American Express (NYSE: AXP)
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?
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