Bluebird by American Express Review: A Different Kind of Prepaid Card

See if Bluebird by American Express is a good fit for you.

Consumers know American Express as a major credit card brand, and Walmart customers are likely familiar with the retail giant’s in-store MoneyCenters, which offer a range of financial services, such as money transfers and bill payments. Five years ago, the two companies joined forces to create Bluebird, an Amex-branded financial service that offers many of the same features as a prepaid debit card and a traditional checking account but without some of the unnecessary nuisances of each.

Keep reading to see if this prepaid debit card is right for you.

What Is the Bluebird Card?

The Bluebird card is your link to a Bluebird financial account offered by American Express and Walmart MoneyCenter. It has many of the same features typically offered by a traditional bank account, like direct deposit, ATM access, mobile check deposit and the ability to pay bills online at Bluebird.com or through the Bluebird mobile app.

Bluebird allows you to perform the following financial management tasks:

  • Add funds
    • You can add funds to your Bluebird account via direct deposit, by depositing cash at a Walmart store, by making a debit card transfer or by mobile check capture.
  • Get money from ATMs
    • This includes free withdrawals at over 24,000 MoneyPass machines and cash pickup at Walmart stores.
  • Pay bills
    • Pay your bills with your Bluebird card, online bill pay or with Bluebird checks.
  • Send money to other people
    • Send cash to anyone with Bluebird2Walmart Money Transfer. Transfers are free when you send the funds to another Bluebird account.
  • Save money
    • Cardholders can put money aside via a SetAside Account, much like a traditional savings account. You may also set up recurring transfers.

You’re protected from fraud if your Bluebird card is lost or stolen. For users of Bluebird, Amex also provides free purchase protection for eligible items that you buy with your card.

Check Out: The Pros and Cons of Prepaid Debit Cards

How Does the Bluebird Account Work?

Bluebird account services are tied to its card, which you can get by either registering online at Bluebird.com or downloading and registering through the Bluebird mobile app. There’s no cost to apply, and you’ll receive your Bluebird card through the mail within seven to 10 business days.

Walmart also sells a $5 starter kit that provides a temporary Bluebird card, which you can then register online if you want to start using the service right away. The temporary card lets you add up to $500 and spend it anywhere that accepts American Express cards. Bluebird also allows temporary cardholders to track their balance and transaction history online. This card deactivates once you get your personalized Bluebird card.

You can order a Bluebird card for up to four other people under the Family Account designation, set limits on their spending and ATM use and review their transactions.

Who Can Get a Bluebird Card?

A Bluebird account requires users to be at least 18 years old, live in the United States and have a valid Social Security number. For Family Account members, the limit drops to age 13.

Bluebird Card Advantages

  • Anyone can get a Bluebird card if they meet the basic requirements.
    • Bluebird does not review your credit history, and there are no minimum balance requirements. This makes it a practical option for people with past credit issues.
  • No annual or monthly fees.
    • In addition, there are no fees for direct deposit, paying bills through the app or making withdrawals from MoneyPass ATMs.
  • Fraud protection
  • Purchase protection

Bluebird Card Disadvantages

  • American Express keeps your Bluebird account funds in an FDIC-insured bank, which means you’d get your money back even if that bank fails. However, there’s a one-business-day gap to place your funds into a bank during which you’re not protected.
  • You might rack up high fees if you regularly use mobile deposit and need quick access to the funds. The minimum fee is $5 every time you withdraw money sooner than 10 days from the date of your mobile deposit.

The Bottom Line

The Bluebird account works well if you don’t qualify for a traditional bank account or prefer not to have one. You still get advantages like having a Bluebird card backed by the American Express name that lets you hold, access and spend funds. Review the services, fees, and conditions to decide if it’s right for you.

Click through to read about the pros and cons of online savings accounts.

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This content is not provided by the companies mentioned. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by American Express or Walmart.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been endorsed by American Express.