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rated:
Bluebird being launched next week as an alternative to debit and checking accounts

"Our solution to help consumers who currently may be poorly served by traditional banking products... In an era where it is increasingly 'expensive to be poor'... a financial services product that rights many of the wrongs that plague the market today."


Features:

No minimum balance
No monthly fee
No annual fee
No overdraft fees
Deposits by smartphone
Mobile bill paying


I'm not a fan of either company, but I'm all for any competition that forces exploitative banks to offer fairer fee structures and services to those with lower incomes.

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Different stores have different policy. I have had one CVS allow it but others disallow. So when you find a working drug... (more)

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rated:
fivetalents said:   
No monthly fee
No annual fee


What about daily, quarterly or semi-annual fees? Hmmmmmmmm?

rated:
Just to be clear, this new program from WalMart is not so much a bank account, but instead is a reloadable prepaid card with some additional features.

The Bluebird cards can be used at a variety of locations that accept American Express. Users can deposit funds onto the card via direct deposit, remote check capture through the Bluebird mobile app, using cash at any WalMart register, or by linking a checking, savings or debit card to the account.

And as for fees it look it looks like the only ones will be for some ATM usage. "They say that the only fees that will be associated with the card will be transparent and within the user’s control, such as out of network ATM withdrawals by consumers that don’t have direct deposit."

rated:
Thanks LiquidSilver. I unintentionally used "account" in the title instead of "card." Title has been edited.

rated:
The real question is whether it can be funded with a Credit Card (without a fee). It looks like the answer is no.

rated:
bretta said:   The real question is whether it can be funded with a Credit Card (without a fee). It looks like the answer is no.Don't lose hope quite yet...

Press Release said: Wal-Mart and American Express said that more features will be added to Bluebird in the first quarter of 2013. These features will include more options to deposit money and check-writing capabilities.{/q}

rated:
sloppy1 said:   So this is targeted for the poor...

"Deposits by smartphone
Mobile bill paying"

How 'poor' are these so-called poor if they have expensive smart phones and their expensive associated monthly usage fees?


I was about to say the same thing. WalMart probably just wants some swipe fees to boost profits. I see no other reason for them to do this.

rated:
the lifeline phone programs helped both my parent and grandparents since long before the current. Administration.

rated:
fivetalents said:   Bluebird being launched next week as an alternative to debit and checking accounts

"Our solution to help consumers who currently may be poorly served by traditional banking products... In an era where it is increasingly 'expensive to be poor'... a financial services product that rights many of the wrongs that plague the market today."


Features:

No minimum balance
No monthly fee
No annual fee
No overdraft fees
Deposits by smartphone
Mobile bill paying


I'm not a fan of either company, but I'm all for any competition that forces exploitative banks to offer fairer fee structures and services to those with lower incomes.

How is this different from the free AMEX PASS cards? Do they offer mobile check deposit and billpay? Those are the only added features I see

rated:
Sounds like AMEX either didn't think it thru the 1st time, or decided to revamp the whole program to Wally's wishes after they came on board.

rated:
"We believe Bluebird will resonate well with WMT's core customer, as only 15% of WMT's sales are paid for with a credit card, and could drive increased mindshare and incremental traffic over time." -- Wall St Analyst report

rated:
bretta said:   The real question is whether it can be funded with a Credit Card (without a fee). It looks like the answer is no.

Maybe not directly, but perhaps it may be compatible with our favorite ice cream.

rated:
Is AMEX pASS compatible ? If not I doubt bluebird will be a better flavor

rated:
From FAQ, "No foreign exchange fee."

rated:
I wished it to be more compatible to target

rated:
dl73 said:   bretta said:   The real question is whether it can be funded with a Credit Card (without a fee). It looks like the answer is no.

Maybe not directly, but perhaps it may be compatible with our favorite ice cream.


Did you already get booted from netspend? They are compatible with my favorite ice cream flavor and offer a cheap bill pay option...

rated:
Spac3d said:   "We believe Bluebird will resonate well with WMT's core customer, as only 15% of WMT's sales are paid for with a credit card, and could drive increased mindshare and incremental traffic over time." -- Wall St Analyst report

I've seen the same information presented several different ways in various press releases today -- either as 15% of sales are paid with a credit card, or 85% of sales are cash.

I suspect if there is any truth to the number, it's the first way. And someone misunderstood that 15% being credit card doesn't mean the remainder are cash. The report they based it on probably seperates out credit, signature debit, debit, private label, etc. and the "analyst" stopped reading too soon.

Either way, I don't think it gives proper information.

There's no way 85% of the transactions at any WalMart I've been to are cash, or only 15% are credit unless signature debit (visa debit, etc.) is not included in that number.

rated:
Green Dot shares down 20% on the news. If you can figure out that this thing is going to be better the Green Dot cards, it doesn't have to have CC funding for you to make money off it. Just keep shorting GDOT.

rated:
This seems like a pretty cool way to get an almost-free ATM card. I'm a bit of a Luddite and don't have one yet. It would make a good way to take funds to Las Vegas instead of using cash. You can even let someone as young as 13 use one.

Some gotchas: the free ATM usage appears to require you to use some form of direct deposit. But it forbids the direct deposit of US government pay or benefits. And it can't be used at casinos <sob>. But there appear to be a fair number of AMEX ATMs around - even on the Las Vegas Strip at such places as Walgreen's, CVS, Harley Davidson Cafe, Miracle Mile Shops, etc. So if you get $200 a pop, it's only 1% fee. And I believe the first ATM charge is free each month?

If you exceed the amount on your card, you are sternly warned you MUST immediately add funds. And you must NOT use the card after using up your funds.

I'm sure they'll boost the fees later, but for now it looks like a win-win for consumers.

rated:
I used to work at a WalMart and i'd say the 15% is accurate if they are only counting credit cards Most people swiped a debit card or paid with cash.it depends on the area the store is in.Like my area had alot of government recipiants. as for the card it does say its aimed at the poor. as for affordable smart phones i have one i paid fifty dollars for at WalMart and it only costs me 45 a month for unlimited talk and text through trackphone. i was paying verizon $150 a month for two lines and paid nearly a 100 a piece for those

rated:
Used to have one of WalMart's moneycards.was great for online purchases.would never use a traditional debit card online as my former bank was a absolute b about returning any money to my account.i eventually dropped them when i realized all my money was going to their fees. i would absolutely use one of these cards. most government benefits offer cards of their own and no you can't use them in casinos.it is safer for traveling than using cash but you usually can't rent a car or reserve a flight with it. why i don't know because they do have all your information on file. my only isue was the fact they would not ship it to my po box so i had to have them ship via up with parcel pickup at their office. i live in a rural area and there is no mail delivery on my dirt road. which is fine with me because the last one who tried had to be towed out. had the 4wd only sign there for a reason

rated:
So Greendot (GDOT) drops 20% but Netspend (NTSP) is up over the last month. Why is a Netspend card worth paying for when there are these much cheaper alternatives out there?

rated:
Since my earlier comment, this ATM card rolled out today. UNFORTUNATELY they also updated the list of surcharge-free ATMs and they removed almost all in my city. I think there are now 7 or 8 in Anchorage. Before there were that many within a mile of me. Similarly on the Las Vegas Strip. Before there were a few convenient to the big hotel casinos like Planet Hollywood. Not any more.

This makes it no longer useful to me.

EDIT: Apparently I assumed the ATMs for the AMEX Pass card would be the same as the ATMs for the AMEX/WalMart Bluebird card. There are LOTS of handy ATMs for the former -- not so many for the latter.

rated:
Pass, AMEX Prepaid, Serve, AMEX for Target, and now Bluebird. AMEX seems to be carpet-bombing the prepaid world.

Unlike Pass, Prepaid, and Serve, this one has no signup bonus to take advantage of.

rated:
The travel blogs are going overboard showing you you can refill the cards with e.g. the OD Vanilla card. Also you can reload it with a debit card (pin transaction) at WalMart. Curious how fast they will shut some of it down. Also maximum is 5k per month with 1k per transaction so some effort required.

rated:
mjoply said:   sloppy1 said:   So this is targeted for the poor...

"Deposits by smartphone
Mobile bill paying"

How 'poor' are these so-called poor if they have expensive smart phones and their expensive associated monthly usage fees?


I was about to say the same thing. WalMart probably just wants some swipe fees to boost profits. I see no other reason for them to do this.

Anecdotal but about 80% of the Homeless people in my town seem to have already upgraded to the newest iPhone.

rated:
GermanExpat said:   The travel blogs are going overboard showing you you can refill the cards with e.g. the OD Vanilla card. Also you can reload it with a debit card (pin transaction) at WalMart. Curious how fast they will shut some of it down. Also maximum is 5k per month with 1k per transaction so some effort required.Which sites? I don't see anything on FT....

rated:
AsylumBoy said:   mjoply said:   sloppy1 said:   So this is targeted for the poor...

"Deposits by smartphone...Mobile bill paying"

How 'poor' are these so-called poor if they have expensive smart phones and their expensive associated monthly usage fees?


I was about to say the same thing. WalMart probably just wants some swipe fees to boost profits. I see no other reason for them to do this.

Anecdotal but about 80% of the Homeless people in my town seem to have already upgraded to the newest iPhone.

Yeah. Even the article notes this little bit of cognitive dissonance: ""A surprising number of underbanked consumers have a smartphone" they can use with a prepaid account to make purchases, Robertson said....."
All about choices I guess. What's more important; a smartfone or decent clothes for your kids?

rated:
kenblakely said:   GermanExpat said:   The travel blogs are going overboard showing you you can refill the cards with e.g. the OD Vanilla card. Also you can reload it with a debit card (pin transaction) at WalMart. Curious how fast they will shut some of it down. Also maximum is 5k per month with 1k per transaction so some effort required.Which sites? I don't see anything on FT....
Here

http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/10/22/american-express-bluebi...

or here

http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfromthewing/2012/10/23/the-nex...

Too much detail and 2 relative popular travel bloggers so I am sure it won't last very long.

rated:
Is there an actual card? When I was going thru the application it made a point of telling me it was a paperless product - so I figured it was some kind of app based account.

When I sign in however, it reads like I will be sent a physical card to activate.

rated:
Yeah there's a physical card, they will mail it to you or you can buy a temp one (and re-register) at WalMart.

rated:
For the record, looks like some AMEX benefits are included:

Every Bluebird Account provides access to benefits.
Shopping is better with Bluebird. That's because Purchase Protection* can provide coverage if an eligible purchase made with your Card is accidentally damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase.
With fraud protection,* if your Card is lost or stolen, you won't be responsible for fraudulent Card charges.
Bluebird has your back when you're traveling and need help. Global Assist® Services* offers medical, legal, and financial assistance when you're more than 100 miles from home.
If you have emergency car trouble, you have access to Roadside Assistance.* Just call us and we'll send help.
With Entertainment Access* you'll get special savings and advance tickets to some of the hottest events in music, sports, and theater.
And don't forget, you'll have 24/7 access to award-winning American Express Customer Service.

Bluebird fees a/o Oct 25, 2012:

15. Fees

a. Schedule of Bluebird Services and Fees
Unless we otherwise waive one or more fees in accordance with the terms of a program, special promotion or offer we may sponsor from time to time, we will impose the fees for the respective transactions set forth in the schedule below conducted through your Account as well as any Sub-Account(s) unless stated otherwise. All fees are in U.S. Dollars and remain subject to change in our discretion and where notice is provided as required by Applicable Law.

Bluebird Account Fee Summary
Fee Type Amount
Setup
Monthly Fee $0
Annual Fee $0
Activation $0
Add Money
Direct Deposit $0
From a Checking/Savings Account $0
From a Debit Card $2 per transaction
Cash through WalMart $0 (fee no longer applies)
Cash Reload Packs A fee is charged by the provider of the Cash Reload Pack
Deposit Checks with Mobile App $0
ATM Cash Access
For Bluebird Cards Receiving Direct Deposit*
MoneyPass™ Network ATM $0
Out-of-Network ATM $2 for each ATM withdrawal or decline
(waived through November 4, 2012)
plus any fees assessed by the ATM
owner or operator
For Bluebird Cards Not Receiving Direct Deposit
MoneyPass™ Network ATM $2 for each ATM withdrawal or decline
(waived through November 4, 2012)
Out-of-Network ATM $2 for each ATM withdrawal or decline
(waived through November 4, 2012)
plus any fees assessed by the ATM
owner or operator
*To qualify, at least one direct deposit payment must have been received in the thirty(30) days before the ATM transaction.
Our ATM transaction fees are currently waived if the Member is an Arkansas resident. Fees assessed by the ATM owneror operator may still apply.
Spend Money
Purchase Transactions We do not charge a fee for such transactions. However, the merchant or other third parties may impose fees for such transactions, which may be added to the cost of such transactions.
Pay Bills $0*
Send, Receive or Request
Send Money $0
Receive Money $0
Request Money $0
Master Account holder's transfer of money to or between, and reclamation of money from, linked Sub-Accounts $0
Information
Customer Service $0
Online Statement $0
Balance Inquiry $0
Online/Mobile $0
Other
Replacement Card(s) $0
Foreign Exchange Fees
Inactivity $0
*If consumer elects to stop payment, certain fees may apply.
The schedule above sets forth fees we impose on the respective transactions. We will deduct all applicable fees from the Available Funds in your Account, or as applicable, Sub-Account, or where the recipient has agreed to pay the fees from the funds received by a recipient, at the time of the imposition of the fees.

Other parties (such as merchants with respect to point of sale transactions, ATM operators or networks with respect to balance inquiries and withdrawal declines and ATM withdrawals of funds from your Account or Sub-Account, providers of cash funding solutions, with respect to Add Money transactions involving cash funding solutions, and other financial institutions with respect to transactions such as cash withdrawals at their branches), may impose separate fees on the same transactions and we make no accounting for those.

rated:
AMEX does not allow you to open Bluebird if you already have Serve. It seems very stupid to me.
Any idea for workaround?

rated:
groundhog said:   AMEX does not allow you to open Bluebird if you already have Serve. It seems very stupid to me.
Any idea for workaround?


Cancel Serve and get a Bluebird... If you do this, it takes a few hours for the systems to update and let your bluebird application process.

rated:
For me it took 30 seconds. Tried to get Bluebird (already had Serve), Bluebird errored out (can't remember the exact error, but it wasn't specific about having Serve). I then logged into Serve and canceled it. Got the email confirmation and then immediately resubmitted the Bluebird app and it worked instantly.

rated:
anks329 said:   groundhog said:   AMEX does not allow you to open Bluebird if you already have Serve. It seems very stupid to me.
Any idea for workaround?


Cancel Serve and get a Bluebird... If you do this, it takes a few hours for the systems to update and let your bluebird application process.


I understand that, but I don't want to cancel Serve, I like some Serve features that Bluebird doesn't have.

rated:
It says you can fund it with a Vanilla gift card... anybody think AMEX Gift Cards would work as well?

rated:
GermanExpat said:   kenblakely said:   GermanExpat said:   The travel blogs are going overboard showing you you can refill the cards with e.g. the OD Vanilla card. Also you can reload it with a debit card (pin transaction) at WalMart. Curious how fast they will shut some of it down. Also maximum is 5k per month with 1k per transaction so some effort required.Which sites? I don't see anything on FT....
Here

http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/10/22/american-express-bluebi...

or here

http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfromthewing/2012/10/23/the-nex...

Too much detail and 2 relative popular travel bloggers so I am sure it won't last very long.


Second link mentiones we can pay our rent/mortgage with this card

And we can load this card with Chase Ink and make 5%???

Woow best deal ever

rated:
Until Chase closes your accounts for abusing Ink, sure.

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rated:
For those of you having trouble with Vanilla Visa cards, this Flyertalk thread should be helpful:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manufactured-spending/1581146-mo-...

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