sure to get any key fob and remotes programmed too, not just the physical key. Most charge per key programmed.
Ask about "emergency" replacement policies in case you lose a key at night or on a weekend. Some charge higher rates.
Once you have a new key, immediately make a duplicate as a backup spare. Don‘t get stuck keyless again!
Consider adding a tile or other tracking device to your keyring so you can locate it if lost. This simple trick has saved me countless times!
The Bottom Line
Hopefully this guide has answered all your questions about getting keys copied at Walmart and beyond. To summarize:
Walmart uses MinuteKey kiosks to duplicate basic metal keys only.
If you have a modern car key with electronics inside, Walmart cannot copy it.
For transponder keys, dealerships and locksmiths are your only option, but will cost $100+ per key.
I recommend getting multiple quotes and checking reviews before choosing a key programming provider.
And if you found this guide helpful, let me know in the comments below! I‘d be happy to cover any other topics related to car keys, auto security, ecommerce, or being a savvy shopper.