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The Dirty Little Secret Behind Wal-Mart's Bluebird Cards

[Editor’s Note: In March 2013, after we published this article, American Express struck a deal with Wells Fargo allowing FDIC "pass-through" insurance to cover Bluebird prepaid cards. Customer funds are now protected up to $250,000.]

Here's something else that's got the potential to undermine our financial future…

It's about those prepaid cards, and the games that are being played with them that you may not know about.

Prepaid cards have lots of benefits, especially for the "unbanked."

These are the people who more or less may live paycheck to paycheck, or don't have jobs but need a "card" because both credit and debit cards are how we pay for most things these days.

A lot of people are rebelling, and rightfully so, against the higher and higher fees that banks are charging on checking accounts (and for all their other "services") and are turning to prepaid cards as an alternative means of paying for goods and services.

Now, American Express (NYSE: AXP) is partnering with Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) to offer Bluebird cards. The cards are being pushed through Wal-Mart stores and are ostensibly backed by American Express.

American Express? As if it's a bank. Wait a minute…

It is a bank.

That's because back on November 10, 2008, at the height of the credit crisis, American Express had to become a bank (actually a bank holding company) so it could take money from the Federal Reserve to stay alive.

You forgot that, didn't you?

And Wal-Mart, well, they have been trying to become a bank in several end-around ways.

Now, they've come together. The "bank" status of American Express and its 100-year history of issuing Travelers Checks (the first prepaid cards, really) and the marketing power and reach of Wal-Mart, into the pockets of the less than wealthy and notably underbanked, has yielded a Bluebird capable of flying in the face of safe banking.

There are lots of problems with the prepaid card game. My biggest problem is that there are plenty of fees attached to these types of cards. They're NOT free. A lot of the time folks aren't even aware of the fees they're paying.

They just know that bank fees are higher, or at least they think they are higher, which most of the time, they are.

What You Need to Know About Bluebird

Then along comes Bluebird with its no-fee prepaid cards. Sounds good, right? It is for now.

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

About the Author

Shah Gilani is the Event Trading Specialist for Money Map Press. He provides specific trading recommendations in Capital Wave Forecast, where he predicts gigantic "waves" of money forming and shows you how to play them for the biggest gains. In Zenith Trading Circle Shah reveals the worst companies in the markets - right from his coveted Bankruptcy Almanac - and how readers can trade them over and over again for huge gains. He also writes our most talked-about publication, Wall Street Insights & Indictments, where he reveals how Wall Street's high-stakes game is really played.

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  1. db | November 9, 2012

    I'd suggest that Wal-mart be required to insure the viability or "refund-ability" of the cards.

    But wasn't it your own Martin Hutchinson who suggested only a few months ago that we should let banks go bankrupt without Depositor Insurance?

    • Judith | June 11, 2015

      I recommend NO ONE purchase a Bluebird Debit (American Express) card from Walmart. Here is a list of merchants that WILL NOT ACCEPT this card:
      J.C. PENNEY
      SOME WALMARTS (Oh yeah this one really floored me!!!!!!!!!!!)

      Dont be a fool and get this card, You cant use your own money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

      • Ruthie Derby | June 18, 2015

        99 cent stores don't either

      • vicki | June 27, 2015

        do these companies not take the card because it's bluebird, or because it's amex? if it's because it's amex… well, not everyone takes amex, and you'd have to figure out a way around that. just like not everyone takes discover. find a nearby ATM. *shrug*

        if they don't take bluebird specifically… i'd complain. it's an amex card, and there's no reason for them NOT to take it

      • Melissa | August 5, 2015

        A dollar general took my bluebird card

      • annabanana | September 29, 2015

        Hey the card can be use at Dollar General, its basically their option to allow your or not. The cost for your using the bluebird card is passed on to the proprietor, 2 dollars per purchase that's a lot. Also guess what else, the proprietor agrees that you get the incentive deals on a number of other transaction with the reward points as well. So leave bluebird alone.

      • Kayla S | February 2, 2016

        I love my Bluebird card. It is just like having any American Express card. Some companies don't accept American Express, but you can pull money out of the ATM at most ATM's. I have yet had any huge problems with my Bluebird card. I can add money to it any time which is a problem I had been having with my bank because I worked the branch hours and they blocked my deposit. I have not been blocked at Dollar General or at the Dollar Tree near my home, so it is based on area.

      • Adam | October 20, 2016

        Dollar General Does where I live at.

      • Sheryl Saxon | January 19, 2017

        I've had the BlueBird card for going on four (4) years now and it's the ONLY card that doesn't charge me ANY fees, responds to all disputes that I've needed to file regarding unhappy purchases, ATM fees at MoneyPass locations, or shady merchants, and offers the benefits that they do. I've been able to use this card not only as a direct deposit for my paycheck, IRS tax refunds, and wire transfers from various institutions, but I have NEVER been told that I'm not able to use it – UNLESS, of course, the retailer themselves do not accept American Express – which there are some who still don't take AMEX because of the higher fees that merchants are required to pay. But, I tell you, a lot of merchants are signing up with Amex and getting with the times. I, personally feel that this card is the best one I've ever had. It outweighs the Account Now, WU NetSpend, and most definitely ANYTHING from Green Dot Bank! American Express Blue Bird and American Express Serve are AWESOME!

  2. Scott Howard | November 9, 2012

    Regarding transaction fees, I've been told that there are a number of these fees buried in Obama-care (oxymoron). i.e. Everytime you transfer money, use online bill pay, direct deposit, ATM, etc. Mr. Obama will get his piece of our money. Can you you confirm please?

    • robert | November 9, 2012

      I thought this nonesense would stop after the election, but ignorance never stops.
      Obama is on a salary and will get no more or less of the taxpayers money, regardless of whether you get better medical care or not.
      Yeah, I know you didn't mean that literally, but making it personal the makes losers feel better.
      Grow up.

      • NR | November 16, 2012

        The only "losers" here are the American people. With this un-American, non-American, liar/fool/idiot back in the White House, we'll all be lucky if we don't end up a Socialist Dictatorship within the next four years. Obama-care is an oxymoron and a joke, just like he is, minus the oxy-. And, no, Obama doesn't collect a percentage on any of the fees, unless he has come up with some under-the-table, dishonest way to accomplish that… Hmmm, Obama telling lies and being dishonest, immoral, and otherwise a douchebag… what a novel thought. Anyway, back to the original point, pre-paid cards can be a useful tool in specific situations, but consumers need to be responsible and thoroughly evaluate the people offering them.

        • Franc Willy | December 3, 2012

          If Obama is an, "…un-American, non-American, liar/fool/idiot back in the White House…" then what was that maniac, killer of children, war/oil-monger, hypocrite, liar/fool/horse's petute that was in office before him?

          • TexasTrace | December 18, 2012

            As I recall, his name was Barack Obama…

          • Drennen | January 2, 2013

            Well not President Bush I'll tell you that much. When did he EVER lie?? How was he a killer of children? He was anti-aborsion btw. And oh yes, hypocrite. Because Obama totally lived up to everything HE said that he was against.

            • T Marx | April 26, 2015

              Are you fricken serious? WHAT DID BUSH LIE ABOUT? And as far as he goes with the death of children? Wow…you really have some homework to do. Go to youtube and check out


              Try this one for starters…you may think its bullcrap but sure as im telling you it's for real. They're all wrapped up in this video just for folks like you.

          • T Sanders | December 11, 2013

            BRAVO ! WELL SAID

          • Richard Hamel | December 12, 2013

            Why is that relevant?

        • Ron | December 16, 2012

          What in the hell do Bluebird debit cards have to do with Obama-care?

          • marsha davila | December 28, 2012

            that's a good question, would like to know that myself!

          • lois | December 30, 2012

            i agree with you Ron. What does bluebird have to do with obama-care? I thought discussion was about the future of bluebird/walmart card fees and our money going into it isnt insured if company decides to fold

          • Drennen | January 2, 2013

            probably about the fourth person saying I agree. OBAMA-CARE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BANKS WEEDING MONEY OUT OF EVERYBODY! Except of course that OBAMA IS WEEDING MONEY OUT OF THE BANKS! Lol

          • Retaliation | December 9, 2013

            ^^^ Was thinking the EXACT SAME THING?!… Like how the subject go from Bluebird Pre-paid debit cards to Obama-Care?!… I guess people still see themselves as "So Different" that they couldn't possibly be enslaved to this game Just as much if not MORE then we are… And Yet, All I came here for was to get the dirt on Bluebird Pre-paid Debit cards… cause I own one just haven't registered it as of yet… I don't like the fact that you have to attach your SSN & full name to a Pre-paid card that is supposed to keep you from having to share so much info and to cut down on unnecessary fees one occurs with a bank.

            They want our Freedom… Period point Blank.

        • Fionna | January 6, 2013

          Hey NR,
          You probably have no concept of how ignorant you sound. Who peed on your cocoa pops. You probably have no concept of what it is like outside of the United States because you have a severely limited view of what it means to be an American. Just because you have the 'right' to say something, doesn't mean that you should. Before you publicly call the leader of your nation a moron, perhaps you should reflect on where you stand on the moronic scale. Do you equal or exceed the President in formal education? Can you claim accomplishments of greater stature than President Obama? I sincerely doubt it… if you had, you would probably understand the concept and benefits of decorum, or at the very least tact. I am not advocating blind acceptance, just the wisdom to recognize the appropriate forum for political debate. Yet, as you opened this line of discussion, I will close my reply to you with the suggestion that you read sections 7 and 8 of the first article to Constitution before offering opinions on public policy and government spending.

          Anyway, that nonsense aside, I have Bluebird and I have only good things to say about it. It is straightforward and user friendly. I did the research before purchasing and registering an account, but it is not as though I signed a contract or have somehow married myself to Bluebird… it is not a gym membership or cell phone plan, it is prepaid so I chose how much money is loaded on the card. I use it as a checking account, not a savings account. If they change the terms and start adding fees, I will simply not add any more money. No big deal, there will always be another option.

          I find it preferable to banks and credit unions who charge you for a savings account and then fine you if you don't have money to save. Then, if you close the savings account, they charge you for having a checking account. If something happens and you are tight on funds, they will find a way to take your last dollar and then charge you for not having the minimum balance. It is amazing how quickly they can take a rough month and turn it into a full on financial crisis, and until you pay them, you can't get another bank account thanks to the little black book of bankers: the CHEX system.

          • Robin | January 29, 2013

            I agree. I also have a Bluebird and absolutely love it. My son lives about 150 miles from me. I have a subaccount for him. All I have to do is add money to my card and transfer it to his card. It is great for those times when he needs money and i am so far away. Before I would have to wire it and that cost money each time you do it. I love this card and if they ever start adding fees on then I will just stop using the cards. I really don't see a down side to this type of card. It is not like I am going to put my life savings on a card of this nature.

          • James | March 4, 2013

            I haven't heard anyone mention that Walmart has it's name on the Bluebird card, yet you cannot transfer any funds from any other Walmart card to the Bluebird card. I'm thinking of Suing Walmart for that very reason. Their name is on it, yet you can't run to a Walmart Store and get any cash from the Bluebird Card unless you either buy something from Walmart and then it's just $100 dollars or use a ATM! I had over $6,000 on my Bluebird card and couldn't get one dime from Walmart.

            • Alan | October 23, 2015

              Where do you see Walmart's name on a Bluebird card? You whine that you can't get money off your Bluebird at the register without buying something… what is so difficult about getting money from the Walmart ATM (free of charge)? Good luck with that lawsuit, idiot.

            • Kayla S | February 2, 2016

              I use the ATM by the money center in Walmart and can pull out $750 a day. You may be able to up that if necessary by calling American Express. I can not get cash back personally by purchasing a product, so I don't know about that method but just as an FYI Walmart does offer an ATM that you can use free of charge.

          • China Mike | March 14, 2013

            Good for you Fiona! Tell that old codger off! Haha. As I see it from your liberal scolding of NR that you too have lived abroad. My eyes were opened in more ways than one being an American living in China. I moved there a mere five weeks after the planes plowed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Very strange times I can assure you.
            After getting a good world education as to my ignorance from my new found Brit, Australian, German, French and other expat friends, I did a near 360 degree turn-around on my political views and my staunch "Americanism" ideals. Indeed! I doubt most Americans do fully appreciate or comprehend the meaning(s) incorporated into various parts of the Constitution, especially the articles you pointed out regarding Executive Office. (fortunately for me, there were not too many Americans in China to embarrass me further!).
            I too use the Bluebird card as well as another "Greendot" Visa. Why? Because it unencumbered me from having the rule of law as dictated by many financial institutions (i.e. deciding without my consent to charge me overdraft fees even when I supposedly opted out or, never even given the opportunity to!).
            Less gov't in my wallet more or less. The longer I was away from the USA, the more I realized how brainwashed the general American public was about contracts! Phones? Insurance? You name it, most Americans have no clue as to their rights and privileges regarding them. When I left in 2001, nearly 95% of Americans using mobile phones were tied to a contract. Abroad, nearly 95% of people from all nations used prepaid service. Why? Because, you pull a chip from your phone when you crossed borders, buy a new chip in new area, plug in, Viola! You're calling again. And banks (in China at least) were incredibly well run (most are open 7 days a week!).
            So yes, more power to the prepaid services all around. I love, love, LOVE the idea of taking the power away from corporate America any chance I can.

          • Melissa Boyd | July 1, 2013

            Fionna, I must say I love your response and agree 100% I especially love your writing skills! Well done!

          • lreilsel | February 19, 2014

            Fionna- you are awesome. I couldn't have said it better myself. And I too have a Bluebird card and love it. I read the above article to discover the dark side of Bluebird but the author does not in any sense prove his point. Does anyone know what is supposed to be so bad about the card? Terrible article, terrible writer. As a teacher, I give it a D-.

        • Vannie | January 11, 2013

          Obama wasnt the first one in the white house, why is every bad thing his fault! It was a mess before him and will be after him! Looser you say but obviously the other opponent wasnt winning enough to make it! Get over who's president and look at who is really taking from the american people. Oh and take a history class, the only real AMERICANS are Indians!

          • mrshendricks | January 25, 2013

            Hey Vannie the last time I checked I was born in this country just like the current indians…STUPID! God why don't you people stop being sheeple?

          • America 4 Americans | January 16, 2014

            This great nation of ours at one time served as a beakon on a hill. We were founded on Christian ideals and we whooped the British during the revolution because of prayer and humbleness.

            Fast forward to WWII and you see that we whooped those heathen Nazis, because we were on the side of rightiousness.

            Everything was good in America as it had always been till the 1960s. Then nonchristians and minorities began pushing drugs and evil on our society. It has pretty much been downhill since.

            The last GREAT president we had was Ronald Reagan. He was a man that understood right and wrong.

            Too many Obamy lovers, nonchristians, kids with their pants hanging off their rear, and tree hugging hippie freaks have assaulted this country. It is very obvious that they are here to prepare for the end times and work for the devil.

            • Jack | August 22, 2015

              Beakon? Do you mean Bacon? Maybe you meant bacon. No, wait… that would be cannibalism. (That is a big word that means a species which eats other members of its own species.)

              You're an idiot.

        • D | August 15, 2013

          NR, Did you learn all that from our biggest pig in American? Yes, I am referring to Mr. Defacto Whip of the New Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh. As for OXY, yes it does fit the bill.
          Thank you for your interest.

      • Ken | December 8, 2012

        He may be on a salary but I know you and I pay for all the vacations and outings that they take!

        • Barbara Jacobie | August 23, 2013

          Did you have a problem with the other presidents who were in office taking vacations?

      • Dave | December 18, 2012

        Grow up, yeah that's a mature responce. Do you really think the president wants the job for the "salary"? Really?

        • mrshendricks | January 25, 2013

          Nope, he doesn't care about the salary or the benefits…it's the POWER! Remember, rape has nothing to do with sex; or money/benefits in his case, it has everything to do with POWER!

          • lmao | February 17, 2013

            LMAO, now Obama is a rapist… you really cannot make this stuff up.

          • Barbara Jacobie | August 23, 2013

            People who are ignorant will never be persuaded to be wise,because they are not open-minded enough to learn. Obama is trying to help the american people.He will go down as one of our best presidents one day. Those that don't like or can't except will just be who they are:what did you say earlier_morons? You are prob the one that needs help and can benefit,if not don't hate on someone who is trying to help those that need help. You r a creep who needs prayer

      • Bren | December 29, 2012

        For the retired or disabled in America this is a sham. The Federal Government has notified us that we MUST have direct deposit for our checks by March. No more mail service. Many people do not have a checking account, especially the ones that are 'special needs'. This is almost predatory in nature for them. Banks are charging more in fees, or charging for low balances.

        • Barb | January 11, 2013

          Here's a heads up for you. Social Security and Disability both off a card to you for the issue of direct deposit. Just go online or to your local Social Security Office to set that up. To many people have issues with our wonderful mail system now with checks being stolen, delivered to the wrong address, tardiness due to weather or holidays or just flat out laziness by the mail carrier who stock pile the mail in his trunk (yes, this has happened in my neck of the woods). It is really a much better system than old fashioned checks. Have a great day.

      • john | March 24, 2014

        everything our gov't does is personal to each of us. not being offended by it is exactly why our population is full of retards!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • wade | August 25, 2015

        okay it has been proven that obamacare has been receiving funds from hidden taxes/charges . No obama is not getting any money from theses funds but he is receiving kick backs. and he is bankrupting our economy through obamacare.

    • Lady T | November 13, 2012

      President Obama will personally get that money? That's crazy! Is that legal? Your post suggests that every time banks charge fees for their services, they share those profits with the president!

      That sounds insane. Are you insane?

      • DK | December 8, 2012

        OMG! It's more clear than ever…

        I good percentage of Americans are puppets of the media and worse yet ignorant…

        I thought that after the election circus things will started to settle down but the moaning of getting a second chance still tormenting the stupidity of big chunk of this society which still blind and agrees to continue to be handle like cattle in this era of technology where information it's just about everywhere…

        This stupid behavior of looking after our own individual problems and not the common well of everybody it's what's really taking down this nation and of course with not disrespect this type of attitude…

      • marsha davila | December 28, 2012


      • Drennen | January 2, 2013

        Dude, not literally. When they said "The president", they just meant the government, the white house, THE OVAL OFFICE. Lol chill

      • Barbara Jacobie | August 23, 2013

        Not insane,just willfully ignorant and straight up stupid.

    • Sherry | November 16, 2012

      Someone is getting it, but I don't think it's President Obama. My check is direct deposit and I never get a fee for it. Each time I go to my bank's ATM I don't get a fee. The only fee I get is if I use someone else's ATM. If I pay by check, I have to purchase stamps. We have always paid fees, unless you go to straight cash and that's impossible.

    • Eric | August 3, 2013

      Yeah, I also heard that Obama is responsible for the Kennedy assassination…! Lol

    • Jenren | January 23, 2016

      Yes it goes into Obama personal bank account

  3. Marc de Piolenc | November 9, 2012

    As dirty secrets go, this one is not particularly dirty. It's not a bank, so it isn't insured as a bank – I get that. What's more, if I'm living hand-to-mouth, the card is only a conduit between my paycheck and my grocery store, and the most that I ever have at risk – and only for a few hours every month – is the equivalent of one paycheck. Furthermore, I don't consider myself entitled to being bailed out if my bank or credit union goes under – the taxpayers who are robbed for that purpose probably are not responsible for the failure, so why should they pay for it? Life is risky, but this is one risk I might be willing to take, not just to avoid bank fees but to preserve my privacy.

    • Realistic | November 14, 2012

      I swear Wal-Mart preys on the naivety of people. You have got to be out of your ever-loving mind to walk down this Bluebird road. There are so many banks out there that offer Free accounts if you play by their rules (which isn't that hard). Everybody thinks that banks should handle their money, process checks, provide cash access (ATMs), honor a piece of paper (checks) and give cash without knowing if it is good, have staff to answer questions and insure your money for free. How do you think the staff is paid? Yes money is made on the spread (interest rate) when it is loaned out, but as the nation gets more and more fiscally irresponsible that spread gets smaller and smaller. Oh and also the amount of fraud increases every year a bank must absorb those. I think bank fees suck but I also haven't paid any for years. Know the rules and be responsible and you won't pay any. I wonder how quickly Patriot Act violations will come with Bluebird? I'm not down with this type of prepaid vehicle that will surely support money laundering. This has trouble written all over it!!

      • Peggy | March 2, 2013

        I got a Bluebird card, the reason I did was I did not want to put my debit card number on the internet when I saw something I wanted. I was told at Walmart that I could not use Bluebird but once when I tried to put more money on it( I keep very little in Bluebird) also I would have to go online to register to get a permanent card. I went online and they requested information that I was not willing to give. If I would not put my debit card number online why would I put my social security number online. I called Bluebird and they told me I had 2 options; to put my ss # online or not get Bluebird. The agent also told me that she could not register me: I had to do register it online. I will not put my debit card or ss# on internet so I refused the Bluebird card

      • sam | December 5, 2014

        Do you know that if obama declares a state of emergency he has a right to take control of all accounts held by banks? A legal way to take your hard earned money.

  4. Carl Fedako | November 9, 2012

    When will we come to the understanding that the quickest, cheapest, safest, and easiest way to pay for goods and services is with good old CASH .

    • 000060652048 | November 9, 2012


      • LtP | November 11, 2012

        I pay my 'pay as you go' AT&T phone bill with cash at one of their kiosks. Sure the software needs upgrading but I CAN put in US (paper) currency and am credited the entire face value ($10, $20, etc) without any fee.

        I rarely use my mobile phone so I wouldn't sign-up for any contract plan – the cheapest running $50/mth so I simply insert a $10 bill once a month ($0.10/min).

        • Greg | January 8, 2013

          It's because they want to strongarm all their customers into using automated services for payment so that they can cut out customer service jobs, which in their typical white collar arrogance they regard as spending to be cut. As people use the method of payments that don't incur fees, the execs will claim "people don't want to pay in person anymore so we shouldn't staff for it." They'll then lay off all the people who weren't servicing customers not because people didn't want to come in person, but because they were smart enough not to pay more to do it. Companies want to automate everything for the sake of cutting costs but are destroying this country by doing away with every traditional means of earning a paycheck so you HAVE money to pit INTO the economy.

      • florida girl | December 10, 2012

        Metro PCS cell phone service in Florida dose that too, if u want to pay with cash u get charged a $5 fee. For cash! WHAT?!?!

    • Michael Manning | November 9, 2012

      I agree with you to a point, cold hard cash is a way to pay for things…but in the long run how good is your cash when you are paying $5 a gallon gas? what happens when it goes to $10 a gallon?
      Let me ask you this, does the gas price or food price or "stuff" price fluctuate with the dollar or does the dollar fluctuate with the price of "stuff"?

    • george jefferson | November 16, 2012

      Carl, you are correct sir! but at the same time i admit i have had a walmart visa moneycard since i think 2009. if you add/spend $1000 a month, no fees, always $3 to load any amount, i never had a monthly fee because i always have to load and then spend over $1000 a month paying bills but i think its $3. also all the time i get $0.10 to $0.15 off of every gallon of gas i buy.

      i am like you, i get a paycheck, I CASH IT AT BANK ITS DRAWN OFF OF, get and keep my cash, but lets face it you need access to a credit card now a days for some stuff. i usually load about $300 a month (cost $3) just to use for gas ( at $3.25 a gallon, thats approx. 92 gallons) that saves me $10-$15 a month, its not a huge amount but its something.

      i guess what i trying to say is people need to balance this stuff. if you use credit cards and you are not a company using it as a revolving credit line to buy inventory every month, you are an idiot! trust me i know, when times were good, i would run up $20,000 to even $60,000 in a couple of months on cards and pay the balance and do it all over again until 2008 when economy collapsed. i had some of those cards for 20 years, not a single late payment, FIRST LATE PAYMENT EVER, rates went from the super low set rates of 2%-7% that i spent years earning, went up to as much as 36%!

      i believe in cash, carry cash, believe in cash, and most of all believe in a mans word and loyalty. LOL, when the credit card companies refused to help me after I did them right for so many years, i told them flat out, put my rates back to our agreed rate while i sort out my problems are you get not a single dime from me, $0, zip, notta! i guess they didnt believe me, but they learned, and ate about $80,000.00! dumb asses! i am not a dead beat, i told them i would continue paying, never said i would not, but i would not pay more than the rate in our contract! they broke contract, so F!^%#-'em!

      but these prepaid cards can be helpful and actually if you pick the right one, use it the right way, you can save a few dollars to :)

      ALL I CAN SAY IS… READ! READ! READ! READ! the fine print on these pre-paids, and good chance you can capitalize on a benefit from one of them that in your certain situation will actually allow you to get one over on these crooks! like me, i use alot of gas, always on the road, i get benefit of access to a visa if a need it and save a few dollars a months, like i said $9-$15 isnt a lot but ide rather be on the recieving end then other way around!

  5. Mike in Mt | November 9, 2012

    Using cards is a way to take advantage of good online deals when you don't live near major shopping areas. Not ALL of us live in a city or major suburb!

    • Josh | November 16, 2012

      I agree with you on that.
      I can tell that most comments here were written by people who have never endured hardship and have certainly never been poor. There are alot of factors that keep the poor from having an actual bank account, there are credit issues, problems with other bank accounts in the past like unpaid fees, there are minimum balances which are hard for a paycheck to paycheck situation, and a general distrust of banks. Walmart has earned the trust of the poor with their consistent low costs, and Amex is a brand name most poor associate with the rich. Having a prepaid card with alot of the bells and whistles of a checking account is a way to access some of the luxuries and conveniences the higher class takes for.granted, like online bill pay, direct deposit, and deposits with a smart phone.

      • Barb | January 11, 2013

        Amen to that. I am one of those with"issues" in the past such as ex-husbands. I'm sorry if I did not spend the money I should not be held responsible regardless if we were still married or not. Gotta love a common law state like that. My current husband also owes back child support (he was out of work for 2 years looking for a job, but they don't care) so they can freeze my account and take the whole amount any time they get an itch. It's happened to me. What they fail to understand is I have bills too. This is the securist way I know of to manage my income and pay my bills without walking around with a bunch of money because that is oh so safe too. I also got one for my daughter who is a single mom. This card allows me to transfer money to her card without having to make a trip to moneygram, get charged an outrageous fee and it is instant. No more worries for me. I like this card risks and all.

  6. PT | November 9, 2012

    This seems one of the best prepaid card out there. Period. Its not issued by bank, and hence is not FDIC insured but so are most of the prepaid cards.

    Regarding interchange, arent all the cards living off that? How is Bluebird different than Chase liquid or any other bank's prepaid here? Interchange is not a Bluebird specific feature. Does that mean government should stop the whole business of prepaid cards?

    This card has one of the lowest fee across the prepaid cards segment. Even Chase liquid, that advertises itself as no hidden cost, one of the lowest fee, etc has ~$4/month fee. For what? Just keeping a card in your wallet!? Bluebird definitely beats that. No monthly fee, no minimum balance requirement, etc

    Finally, how many cards offer features such as bill pay, subaccounts, etc?

    So to the critics out there, dont beat the drum just to make sound off it. Look at what are the alternatives in this segment and then analyse a new product.

    • Suzanne Potvin | November 11, 2012

      Of course it is one of the best ! Two giants operating all over the world will know how to take advantage of their captive audience. To S. Gilani : Thanks for this very good article.

    • Card Processor Eric | November 12, 2012

      Chase liquid fees are about 1.55% at interchange, depending on the upcharge to the merchant could be another .10% to 1% tacked on by the processor.

      Personally, your money is safer in a prepaid card. It's 100% backed by YOUR's a law that all prepaid companies must abide by now.

      1/9th of your money-my money is really in our respective bank/credit union account…something to think about!

  7. Jason | November 9, 2012

    The author should do some more fact checking before some of the blanket statements made …

    Fees: If you go to a reputable prepaid company you will see the fees spelled out, simple and easy to understand. An award winning prepaid company that does this is

    FDIC: There are some prepaid cards that offer FDIC protection – Mango is one of them. It is irresponsible to write that prepaid cards are not FDIC protected. It would be responsible to write that each prepaid vendor has the option to offer FDIC protection – good companies do and bad companies don't.

    When you don't do your home work it is easy to bash prepaid cards. I hope the author of the article does some work and writes an honest and more articulate recap of prepaid cards – both good and bad.

  8. Melanie | November 9, 2012

    Sadly, this day and age you need a credit/debit type card to get by. I have also run into places not accepting cash and if you need to rent a car or Hotel they won't rent to you without one…

    for banking I went with a virtual bank and it is working out great and cheap…

    Personally I think they are jsut trying to cash in on a trend…

  9. Emanuel Gonzales | November 10, 2012

    I read some where I believe it was in the contract about , them getting your power of attorny when you excepted the Bluebird Card. I'm sure it was in the Bluebird Contract .

  10. Patrice Peyret | November 10, 2012

    This is a needlessly negative article with very poor arguments.
    Disclosure: my company runs the UPside prepaid card program, so I am coming to the defense of a competitor here.
    Yes, BlueBird is not free. There is NO free banking product anywhere. Supposedly free checking accounts charge up to $33 per overdraft occurrence.
    By any measure, the BlueBird card is a very reasonably priced products.

    Yes Amex is making money on the fees paid by accepting merchants. So do all Visa and MasterCard cards. These fees are not paid by cardholders.

    The absence of FDIC insurance implies that you can't receive your tax refund or other government benefits on a BlueBird card; you would need to pick another card to do so.
    It does not mean that the card is unsafe.

    Money Morning News is doing a disservice to its readers by letting so poorly informed articles being published.

    • KENNEDY | March 18, 2014

      Yes. You can have your tax refund direct deposited to your bluebird amex card.
      I have had a bluebird card for over a year and I love it. I also have the checkbook, etc. No min bal and no min deposit amount, and no hidden fees. I have NEVER PAID A FEE. I suggest the author of this article and anyone else giving facts about the card, should GET the card or research it before you give erroneous unsubstantiated statements. The card is wonderful! People are wising up and taking advantage of consumer products that will help with our bottom line. The big banks have been dirty for years and I refuse to have my hard earned money sucked up every month. No thanks! As long as their are alternative products, I'm in.

  11. Amanda C | November 11, 2012

    The amount of money I will have in this account will only be for bills I cannot pay with cash, which will be a small 'riskable' amount every month. Otherwise, we use cash. We tried a bank account last year and the fees just weren't for us. I'm so glad this has come out.

  12. Carrie | November 11, 2012

    So whats the pro's and con's of the walmart money card vs. bluebird? Should I countinue to use the walmart money card or should I use the bluebird? I do know I am being charged three dollars to load monies onto the walmart card, and charged three dollars a month fee. What to do?

  13. Card Processor Eric | November 12, 2012

    Scare tactics do Nothing but harm the Ill-informed and the companies that try to help those whom they serve. The author is an idiot, plain and simple. He or she…. is a strategist, not someone who may speak with authority on money…it's mechanics nor how processing works!

    Yet the author feels their mind can grasp the understanding of this subject is beyond me let alone baffles me to my core! This is a weak-minded pencil parrot with a bullhorn doesn't know that during the 2008 banking bailout era created a very little-known law pertaining to pre-paid credit card companies. In a nutshell, 100% of your money must be backed with money…ie, you put in your paycheck on a bluebird card, ALL your money is sitting into an account with your name on it!

    Unlike the banks and credit unions, only 1/9 th of your money is really there. If you put your paycheck of $1,000 in your bank or credit union…only $99.99 must be in the reserves BY LAW! tell me which is safer?…oh yeah..the FDIC! If a bank or credit union goes under and isn't absorbed by another bank, they do insure you …they can take 30-40 YEARS to repay you!

    Yes the credit cards come with fees however AMEX fees to the store owner are set in stone.

    Typical fees on Amex are 2.89% or 3% or 3.5% depending on the type of store you shop in. From what I've seen, some processors rape their clients (store owners) and put them at 4% to 7% for Visa-MasterCard debit/credit fees..and they don't even know it! Yet, the card processor says that AMEX is expensive! WOW, that is bold…but that's how they do it.

    Let's put this fear tactician to bed…GM took money..still hasn't paid it back. Do you see people driving new cars and trucks? Yep!

    UPS took bail-out money. I don't know if it's been paid back, but are they delivering packages in the big brown trucks-worldwide? HMMMM!

    So- shah gilini, author of the aforementioned article..when the adults are speaking, that means you keep Your comments to yourself, also… Take your crayons, construction paper mess and child-safe scissors to your crib and remain in timeout until we decide on an appropriate punishment for Impersonating an adult that knows something about Money and its Mechanics.

  14. Card Processor Eric | November 12, 2012

    Excuse me, AMEX card fees are lower than what merchants are being charged to debit/credit cards via Visa and MasterCard. Geesh people, since when do you care about store owners?

    You don't! You only care when you see they can retire comfortably and drive and live in nice things and places!

    Prepaid card companies are required by law to back dollar for dollar your deposits..the BAILOUT law of 2008! I suggest you read it sometime..oh yeah, you won't because you'll take the author "Shah's" word for it!

    Banks and credit unions are only required to put 1/9th of the money in their reserve account with the state and federal regulators…hmm genius, that means if they go under, you are screwed. FDIC will pay you about 20-30 years. Yeah, it's insurance Einstein.

    Not with a prepaid card, your money has your name on it. Amex and walmart will split up the card fees and the monthly fees.

    Oh yeah…AMEX…Is a bank. Wrap your head around that thought!

  15. Card Processor Eric | November 12, 2012

    Here is something the author doesn't know…

    The author doesn't understand processing fees. He doesn't know that AMEX has fees set by industry so all the stores in that SIC code are all charged the same!

    Ie, all convenience stores are at 3.5%

    All wholesale are 2.89% and .15 cents

    So on and so forth…

    Yet, If the store owner has debit/credit card fees by visa and MasterCard, they may pay anywhere from 1.6% – 16.5%. Yep, I've seen it. Depending on the fees set by guys like me…the processor!

    Regardless of govt intervention/fees imposed by regulation.

  16. Card Processor Eric | November 12, 2012

    There are more dirty secrets folks.

    Just because the Dodd-frank bill was in law with the addition of the Durbin admendment set govt regulated fees with debit cards wasn't geared to help you or me or the store owner, it was another bank bailout put on the Backs of the store owners which In and I are paying for.

    Government set debit fees at .21 cents per transaction…but banks left their merchant fees at 1.05% and up…so they lowered the floor so the banks can profit more.

    Here is an example…$100 charge at the merchant (store)

    Bank/processor charges (store) $1.05 because that is the rate they are charging

    True cost to bank.. .21 cents

    Now..can you see the profit to the bank or processor? .84 cents

    Yes it is nickel and dime but when you spread this out over several people making swipes several times per day, it really ads up!

    Have fun pondering this!

  17. Robert Palmer | November 12, 2012

    excellent site looking forward to the Monday Morning Newsletter!

  18. anna | November 12, 2012

    I used a prepaid card for a while because I had a Judgment against me and they kept trying to freeze my accounts and I never had any problems with my prepaid card.. Either they can't access them or they're not on their radar.

  19. Lady T | November 13, 2012

    Our obsession with electronic payments is squeezing small business owners. I have to charge upwards of 20% on some items just to cover bank fees. Bottom line: consumers pay more because they can't handle cash. Our laziness will be the death of us!

  20. L Hale | November 13, 2012

    This article has a tone of bias against pre-paid card holders being "unbanked". Too bad more research wasn't done to include those of us who use them to purchase/pay bills online. We switched when our local cable company began charging a $2.99 "convenience fee" when we paid cash at the local office (and how this is "convenient" still hasn't dawned on me). Now, if our online identity is compromised, there is no connection to our bank account (which is quite healthy, thank you). I for one will be looking into the Bluebird card.

    It's clear by your Mission Statement ("Money Morning is here to help investors profit handsomely on this seismic shift in the global economy") is geared towards the exact type of person we, the taxpayers, had to bailout in the not so distant past. And…I might add…the type of person we DID NOT want running this country. Disgraceful.

    • Candace | November 16, 2012

      I'm not sure who you're referring to when you say "we" as in the person who we did not want running our country. Please speak for yourself and not the entire nation, because I, for one, voted for our president and I'm glad he's running this country.

      What would you have done as President when the Real Estate Industry crashed and sent our economy spiraling into a world of hell and a great number of industries were going down in flames and needed government assistance lest they take our economy down completely? What would you have done to promote consumer spending by stimulus in order to inject some life back into our economy? Or better yet what would you have done to help the millions of Americans who lost their jobs and were standing on their last leg barely making it with the peanuts they were receiving from Unemployment? Or how about the school grants that have sent thousands of Americans back to school to learn trades and skills that would take them out of their impoverished states and into a better life and job that would both increase the quality of life and strengthen our economy? What about finally accomplishing something in the "War on Terror" ? We finally got Bin Laden!! Bush was searching for him for how long? And I'm not saying anything negative about Bush, but we as Americans, of ALL backgrounds, have to STOP bashing our President because we don't like the color of his skin or for any reason based off of unfounded and biased opinions of others.

      Its time to come together to help OUR nation. And that includes everyone IN IT.

      • mrshendricks | January 25, 2013

        Ummm, you need to stop drinking the kool-aid, dear, it's obvious you've had entirely too much!

      • Ascension | February 28, 2013

        Uh Obamas military machine is now in thirteen countries as the aggressor. Obama is handing fighter jets and Abrams tanks and handheld weapoms of every description to known terrorists, Obama is smuggling arms through turkey into Syria to aid the rebels who also were our enemy in Iraq which led to the death of Stevens and three others including a marine who chose to disregard direct orders from the white house to stand down and not protect Stevens and other Americans (Bengazhi). Obama didn't bail out the corporations the first time around Qe1 Bush did, it failed it shouldn't have been tried again Qe2 and again Qe3. The value of the dollar since Obama took office has been cut in half according to the gold standard, and govt deals and manipulation by the Fed are the only thing keeping hyper-inflation from destroying everything instantly. Gitmo is still open. A massive percentage of violent crime in this country is perpetrated by illegal aliens… Obama is giving them amnesty; therefore Obama is directly responsible for massive numbers of violent crime. Obama sent weapons across the Mexican border to drug cartels, intentional let them walk; resulting in the death of hundreds of Mexicans and several Americans. Obama could create an economic boom in this country instantly by lifting his moratorium on drilling here in the states; and gas prices would plummet as well; disposable income rise and people spend freely; get out of debt; provide for themselves and since they have a job; they pay taxes so we don't have to borrow 6 trillion 6,000,000,000,000.00 from china over the next four years. Bin Laden was killed in 2008 by Seal Team 6 as he left The hospital where his mother was being treated, an American hospital, we knew where he was at all times he. Isiged her at least twice a year during the "man hunt" his death was kept secret so the war would still be funded. Bush was a blow hard ass; but Obama is a communist who is systematically destroying this country. Nothing easiest about anything, he is only half white. I am a conservative black man; and I saw what he was "a socialist Marxist propagandist" from the beginning. He is an anti jobs growth, anti freedom, anti American criminal.

        And yay to the prepaid cards…

      • Bob | June 9, 2013

        Typical liberal racist!

  21. Diana | November 14, 2012

    I personally love this card, i automatically have part of my paycheck put on it every payday. The only fee i have was the $5.00 i paid to get the card. There are no fees to down load money if its automatic deposit and you put more than $1000 per month on the card.
    I do have a seperate checking and savings account, but use this card for automatic pmts and pmts that dont have a revolving same date pmt. This eliminates overdraft costs. you also do not have monthly charges.
    I also use this card in place of a traditional charge card for car + hotel rental.
    Its nice to have options with your money and this card allows that.
    as far as the card noy being insured, you can only have a minimum amt. of money on the card at one time, i think around $1200, so there's not much to lose. its a gamble but worth it.

    • Franc Willy | December 3, 2012

      What card are you talking about? I don't believe it's Bluebird. Have you even used Bluebird card?

  22. agustin | November 14, 2012

    I do not recommend prepaid card to anyone!I have got horrible service with them.They refuse to transfer my money out cuz they can't verify me by my email even though i set up an account. Registered online gave them all my info and set up my pin and even received my new card with my name on it but I can't take any money out or use it!!!!!I called customer service and they had me on hold for over 2 hours!!!!they told me there is no way to get my money out o=unless i vertifffied my account by email…The problem is that they say they send confirmations to my email but I don't recieve anything . I tried 4 different email addresses and still no help…They have hung up on me multiple times and my money till this day is still stuck with them on that stupid card!!worst company ever and worst pre-paid card ever .STAY far away

    • willow | June 22, 2013

      I have had the same experience with Bluebird, Agustin. Registered online, claim they can't verify me. Won't recognize my login. Frustrating. Does not inspire confidence.

  23. Tyson | November 14, 2012

    Wow your brash and somewhat stuck up stance on these cards is quite sickening. I have been a loyal user of a "pre-paid" card service for quite a while now. I have had no problems and have been very happy with the service and features that come along with it. The tone of this article is one of failure. Why? Are you tired of paying outrageous fees at your current credit card company? Are you mad that the bank full of idiots lost some of your money? Was the bank closed and you were unable to access your funds on a Sunday? You almost seem to put down people that use this service like we are bums living paycheck to paycheck. Are you so rich that you have never had to live that way? Well if that's the case good for you, but don't throw this service under the bus like you have in this article. You almost seem excited to see it fail. Quite disturbing to me. I'll keep using my pre-paid card and continue to enjoy the benefits that come with it

    • bug'nout | November 16, 2012

      @tysons' comment:


      Nailed it. Right in the forehead.

      Amen brutha. Amen.

  24. nada | November 15, 2012

    As a long-time user of the UpSide card (which I love btw, except the limit to 7 sales transactions per day) I will be checking into the BlueBird card for myself and my daughter.

    I've never had any issues that weren't quickly resolved with one phone call! The fees I'm charged with UpSide are minimal compared to what I was paying at a bank PLUS I feel my money is actually safer because when I had a bank account twice I had issues with money being taken out that I had not authorized and it took forever to remedy that – and in one instance I was out $1500 that I never recovered!!

  25. kim jong il | November 15, 2012

    wye kaynt we git them goodies fer free lyk them ferrun places. i heer tell thay gits ta jumpin round and burnin stuff an tha gubmint jus roll over and giv it to um. wye dount the gubmint jes preyunt moor muny and mayk everbudy happy ?

    • bug'nout | November 16, 2012

      dayum Jed, they'allz dun tryed that all-reddy…ya gotsta memberz back when we gots our $46.67 tax break thatchu drunk up? They got $46,000,000 and a pree-motion!

    • buff | November 16, 2012

      DO WHAT?

  26. Marko | November 15, 2012

    I have to agree with Tyson. This is somewhat of a stuck-up stance in regards to prepaid cards. I have been using one in establishments where I don't feel comfortable using my debit card and for online purchases. It's quite handy and you are not risking your bank account by doing so. I'm not opposed to paying the fee in exchange for safety.

    With regards to the person that suggested that Obama will get a piece of the money collected…hahaha. That's hillarious! Everyone knows that Obama is becoming very wealthy due to a gullible public, but this is most definitely not how he is doing it.

  27. hootie | November 15, 2012

    I just want to say that I have American Express Prepaid Card I love it. The card is well worth the 5.00 dollar for loading money on it. Trust at some banks if you keep certain amount in your checking you going to get with 5.00, 10.00 dollar charge. I use my card just like any member of Amercian Express. Plus I was out town and lost my card and call the customer service and they had card within 3 days and they make sure I had funds on me to get home. Do your homework and dont just negative about American Express show some postives I have same benefits as a regualr member of American Express.

  28. Bug'nout | November 16, 2012

    Firstly, I dislike the tone and "holier-than-thou" stance the author of this extremely opinionated drivel takes…I can see the podium and smell the clean "banked" three piece suit all the way from back here in the nosebleed section…how do you see anything when you're looking sooo far down that nose? Thank you so much oh noble one, protecting us unwashed masses from the evils of..wait a minute…BIG BANKING….the very ones that got us into this mess in the first place..than parachuted into their bailouts… oh yes we remember. In an economy ever widening between the haves and the have-nots, credit is king and those of us without are cannon-fodder. Did you know that 49+ MILLION U.S. citizens are now at or below the poverty line? Prepaid cards are the only way a lot of us can even hope to tread water in this vile world that money has built!! Maybe it's a good thing that "The New Normal" in weather patterns (as the new catchphrase bithely terms it) is about to completely grind to dust the precariously unstable financial empire the Fatkats have built. No skills? No cash? Your suit and wallet full o' cards ain't gonna save you this time, gonna be a harsh (and just) payback methinks…those frequent-flyer credit cards ain't gonna buy jack when everyone finally realizes that Sandy was just the first pitch…and Nature *always* bats last. Learn to swim.

  29. walmarts friend | November 16, 2012

    Just a lot of stupid people posting ignorant opinions about stuff they know nothing about, but will swear till their last breathe they are right and everyone else is wrong.

    Tyson, you go boy

  30. Donnie Alter | November 16, 2012

    I paid with my card at an Exxon station….i charged 44.00 dollars but when i looked at my balance they took out 100.00 dollars. When I called them they said retailers put a hold on an extra fifty dollars . i went to the exxon station and they blamed blue bird!!! Who is telling the truth and what gives anyone the right to take out double the amount of purchase!?! Has anyone else had this happen to them??

    • britney | December 9, 2012

      This has happened to me the problem is you used it as a credit and not a debit and it was the gas companies doing.

    • duane lominac | August 10, 2013

      You have to buy a specified amount of gas before you pump, at the register, rather than just press the credit button, which puts a hold on a certain amount of money on the card.

    • lreilsel | February 19, 2014

      ALL gas stations put a hold on a ridiculous amount of money when you buy gas with a credit or debit card. I learned long ago always to pay cash for gas!!

  31. Regina | November 18, 2012

    There is a pre-paid card that IS FDIC insured. That is the Chase liquid card. It's through chase bank but is a pre-paid. Also, Netspend. They once refunded me for unauthorized charges because they were insured. While I'm sure there are prepaid cards that are not insured… Some are.

  32. Angry Consumer | November 23, 2012

    This expalins why all of a sudden last month (October) that Walmart's Telecheck system started refusing my checks for absolutely no reason! They are trying to force cusotmers to use this crappy Bluebird B.S.

    And I am not the only one. there are complaints all over the internet about it, and several people that we know started having the same problem.

    This needs to be stopped! I will start driving out of my way to avoid shopping at Walmart now!!


    • OMG | March 21, 2014

      its not Walmarts telecheck system … you need to learn.. telecheck is its own company…. Walmart is just a company that uses TELECHECK… it is TELECHECK you are mad at … it is you that does not know where to focus your anger… how ignorant

  33. Steve | December 2, 2012

    I like your brilliance, so I want to share a thought that I think goes right along with Wal Mart wanting to work with American Express. I've actually been nervous about sharing this. I'm talking about the Federal Reserve Board/Bank/House & Senate created and authorized "NSF Fees." It took a long time to come up with the next thought I have to share. Why aren't those "NSF Fees" labeled or named what they really are? Lines of credit, interest rates on short term loans when one of "Wal Mart's paycheck to paycheck customers overdrafts their bank account for a couple of dollars and has to pay an "NSF Fee" ranging from $25-35 give or take a dollar or two. You see I don't understand why an agreement can't be put in place for people like me and plenty of others whereby we will be made to understand that we will as an example, be given a reasonable 2-3 days to deposit that couple of dollars and avoid those horrendously high (6-800% APR) that even loan sharks would be run out of town about. Is anyone getting my drift here? If you extrapolate (is that the right word?) the "NSF Fee" against the $2 overdraft out to an annual rate of interest then who among us that have paid those "fees" wound not be outraged?!!

  34. trlinde | December 10, 2012

    This basically boils down to two parts.
    1st, to eliminate the use of and if possible all together, a cash (or coin) currency.
    Which brings us to the 2nd part.
    Card transactions, and card transactions, are traceable. It's just data on the net and once it gets logged it can be traced.
    Government you say? Well they haven't a clue, it's big business and the consumer marketing firms that want to pigeon hole every one of us into that particular popup add group they have all lined up from the scooter store.

  35. Nick | December 10, 2012

    Donnie, Is the the gas stations fault. It is typical to place a preauthorization hold on an amount when you first swipe your card. There are formulas that vary by establishment. It a function of the price of gas and the typical amount sold per transaction. So $5.00/gal of gas * average 15 gal tank for a car or 20 gal tank for SUV = $75-$100. The hold falls off automatically after a couple of days or whatever is set by the merchant. Sometimes the merchant will cancel the hold which is very common with large corporate chains like QT. Not the ones that are independent owners or each location.

    The same thing happens in hotels or rental cars or many other things where the total charge is not know until after the card is swiped.

    Now important to recognize is that since Bluebird is a stored value / pre-paid card and there is a fixed amount mount available it will follow more or less the same scheme as a debit card. A pre-auth hold will reduce the total available buying power by the amount that is held. This is to prevent over spending the amount avail to the holder. Credit cards by contrast will, depending on the card issuer and agreement, exceed the total credit limit so a hold may not immediately decrease buying power.

    Hope that helps a bit … standard disclaimers apply.

    All that said. I love the Bluebird card. No crazy fees to speak of for the cardholder and as a merchant the fees are in line with normal AMEX cards. Of course there are fees for the cardholder but they way they are laid out I am not sure that I will every pay one myself. As far as FDIC insured. No big deal. The structure of both is different and I am just as confident in AMEX as I am in my bank. I can name from memory any number of banks and other saving institutions I have seen fail over the lifetime of AMEX.

    The one area that does annoy me about Bluebird is the customer service. They should have been more prepared. This is AMEX we are talking about. They know how to execute on this but it seems as if the team put in charge of it was blindsided. They will work it out in the long run but it is disappointing that AMEX didn't take its deep understanding and apply it more effectively.

    Of course there is also the merchant acceptance of AMEX… get enough people using it and that will sort itself out fast enough. If AMEX is listening I have a couple of ideas for you on this!

  36. Tracy | December 10, 2012

    I got the bluebird and right after the first time I used it my account was wiped out by some type of fraud. Bluebird canceled my account but I have been on hold for 5 days trying to speak to someone to get this worked out. Meantime Im out of my earned money. I am not to happy with it.

  37. Mary A Eleazar | December 12, 2012

    i think BLUEBIRD AMEX CHECKING ALTERNATIVE IS FANTASTIC. For those who cannot get credit cards or bank accounts and to have to rely on prepaid credit cards as last resort to banking and saving to pay bills became a huge convenience but with a service charge. and let me tell you they add up. To actually have an AMEX chkg account and all of its features with NO MONTHLY FEES or PURCHASE FEES; NO HIDDEN FEES, is the greatest to me since i have money mgmnt issues. This is definitely a Positive thing that WALMART & AMEX can afford to do. until you own the mobile app and have the card you will just think its just another way for walmart to add to their Walmart Funding sources. Well this time may be but this BLUEBIRD card is amazing and how convenient to add subaccounts to your account that way your not having to use 1 card for certain bills and given the option to add open a subaccount for family members or whomever you wish. I believe this BLUEBIRD AMEX will take over all greendot/prepaid debit cards.Technology is getting smarter so lets follow along! I am a Happy Bluebird account holder and I highly recommend you get the smartphone mobile app along with the Bluebird card itself, HIGHLY!!!! :D

  38. LENGLO | December 12, 2012

    BLUE BIRD cards – I used the SUB-ACCOUNT feature!!! Got one for my parents out-of-state – could get it in THEIR NAME – mail it to them – and now instead of paying high fees when I wire them money from NY – they just use the sub-account Blue Bird card!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!

  39. Roger B. | December 12, 2012

    I have been using the bluebird card for some time and I am absolutely pleased with it. Beats the tar out of almost any card out there and since I cat get a checking account I have no place else to turn. Some of the other prepay cards are so full of hidden fees they should be banned for usery fees. Sounds to me like you have your own agenda to push and as far as Obama getting a part of the fees, give me a break. As usual big business would have be having a fit because they can't get their grubby little fingers on even more profit for themselves. The greedy are losing their power and blame it on Obama. Get over it the right didn't lose because they are angels but they still don't get that part. Get over it.

  40. Lancebekistan | December 12, 2012

    Your almost there, but I'll help you out. ALL fees, taxes and everything else are paid by the consumer in the end. Unlike the government who can steal it, the only way any company can pay for anything is by exchanging a good or service for money. You want corporations to pay higher taxes? It's in your loaf of bread… Want "free" checking "free this" or "free that" you pay for it in the cost of other items. The retailers, producers, transporters, marketers and even the janitor crew have to eat. And there is only one way they can get it. But as opposed to taxes at least we get something in exchange for it and have the luxury of the liberty to decide who we want to support….

    The traditional credit card fees cost my business more than debit card transactions…. But even if a customer pays by check he is paying a tiny portion of the gross amount of the combined cost of processing sales.

    Even if you pay in cash at walmart your sale is a greater margin sale for the store, but you are still paying the same fees the store incurs as a result of card processing. Otherwise they would have a different pricing structure for cash sales.

  41. tynisha smith | December 14, 2012

    I hate the fact you can only get $2000 in atm transactions..this is my money but I can't get it. I can't buy an money order to pay my house rent…this is crazy

    • joe | April 18, 2014

      The laws are there to "protect you"…..hahahahaaaaaa……..(as if they PROTECT anyone from the robbery since 1913!)….doubtful. (Then we all woke up.)

  42. BLUEBIRD SUCKS!! | December 17, 2012

    Bluebird card SUCKS!!!! DO NOT EVER GET THIS CARD!! IT IS A COMPLETE SCAM!!! After depositing $200 on top of the $5 activation fee,you get "the run around" right off. I haven't even used the card and they locked my card from me for no reason,saying it was a "security issue" so I call the "24 hour" customer service which has NOTHING!! To do with the card at all! It seems its a offshore call center. You get all these foreign people answering calls that WILL NOT HELP YOU!! They will only transfer calls,over and over!! Put you on 15-30 min. Holds. Then transfer you again,ONLY to have the line disconnected after waiting for an hr to OVER 2 hours!!! I have $200 on my card that I CANNOT GET BACK!! It's been 2 weeks now and I still have no luck!! Spread the word to EVERYONE YOU KNOW that the bluebird cards AT WAL-MART are a COMPLETE SCAM!! I've even waited over 5 hrs!! "On hold" and NOTHING!! So please run away and DO NOT GET BLUEBIRD!! You have been warned!! Post this on your Facebook pages and whatever social media is out there! This definitely needs to be known!!

  43. JP | December 17, 2012

    Neither Walmart nor American Express are forcing anyone to sign up for their product. I've researched the Blue Bird product, and all of their terms and disclosures are pretty out in the open. I signed up last week for an account. If I want the $250,000 FDIC guarantee, then I would have gone with a traditional bank account. If Walmart and Amex are going after the pay check to pay check customers, then I don't think the lack of this guarantee is going to be an issue. Also, I have to preload your money. If for some reason Amex goes down tomorrow, I will only lose whatever money I had in there… at most, my last paycheck. I used to have an Amex card and a traditional bank account, and I've experienced fraud with both. I can tell you that Amex took off those fraudulant charges much faster than my bank did. By using Blue Bird, you are also getting the Amex fraud protection. Yes, I know that it's frustrating when you have to validate to the credit card companies that you are not using the card fraudulantly, but isn't it nice to know that if your account was in fact compromised by a fraudster that the company has something in place to catch them? As for those forthcoming fees that the author says are coming, those are just their opinion. I can also sit here and say that all banks will be charging montly maintenance fees to their checking and savings accounts in the future, and they may or may not be true. The fact is, Blue Bird does not have those fees today. If they start charging those fees, I will just reevaluate my options at that time. There is no contract that I sign which says I have to keep using this product. I don't think there is much argument on the facts. Blue Bird has significant less fees than traditional bank accounts right now, American Express and Walmart are two of the world's most known companies (for those of you worried about either going under tomorrow), if you change your mind about signing up for Blue Bird, you will just lose the $5 activation fee.

  44. Avoid Bluebird!!!!!! | December 17, 2012

    I can echo the message above, titled "BLUEBIRD SUCKS". The same thing has happened to me. I cannot get my money! They sell this card at WalMart. When I went to WalMart and tried to make a $17 purchase, they locked my account for "suspicious activity"!!!!!!! AT WALMART!!!!. for $17!!!!. Then you call customer service, where the foreigners with horrible accents tell you that you have to call the "Account Protection Department" so they can unlock it for you. But they don't answer. I spent 4 and a half hours on hold only to be disconnected automatically. It is a scam. They keep your money. And, your money is NOT covered by FDIC insurance. They can just keep it. Warn your friends!!!

  45. cheated by another prepaid | December 20, 2012

    So far no probs with bluebird. My last card was thru western union. paid room rent of 55 and my reciept showed my balance. I then added another 125 to my catd the same day. made 2 purchaces totalling 24 dollars. b4 bed i checked balance. the next morning i was 55.60 less than the night b4. western union said that it was for a room payment. which means i was overdrawn. thought the purpose of prepaid was to avoid that issue. so am out the money and was treated extremely rudely by everyone that i spoke to. still waiting for corp cust supervisor to call me back. its been 2 days now. thanks western union for leavin me without a place to stay because u dbl charged me for my room. will b transferring my direct deposit to bluebird and gettin rid of ur crappy card and service. will use moneygram for wire transfers from now on.

  46. Lost out | December 26, 2012

    I am a Gamer and did not want to use my normal bank account for my hobby so i decided to get the blue bird card as an allowance card to keep my spending from getting out of hand. I put $200.00 on the card to start, got home activated it and confirmed emails and all that jaz, excited to try it out i get on the Electronic Arts website and try to buy a game pack, it did not work so i tried a few more time thinking it was me. After about 4 tries i decided to call blue bird and after 30 minutes i got a Indian Lady who told me i had to call the game company so they could run the card manually?? I'm thinking what are they going to do that i could not do online so i call the game company just for the hell and they try to run the card and it fails as well!!! The guys tried it several times and could not get it to work.

    I waited a few days and went on Steam to see if i could buy a game the same thing i now have a the most expensive piece of plastic in my wallet.. Lost $200.00 and no one can help THIS IS A WARNING don't let this happen to you!

  47. Norm | December 27, 2012

    Yeah sounds like a scam….hate talking to these operators from India…english is terrible.

  48. Erin | December 28, 2012

    I'm not here to argue about Obama care, which has nothing to do with the topic of prepaid cards, but I am here to shed light on the banking world. I work for a company who is outsourced by a bank to do their customer service and I can tell you I didn't like banks before, but I really don't like banks now. We make absolutely no money but are required to know more than those who work in the banks themselves. The bank doesn't pay the company I work for, for calls past two minutes and twenty seconds because they believe that's good customer service and expect us to sell their products to their customers as if we are trying to help them and their products are a joke. This particular bank is in the midst of a multi-million dollar law suit because they are raking people over the coals with fees. Now I'm not saying there aren't people who are or aren't irresponsible with their money because there are, but I also know we are in an economic crisis where a lot of people are doing their best and robbing Peter to pay Paul. The fees we charge people to overdraw their accounts and then charge them even more if they can't bring it into a positive balance within three business days is ridiculous. Let me break it down for you: each transaction that takes you into the negative we charge a $37 fee (again per transaction) even if it was just a few cents, then if you are in the negative three business days we charge you what's called a sustained overdraft fee of $6.99 a day from that third business day to the fourteenth business day. You can opt out of being able to overdraw yourself but if a preauthorized debit or a check comes through we hit your account irregardless. So if someone holds onto your check for months and then decides to do something with it we are going to let them then overdraw you and slam you with fees. If a company takes money out of your account for a bill and you don't have the funds available we are going to let them and slam you with fees. If someone gets a hold of your information and you have to call us to file a claim, the claims department has the option to say no we think your lying and not give you your money back. We are supposed to encourage people to have an overdraft line of credit, which we rarely approve people for, charge you $30/yr, 18% interest, and each day that we pull from that line of credit if we approve you is a $10 a day transfer fee plus you pay it back with that 18% interest. Or we are supposed to sell our customers on a savings overdraft protection which means you put money into a savings account and we charge you $30/yr for you to say we can go into your savings and take money from it to cover if you overdraw yourself. Again, I am not saying that there aren't irresponsible people out there because I deal with them everyday. I spend my days getting yelled at by people who can't understand why we charged them fees to go to the liquor store when they didn't have the funds available, but I also talk to people who are struggling to work and take care of families and we are taking advantage of them. I hate my job, but unfortunately I need it. I myself have a prepaid card and I do agree there needs to be more protection available, but after working for this bank I will never deal with one again. I could go on and on as to how the bank screws people over, especially the poor. As far as interest goes, I quote people the interest rates on a variety of different products from IRA's to CD's etc. The interest rates are shit most of the time and not worth having Uncle Sam take what little you are able to earn. I myself prefer to keep as much of the little bit I make. We deal with people thinking they are calling a foreign country all the time and we are in NC. FDIC or not I'd rather keep my money on a prepaid card or in my mattress, especially after being on the inside of such a corrupt system we call the governed banking system.

  49. Erin | December 28, 2012

    For those of you who have complained and swear that it's Blue Bird that puts a hold on more than what your transaction is I can guarantee you are wrong. Again, I work for a bank and see this everyday. It is up to the merchant how they put a hold and how much they put a hold on of your money. All day everyday I get calls because people see the transaction amount is on hold by a company twice and they think they are being charged twice. When you use any card as credit the money is deducted from your available balance and the typical hold time is 3 business days that the merchant has to claim that money. Once they claim the money for the transaction you will see that extra money they placed on hold or that second, exact amount fall off. So again it is the merchant not the bank or Blue Bird. I also know that we charge people to wire money from their account so I have thoroughly enjoyed using the sub-account on the Blue Bird card. I ordered my daughter one with her name on it so now she doesn't have to deal with money orders or carry cash on her when I want to give her money. I can keep up with her transactions and limit her if I need to but fee free be able to give her money when I want. Working for a bank and having to know more than what branch bankers know but not having their hours or pay is frustrating because people call us customer service reps and treat us like shit all day everyday and as customer service reps we are monitored with each call and are very restricted to what if anything we can do. So next time you call a customer service rep remember they are not the company you are calling they are restricted by the company you are calling and don't deserve to be screamed and cussed at. What people also don't realize is the banks restrict based on a number of things how much you can take out of the ATM daily and restrict you to a certain daily amount for debit/credit purchases as well. If our customers don't meet the criteria then we do not allow them access to their money in excess of what we have set them at daily. As I said in my previous post we have a claims dept as well and if they decide your claim isn't valid as a bank who is supposed to protect you we do not give your money back. I do not agree with the banking system I just need the job. I read everyone's posts about it being Blue Bird etc. but for someone who works for the bank I can guarantee you the banks are worse.

  50. sean | December 29, 2012

    i have just decided to get the bluebird amex after 1 month of green dot. both are pre paid with very low fee if you use direct deposit-which ill do. the biggest advantage to me is no more overdraft fees and there is no credit-it is like cash.
    I did bank with td north and chase both of which i liked ,but,did not the the credit card/atm games they played-like im shopping and using my card-i go over my limit- they allow the go-over -and then charge me. td bank actually just lost a large complaint,and,they will be paying 65,000,000 to consumers(like me).
    i think bluebird is the best out there and with direct deposit the cheapest

  51. michael harmon | December 29, 2012

    They suck! My accounts locked. The Fraud people who unlock accounts are closed, if they exist. The main customer service number in india is no help. They transfer to bad hold music then hang up on you. Called a number I found here in America, baggage insurance or something, Tim was amazing, he tried his best but failed. I lost hope. They took my money, pretty sure it's gone. Does that give me the right to go rob walmart without getting in trouble?

  52. Rich | December 30, 2012

    So me being an apparent idiot, got a bluebird card because it seemed like a better deal than the Card I had. They didn't say anything when I signed up or when I was setti up my direct deposit that my SSDI benefits can't be deposited to the card. So now when they try to send them the money, they are going to reject it. I'm confused though because my direct deposit form says American Express Centaurian Bank, wouldn't that imply that they are a bank and have FDIC insurance? Does anyone know what will happen to my check after they send it back? Will I be without my money for weeks?

    Thanks to anyone who can help.

  53. Joe M | January 2, 2013

    So, people are supposed to wait until the perfect banking situation arises? Since when has any money loving institution done any of us a favor? We live in a highly imperfect society due to the imperfect behavior of the selfish. Doesn't matter if you are dealing with Walmart or First National Bank. They are all in it for YOUR money. ANd they will get it any way they can. There is only one way to end the madness. Pay a small fee to cash your check. Keep cash on hand. And whenever you need to do an online transaction, then stop in Walmart and get one of those prepaid credit cards and do it. It's cheaper and wiser to not put our faith and trust in ANY of the banking companies. FDIC doesn't mean shit to me. Just a bunch more words written on a piece of paper. Hypocrisy runs extremely deep in $$$society$$$.

  54. Bluebird user - Happy so far | January 3, 2013

    @Erin – I think I know what bank you work for.. and its the bank I just dumped after nearly ruining Christmas for the second year in a row. What people do not realize is that those of us living paycheck to paycheck can get into a whole mess of fees snowballing on top of each other, only to find that when your direct deposit hits, it's hundreds of dollars less then you are expecting, and going back to living paycheck to paycheck having a few hundred taken from you does nothing but keep the cycle going. Here's how it happened for me this year.

    Paycheck hits the bank on Friday, I order some gifts from Amazon, and make 5 or 6 other minor purchases (coffee, gas, groceries, etc..), and pay a bill or two, leaving 20 or 30 dollars in the account. Great, all is well, bills are paid and next week will finish up Christmas shopping. Only on Wednesday I check the account, and Amazon's hold + actual charge hit, but because of the timing of everything (or the bank's intentional greed) I get hit with individual fees not for the amazon purchase, but for every small transaction I did that day, other than the one big one. Seven $37 fees. Think about that, 7x$37 = $259, well over half my check. So instead of having $30 I'm now $229 overdrawn. You get that feeling in the pit of your stomach (people in my situation know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.. ) now I can do nothing but wait for my paycheck to hit the bank on Friday, short by $259, short from paying bills, buying food, and making payments on time. Fight them for the fees? Laughable. Good luck getting through to someone who actually wants to help, even then you get a token fee or two refunded which still leaves you financially crippled. The system is designed to keep people like us in the situation we are in.

    "Well, silly poor man, just don't overdraw your account!", you say!

    Well that's just a swell idea. I'd love not to, but because merchants and banks have such a backwards agreement going where somehow in a world that I can instantly stream a high definition movie to any computer with internet access they cannot figure out a way to instantly deduct funds from your account. Unless they are deducting fees, those come out right away, somehow they figured that one out. At any rate, because of the "merchants" not taking the money right away, and things like authorization holds being placed on accounts, it's nearly impossible to do business as usual and not pile up fees without a money cushion to fall back on.

    This didn't happen to me this year though. This time I quickly cancelled my direct deposit and received a paper check. How strange to actually get the amount I earned, and not give a bank their weekly penance for allowing me to do business with them. (I did pay a fee to cash the check at the bank it was drawn on, but $5 was chump change compared to what I had been dealing with). I've since changed my direct deposit to my bluebird card, and will see how it goes. One thing I do know is that I will no longer be subject to the asinine fees changed by banks. I'd rather go down with a sinking bluebird ship and lose at the most one paycheck than keep throwing more and more $$ and the banks.

    If you're still with me, sorry this post went all over the place, I needed to get all that frustration out.

  55. Need to know | January 4, 2013

    I desperately need help from anyone who may be able to answer my question….I have been doing a lot of Internet research on reloadable cards. I cannot use a financial institution – bank or credit union.
    I have seen the negative comments by those who say BlueBird will not allow them to access their money, and yes that does worry me.
    However, BlueBird seems to have the most features and convenience (as long as they let you have your funds!) Am I able to have my Social Security check AND my husbands Social Security check direct deposited to a card like this, instead of a bank? Does my husband need his own card in his own name to get his check if they will deposit it?
    I need a way to access my social security and pay my bills without using a bank…is there a limit to the amount of funds you can have on the card? Up to $1500 or 2000 a month?
    No one at WalMart seems to know.
    I have appreciated the comments on here and am hoping one of you knows the answer to my questions…….Thanks.

  56. Brian | January 5, 2013

    I think your reading into this prepaid card option, way to hard. And the facts on this article are wrong. These cards are free for most, monthly service fees are those who do not maintain a certain balance.

  57. lynette | January 7, 2013

    Why are you folks bashing Obama! The damage was done way before he got into office. I would personally rather pay for health care, programs etc…than wars and other destructive programs. Get real people. That is what government is for, people who can't do for themselves. Like it or not!!

    Besides this is about prepaid cards, which I think despite their fees they do serve their purpose. Not everyone can or should have a bank account. Let's be real. When everything crashes, and someday it will, no bank or anything will escape the return of Christ. Do the best you can and don't sweat what other people say.

  58. Danielle | January 8, 2013

    If somebody is going to read a Post/Blog/Article about "Walmart / AMEX Bluebird Cards" I think its a safe ASSUMPTION that those people want to …… a Post/Blog/Article about "Walmart / AMEX Bluebird Cards"!!!! If you want to talk about President Bush, President Obama, Obama Care, Spongebob, or Twilight can you PLEASE do everyone a favor and search for a Post/Blog/Article about that particular subject. Really, if you stand by what you say about President Obama regardless if they are negative or positive do you really think you are going to get your view out there by posting a comment in a Walmart Article. Doesn't make much sense does it??? Hey I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone that posted before me all I am saying is that this is OBVIOUSLY NOT THE PLACE TO DO SO! I think the administrators of this website should monitor the comments. Of course you want everyone to be able to express their own true reviews, feelings, thoughts, etc. etc. But, if its comment that has ABSOLUTELY no relation to the topic why not just delete it so that people can read comments that actually refer to the article written.

    As far as the card… I feel that there are MANY reasons why people choose prepaid cards. But just like with everything in life YOU have to be aware and take the time to fully understand what you are getting into. I have Bluebird myself and personally I love it. It comes with this little book with all the fine print. If you care about what can and might happen to your account or the charges you can and will incur then I suggest you read it. If you don't agree with their program then don't continue to use it. People always complain about a hidden fee that they were charged. But in fact its not hidden its right there if you would have just read the information packet that comes with the card. Its more like… I'm upset that I was charged this fee. I was unaware that I could be charged this. No I didn't read the booklet. But I still feel like I wasn't informed about this.
    We all have to stop being so damn lazy with life. Until you realize that NO company is going to send you their charge sheet in poster size big/bold print material you are going to have to read what you agree to. Its will only take the same amount of time that you use to call the company, wait on hold, and explain/complain your situation to the CSR over and over again until you get mad and realize its your fault and then hang up. As far as the money not being FDIC insured that really isn't a problem to me. Its a PREPAID card and as long as you use it in that sense it does the job that it intends to do. Honestly anyone who puts 5,000 on a prepaid card (unless you have a specific large purchase that you intend to make within the next few days) would have probably done something equally stupid to lose the money anyways.
    Its a prepaid card, not a bank card, not a credit card. Its a product, so there will obviously be some kind of charges. If not how would the company make any profit – since its not a bank card. If you want this card to preform as a Prepaid debit Amex card then thats exactly what it will do for you. If you are looking for a regular credit card or traditional debit bank card then don't go with this one being that, thats NOT what it is – Says so right on front of the box. There ARE fees if you care to know what you can/will be charged then read the fees section in the booklet that came with your card. If you don't want to read it then deal with whatever you are charged and only be mad and annoyed with yourself – there is no one ELSE to blame for our OWN ignorance.

    …. OR to keep this comment simple and straight to the point

    Great Prepaid debit AMEX card!
    Fair fees.
    Sub accts available for children/others -you hold full control of funds & can review spending patterns.
    Low $5 start up fee
    Easy to manage online.
    Easy to load money to your card.
    Easy to control purchases by limiting your spending limit according to your budget.

    You will not get your own personal Customer Service Rep.
    No one will call you daily reminding you of your balance. – I think they offer daily text update.
    No one will call before each transaction is processed to tell you that there is or isn't additional fees associated with that transaction
    Your hand will not be held.
    They just expect you to read the service AGREEMENT

  59. jim | January 13, 2013

    screw the banks! for one i will never keep a high dollar amount on the prepaid card, and two ill know exactly whats on it at any given time, i never knew when i went to use my bank card/credit card what was going to happen or if it was even going to go through because of fees that they put through without letting you know, for example charter one bank aka citizens bank just settled a 175 million dollar civil action lawsuit because of the way they put through transactions, all just to insure that there will be fees, fees, and more fees. its like giving a perfect stranger your money to hold on to in hopes that he dont take what he wants when he wants for himself. its not fair that they have the right to dip into your money when ever they want, key bank is the only one that i know of that charges just one over draft fee and then freezes your account so that nothing else goes through until it is brought current, thats the way it should be. not oh gee lets see how much money we can screw our customers out of today, let those banks come close to failing, then maybe just maybe they'll wake up and run they're banks like honest and fair people who know how to treat a customer. so i say again screw the banks!

  60. Emily | January 26, 2013

    SIGH. I came here to get information on the card, and ended up coming across comments that really do not help me at all. I'm a single mom of 2 amazing kids. Not by choice, but I lost my husband. So I'm trying the hardest I can to raise these kids by myself. Any way I can save money, I'll take it. Especially because I'm educated enough to not want to live off the state/government. All I see here is a bunch of repugnant selfish ego comments that really sound horrid. That's not saying ALL of them are. Nonetheless – I'm going to try it. If I get dicked over, I'm blaming Obama Care.

  61. Karen | February 1, 2013

    Thank you for writing this. Walmart seems to have made several more second-generation Walton mismanagement decisions in the Bluebird fiasco. They've undermined their own money cardand given consumers one less reason to go to Walmart on payday. Bonehead move.

  62. AC | February 5, 2013

    You people are freaking retards, just man up and say you don't like the man because of the color of his skin. I can deal with that truth easier than a whole bunch of made up rants of BS!!!!

  63. aftonbladet | February 5, 2013

    Hi there, I log on to your new stuff regularly.

    Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

  64. Sam | February 7, 2013

    So far my experience with bluebird has not been pleasant. I've experienced problems with this card in lots of stores, where the card wouldn't work. Also, don't even think of getting gas at the pump with this card, you'll be charged a additional 50-100 dollar deposit plus your price of your gas(which they hold till transaction is completed, usually 2 to 3 days). They seem to have security measures on the card that they are not willing to share, because everytime i've had a problem i've had to call them to use the card again. I was using my paypal card before this one, and although I don't like the fees associated with paypal, it's way more reliable of a card than bluebird

  65. George | February 7, 2013

    Buyer Beware!!
    Amex Bluebird will only allow you to get cash at ATMs limited to $500 per day so, if you're in a hurry to get say $800 or $1200, well, you're out of luck, you have to do it in two days or more, period.

  66. Jef | February 9, 2013

    So the BIG old downside here is that Walmart is gonna charge me $1.02 instead of a $1 for my box of candy because they have to raise prices to cover the AMEX IC fees?? And of course, if AMEX goes bankrupt, I love my cash. Yeah…seems like downside enough to make me run out and sign up for the Green Dot $4.95 everytime I breathe card. Bluebird is not a solution, but it is the best stopgap out there right now. Especially for the unbanked, bus riding folk who leave near a Walmart. A lot of Walmart money machine ATMs allow you to withdraw in increments of $1.

  67. dmg022 | February 9, 2013

    But people say RACISM dont exist.. grow up people really !! BUSH IS THE ONE WHO PUT US IN DEBT have you forgot about Katrina? That's how he contributed to the death of children, but when Sandy came and wrecked havoc they had all the support in the world immediately after it happened while people in NewOrleans suffered for weeks……

  68. Roger | February 15, 2013

    Here's a concept. If you don't want a bluebird card don't get one. I have one and have had it since it came out. The reason is that there are very few fees if any. If it gets to the point where the fees start climbing over a level that is higher than a different card then I'll look for another company. In the mean time I'll stick with them. The banks hate prepaid cards because they can't bilk their customers out of more money. It always amazes me how many places people can find to vent their unhappiness and hatred. Use common sense and quit belly aching and life will go a lot smoother.

  69. Hannah | February 25, 2013

    I got a Bliebird card a few months ago, not putting any money on it for about a month just to see how truly great it might be. I started using it by linking my ebay account to it & the only other reason I keep reloading it is to have the convenience of a card. I hate keeping cash on me because I can't keep track of it that well & I honestly hate breaking bills. I do live paycheck to paycheck & my money is only on the card for a week at most so in my opinion, I'm not risking too much. The only downside (other than the card not being FDIC insured) is that many places where I live in West Virginia don't take American Express anymore. Other than that, I can say I am happy with the Bluebird card.

  70. Charles Ballard | February 26, 2013

    That is exacly why the GOP loses more and more each year.. All they do is bitch about what other people are getting.. I am sooo over this nonsense. If you don't like what the people around you are doing, move to another city, county, state, or Country.. you didn't build this country, neither did your parents. So worry about yourselves, shut up, and go ask the Indians why they arent on here bitching about you.. you might learn a thing or 2 about humility, and stop whining like 5 year olds.

  71. Edward | March 1, 2013

    This article has merit and could eventually end up being true. Although I love it for the subaccounts and easy immediate transfers. Right now there are no fees but trush me – I keep an eye on it.

  72. Demona | March 5, 2013

    I rented a car at Enterprise and use for the first time my BlueBird Amex card from Walmart. To my shock and disbelief BlueBird Amex charged an additional 15% of my 298.71 rental charge grand total 343.52. actual charge for the rental 98.71 plus 200 deposit by Enterprise plus 15% by Bluebird. When I called BlueBird on the reason why the extra 15% charge I was told by their reps that the 15% was a tip that Enterprise charges to all their customers. Which after Enterprise and I stop laughing at the BlueBird reps bold face lie we corrected the rep with the 15% was charge by BlueBird NOT by Enterprise.

    I did a follow up call regarding the hold placed on my card when after speaking with 5 different reps and got 5 different answers NOTHING was settled Bluebird still has a hold for 244.81 Enterprise has settle my account as they do it's Bluebird when I spoke with Bluebird management I was advise that Bluebird is NOT meant for purchasing Gas (to pay at the pump $50-$100 hold will be place on-top of the actual gas price), Rental Cars (15% additional of your total on hold), or Hotel transactions (20-40% additional of your total on hold). They are meant for daily charges and nothing more but when you speak with Bluebird reps you can use the card for anything you like.

    My favorite lie from Bluebird depending on whom you talk to will determined when the holds will be release and money put back on your card but except 7 business day hold on transactions listed above but bluebird will say it's the merchant not them placing the hold.

  73. Daniel | March 17, 2013

    I believe walmart has gained many it's consumers due regular price comparason. Yes, walmart usually has the lowest regular price. However, if the shopper puts in a little effort, the shopper can save a lot of money by shopping elsewhere. There are many department stores that have 25-75% of sales all the time.

    Put the theory to the test.
    1. Make a list of things you want
    2. Browse flyers and check off wanted items.
    3. Enjoy saving more money.

  74. Patti | March 17, 2013

    I have a bill that I pay every month and I don't want that company to have access to our regular checking account. Bluebird allows me the ability to do that with (at this time) no fees.

  75. Samantha Bourdelier | March 22, 2013

    I have not been to a Walmart for almost 15 years. I don't trust them and I don't like the way they do business. I just don't believe going to a Walmart to shop is a bad idea. They are the worst of the big box stores that have plagued our country. Walmart is responsible for turning small towns into ghost towns. Walmart is a plague in our country.

  76. Alex | March 31, 2013

    They now have FDIC pass-through insurance. This article has become invalid.

  77. sarah | May 29, 2013

    I got the bluebird and it doesn't let me sign in, doesn't like my "name" which they gave me! so no way to cancel and you get foreign people who treat you like idiots…..they can keep my $30, I'm going somewhere else!

  78. Wayne | July 11, 2013

    My experience with American Express Prepaid Cards Is This. You Get Allot Of "Pending" Transactions And The Transactions Are Held For As Long As 30 Days. I Actually Had A Charge From Red Box For $1.61 That Showed In A Pending Status 10 Days After The Transaction Cleared, So American Express Held $1.61 For 14 Days In A Pending Status, They Also Cleared $1.61 So My Account Was Charged $3.22 This Happened Several Times With Different Charges. Also I Went To Purchase Gas, I Has $100.94 On The Card, I Used The Credit Option At The Pump, I Was Allowed To Buy $23.00 In Gas (Filled Up The Car) So That Means I Should Have Had $77.94 Left On The Card. I Then Went To Walgreens, Purchased A Watch Battery For $8.89 I Used The Prepaid Card, To My Suprise There Was Only .94 Available On The American Express Card. So I Looked At My Account Online. American Express Charged My Account $100 For The $23.00 Gas Purchase And Held That In A Pending Transaction For 5 Business Days Before I Got My $77.00 Back. So When The Money Was Credited Back, I Went Out To Dinner, I Tried The Card Again, American Express Put $57.75 In A Pending Status And Declined The Dinner Bill, So Now I Had To Pay Cash For The Dinner Bill And I Am Currently Waiting 10 Days For The $57.75 To Come Out Of A Pending Status, At Which Time I Will Call And Request A Check Be Mailed And The Account Closed. So Be Very Careful With Any American Express Prepaid Cards, They Will Tie Your Money Up For Excessive Amounts Of Time And You Cannot Depend On Your Money Being Available When You Need It.

  79. the devil | August 10, 2013

    A fool and his money our soon parted.

  80. Barx | September 1, 2013

    I don't trust it or Odumba. And besides the first rip off with this is when Walmart hijacked the domain name from the bluebird bus company!

  81. Vianey | September 12, 2013

    I read today (09/12/13) that the funds are placed in a PASS through FDIC insured bank (see article: NONETHELESS this doesn't really concern me since I don't plan to use Bluebird as my primary account rather only as a way to "immediately" pay bills via their bill pay feature to creditors (i.e. mortgage, gardener etc.) that I cant pay with a credit card ~ all for the purpose of earning POINTS for travel. Should that feature or the vanilla cards go away then so be it. I'll use it until I can't get POINTS.

  82. John Kay | January 15, 2014

    My question is why wouldn't this be considered licensed Money services business activity? How are they getting around that pile of laws, rules, regulations? Is it a direct relationship between the 2 companies?

  83. Harry Odums | March 14, 2014

    Very informative. There is a lot of good infromation and advice here.

  84. Randy Lava | March 24, 2014

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want?HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  85. S. Smith | April 25, 2014

    I got paid today via direct deposit. I went to the atm and tried to take out some money and it said "transaction declined please try again" so I tried it again and got the same message so I said well let me check my account and see if something (a bill) came through but what I found was bluebird held the 2 transaction even tho the transaction was declined so I contacted them in panic because I have a light bill due tonight which means if its not paid my lights will be off. So I called bluebird and got xferd 4 times and was on the call for a total of 4 hours and 38 min too be told by 1 manager he can give me a temp credit until the dispute team does the investigation so he ask can he put me on hold and I said sure then he hung up so I called back spoke to 2 other managers and they told me he was wrong and he could not give the credit. they said I will have to wait 10-45 days in order to get my money back which is OUTRAGES!!!!!! I will have to sit in the dark with no power worst part of all I work from home so I will be missing a lot of work which is a lot of money and the Rep said when I asked him who will be responsible for the reconnect fees and late payment fees and missed work funds he says oh that's your burden, LIKE SERIOUSLY!!!?? I have referred over 13 people to bluebird and they have referred people 4 of the people I have referred are having the same issue right now and they know its a known issue with there system but they are not caring about the bind they are putting people in by holding up there funds so me and my friends and family will be reporting to the BBB in hopes my funds will be released. I just expected better from the company I have been with for years so I and many others will be taking our business elsewhere..

  86. danie | May 17, 2014

    What are you all gripping about I had the Bluebird Card over a year and never paid no Fees. Better than a bank I can transfer money from my kids account instantly I can set aside vacation money. I can go to any ATM and never pay fee. Unless you like paying fees what is the problem absolutely love this card better than a dam bank.

  87. howie | November 7, 2014

    hey, glad I came across this website.

    The impostor Soetoro is a liar, criminal, thief, moron, socialist-commie.

    Can't wait until the immature littel sob is out of office.

  88. User of Blue bird | January 3, 2015

    Blue bird sucks because in order to receive money from anyone they have to join blue bird. what a waste of time

  89. Camilla | January 24, 2015

    I've only had my bluebird card 2 months and I really like it so far. I'm using it for the MONEY SAVING CHALLENGE, which I'm getting a kick out of doing. Thanks BLUEBIRD

  90. c0d3m4u5 | May 17, 2015

    i read all this to see what walmart's "dirty little secret" was behind the bluebird card and this article mentioned nothing about any secret, just stuff that is unrelated to the topic. i've had the bluebird card since its near-beginnings. never paid any fees as long as i followed their small print which is really no small print at all but the same rules with any debit card even from banks. you can withdraw money at atm's for free as long as you go to an in-network atm. you can go to any walmart and add funds, however depending on the walmart, you can also go to some walmarts and withdraw funds for free without buying anything, by going to the customer service desk. i say "some" walmarts because there is a walmart here that would let me withdraw cash and then i went to another and i couldn't. they said they couldn't because their card system machines were different from the other walmart.

    there really is no loss with the card other than a few inconveniences such as not all merchants accept amex, hunting around for an in-network atm, and running into stupid walmart cashiers who apparently missed bluebird training day and are not familiar with the card so they don't know how to do what you're requesting despite the amex bluebird card rack sitting in their faces.

    even if you're banked, it's still a good card and i have lots of experience with it since i used it for years as my checking account because i got free checks with it as well. at the time i got mine, i was unbanked and then i paid off a few debts and now i'm banked with my local credit union. however, i loved the card so much, i didn't want to part with it, so i use it for my small business.

    the only "dirty little secret" about this card is that it IS one of, if not, the best prepaid cards out there.

  91. me | May 22, 2015

    what the heck does obama have to do with this…..??!!!??? I've deposited money and had no problem. I just wanted to know when they would direct deposit funds …went to this crap about obama and bush and some other bull.

  92. Ruthie Derby | June 18, 2015

    Do they charge a ridiculously high fee like $16.48 if I allow a company like paypal to transfer it out?

  93. Marcus Wellby | June 30, 2015

    I'm well aware that this article is old. However, I'm using every opportunity to warn anyone considering an American Express Bluebird Card to think long and hard about the service agreement. I was recently defrauded by American Express Bluebird. They used the guise of declined transaction to removed the available funds from my account. Usually I could just call them and get double transactions removed. However, they made some "internal" system updates about new holds. I was not aware of this new update nor was I notified. Long story short, a triple transaction at the grocery store resulted in $432 being removed from my account. American Express Bluebird is now holding the funds for a total of 8 days, until it clears. They are using the guise of "unavailable funds" declines to commit fraud by pulling the money out and holding it in their custodial account for 8 business days. So, please anyone that believes this card helpful is in for a very rude awakening. Many families cannot afford an 8 day hold on their funds, especially when it is the fault of American Express Bluebird. Oh, when you call customer service, the call is routed to India to people who don't really care about your money problems.

  94. Reward Credit Cards Fan | August 22, 2015

    Great info. Forgot about AmEx becoming a bank, etc. Thanks!

  95. Beth | December 21, 2015

    I have never had a problem with this card anywhere. Gas pumps specifically say they will put a hold on your card and its the banks digression when to release the funds. Don't want that problem? go inside the gas station and pay….If you get a release from a vendor the 8 day hold goes away too. I think I had better luck dealing with customer service in India than I have here in America. I really like this card and have had it for years and now my direct deposit gets deposited a day early which I also like. I guess its all in what you are really expecting from this "prepaid" card….

  96. Joseph Ford | July 29, 2016


    had a American Express Pre-Paid Bluebird Card. On 21 Jul 16 I notice an unauthorized transaction for $275 to MADAME TUSSAUDS LONDON ONLINE. I immediately contacted AMEX and the vendor about the fraudulent transaction. I was told by AMEX that I needed to close my card and they will re-issue me a new in 7 days and that when the transaction on my account is no longer on hold I can submit fraudulent claim. So I did, On the 24 Jul 16 informed AMEX the transaction had gone through and I orally filed the complaint, on 27 Jul 16 I received an email from AMEX with a declaration of fraud form, which I filled out and return the same day. On the 27th called to AMEX to see if my call would be here the next day and I was told no it was 7 to 10 Business days. On 29 Jul 16 I received four emails from AMEX. One telling me that my claim had been denied, another tell me my account was empty a day after my direct deposit paycheck had arrived, and my son account had been closed, then my account had been suspended. I called AMEX customer support immediately and after 2.5 hours on the phone, told that to account just shows closed and the disputed did not go in my favor, plus all the funds(which was all I had) left in the account will be sent to me by check and should arrived in 10 to 15 business days. I had this card for over 4 years and now I am left without funds to pay any bills, pay rent or to buy gas or food till next payday. I was told by AMEX the only thing left for me to do is to write a letter AMEX general mailbox…yes I am serious….

    The customer service is some of the worst I have ever had, they are reading straight from a script and have no power to help you.

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