Walmart, American Express set to launch prepaid, checking account

Posted Oct 9, 2012 by Andrew Moran
Walmart has partnered with American Express to launch Bluebird, a prepaid card and debit account. This initiative is targeted to low-income consumers, who are aiming for fewer fees, bill payments and mobile access.
One of the largest retailers in the world wants to be your banker. At least that’s what its latest deal with American Express signifies.
The company announced in a news release that it is offering Bluebird, a prepaid card and debit account that includes many of the features that major financial institutions offer but fewer fees and more transparency.
Bluebird officially launches next week and will be available at more than 4,000 Walmart stores and on its website. It has improved since its pilot program that was launched late last year and the company said the enhancements were made through its consumers.
What are some of the benefits of being a Bluebird customer? For those looking for features, it will give low-income consumers access to smartphone deposits, mobile bill payments and account alerts and controls. For those looking for fewer fees, there are no minimum balance, monthly, annual or overdraft fees.
Of course, cardholders won’t have everything for free. Members will be charged $2 to withdraw money from an in-network and out-of-network ATM. Also, those who wish to load money from debit cards through its mobile app or online service will be charged $2 per transfer.
Meanwhile, transfers from a savings or checking account will be free, but it will take approximately three to five days for the transfers to be approved.
“Our customers tell us that they’re tired of navigating a complex maze of dos and don’ts to avoid the ever growing list of fees found on checking products. Bluebird solves this problem and we believe it’s the best product on the market to help customers affordably manage their everyday finances,” said Daniel Eckert, vice president of financial services for Walmart U.S., in a news release.
“At Walmart, we are always looking for ways to make a difference by using the strengths that come with our size, scale and reach to take on the challenges that matter most to our customers. Reducing the costs and frustration that come with high fees is one of these issues.”