Money

Walmart and American Express Launch BlueBird – Prepaid Debit Card Program

Walmart and American Express have decided to fully launch their BlueBird prepaid debit card program after close to a year of beta testing.  The Bluebird prepaid program is exactly what people look for when they want to use a prepaid card.  Walmart already offers other prepaid cards, but they don’t have the backing of a company as well known as American Express.  This program seems to have been well thought out and fully developed.  The bluebird prepaid debit card will be available starting next week at www.bluebird.com.

Ease of Use

The Bluebird program has been developed to encompass advanced features that allow anyone that want an alternative to the traditional banking accounts and debit services.  With the higher fees for regular and basic checking accounts, people nationwide are looking for something easier to use.  Bluebird might be a real solution for millions of people.  Here are some of the advanced features that are not usually available with prepaid cards.

  • Mobile Deposit – The ability to deposit a check by using a smartphone
  • Mobile Bill Pay – Pay your bills with a smartphone easily with your bluebird account
  • Fee Transparency – This is not found on my other prepaid cards.  The fee breakdown is to the right
  • No Minimum Balance – This is a great feature that many traditional banks don’t have anymore
  • No Monthly/Annual or Overdraft Fees – You don’t have to pay to use your bluebird card, and you don’t have to worry about overdraft fees
  • Load Cash at more than 4,000 Walmart locations (More may be added soon)

Simple to Understand Fees

The main complaint that most have with prepaid cards is the amount of fees being charged.  Most that move away from the traditional banking system want to use prepaid because their either don’t have the money to open a banking account or they don’t want to deal with the fees associated with regular banking.

There are many prepaid cards out there, but very few that have the limited amount of fees as the Bluebird card has.  The consumer is in charge of what fees they get charged as you are only charged if you deposit money with another debit card or if you withdrawal money at third party ATM’s.  This fee schedule should make many people happy that are just sick and tired of fees on top of fees.

The RoundUp

The bluebird prepaid debit card program is going to bring a great solution for people looking for a way to get out of the banking system.  One important thing to remember about any prepaid debit card program is that your money is usually not federally insured like it is when it is located in a traditional bank.  This may not be an issue for most, but since Bluebird is backed by American Express, unauthorized transactions should be handled by Amex’s customer service.

At one point, Walmart wanted to start their own banking service, but it was opposed by many in the banking industry.  The Bluebird program seems to be a way to get around actually creating their own banking service and still allowing them to help their customers get access to their own cash with very few fees.  Bluebird prepaid program could be a game changer for Walmart.

Do you use Prepaid debit cards and if so, would you try out the Bluebird from Walmart and American Express?

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Grayson Bell

Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $50,000 in debt. I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a Wordpress management company, along with another blog. It is Empowered Shopper, which helps people get information about products they want to buy.

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2 Comments

  1. Ed Willey
    December 16, 2012 at 2:08 am — Reply

    I use a prepaid debt card now, I didn’t before I took a look a Bluebird’s fees. I found several ways that it can be useful for me. As an emergency card, you can put a couple hundred dollars on and put in a drawer and use when needed. A safe alternative to using a bank debit card on and offline. Also as a front end for my online bank, which doesn’t accept cash deposits. I can put cash on Bluebird for free at Walmart then transfer all or part of it to my online bank. All of these things are possible because of Bluebirds low or no fees.

    • December 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm — Reply

      I am happy that the card worked out for you Ed. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

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