Everything’s Satisfactual with American Express Bluebird

Bluebird CardRemember earlier this year when Suze Orman said she was going to revolutionize the banking scene…and her idea sucked?

Well, now it seems someone has actually revolutionized the banking scene. That someone would be American Express, in cooperation with Walmart. These two giants have joined forces to bring us Bluebird, a banking alternative that's going to put the others out of business.

Like many banking alternatives, this one is aimed at people who are unhappy with their current banking options. But regular Walmart shoppers and those interested in earning rewards on your spending (even your mortgage!) should pay attention here too.

How Bluebird Works

With Bluebird you have several options to load money onto the account, and you can use the account in many ways, like shopping at Walmart (they hope) and paying bills online. The game-changing feature here is that Bluebird doesn't come with a bunch of fees.

Bluebird has no annual or monthly fee, no fees for loading money by direct deposit or bank account, and no fees for MoneyPass ATM usage if you are doing direct deposit.

Bluebird Fees and Fine Print

What fees does Bluebird have? $2 for loading money from a debit card and $2 for out-of-network ATM usage. Also, if you activate your account at Walmart, you'll pay $5 to get started. Activate online and avoid this charge. Be sure to review the Bluebird fee disclosures yourself.

Here's a further breakdown of Bluebird fees:

Bluebird Fees

More About Bluebird

Bluebird recently added physical checks to their offering. When you setup direct deposit you can order a free book of checks. After that date, additional checkbooks will cost $26.

Bluebird iPhone App

The Bluebird iPhone App

I have seen some complaints about Bluebird from early adopters. There is apparently a long float between the time you load money to the account by direct deposit and check.

This has resulted in a disappointing experience by those users who apparently didn't have as much of a wait time with other banking alternatives. Be sure to understand the terms and take it slow switching all of your finances over to Bluebird.

Here are some of the more interesting features of this Bluebird account and debit card:

  • Digital Check Deposit – You can add money to your Bluebird account by taking a picture of your check with an iPhone or Android device and using the Bluebird app to upload your picture.
  • 22,000 MoneyPass ATMs – With Bluebird you have access to your funds through a big network of ATMs. Remember, to avoid the $2 fee for withdrawal, you'll need to have direct deposit setup.
  • Create Sub-Accounts for Kids – Each sub-account user gets their own card and access levels based on your personalized settings. Use this feature to pay your teenager their allowance.

Using Bluebird to Earn More Credit Card Rewards

Those into maximizing their credit card rewards have already picked up on a way to use Bluebird to their advantage. Since you can use your Bluebird account (for free) to pay your bills, and because you can (for free) load your Bluebird account with Vanilla prepaid reload cards, and because you can (for free) buy Vanilla prepaid reload cards at certain retailers with your cash back credit card, you can earn cash back credit card rewards for paying your mortgage. There ya go.

Applying for a Bluebird Account

When you apply for a Bluebird account online (without first getting your debit card at WalMart), you are required to complete two screens of data. Screen one contains fields for name, address, email, and phone number. Screen two requires you to create a new user name, password, PIN, and security question, and also provide your SSN and date of birth. There is no hard credit inquiry. Once you are approved, your Bluebird card will be sent by mail.

So what do you think of Bluebird? If you are a user already, what can you share about your experience? And for everyone else, are you as positive as I am about this account?

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  1. bkhan1900 says:

    Rtaylor the same thing is happening with me, my employer did a direct deposit on monday evening and now its thursday, and still i have nothing in my account. i have bills to pay and feed my family.. all my coworkers have already received their pay, not me. I should have just took a paper check, on tuesday, I am so upset. I am going to contact the better business bureau and contact law enforcements in salt lake utah, this is crazy, They stole my money!!

  2. Bluebird is the best! I have not run into any direct deposit lag issues at all. MY money hit right on time (2 AM EST). I love all the perks of Bluebird.

  3. john ogle says:

    This is unbelievable Iam so upset with this card was told it wouldn’t take more than 3 days for me to receive money on this card so called bank when I transferee from my capital one bank and they have been deducted the 2500.00 from capital one and now some people tell me Saturday others tell me Mon and some say Tuesday my son needs this money in collage, its a big crap

  4. I had the Serve Card and closed it to try the Bluebird card. The customer service is what I noticed from the start. Long wait times and broken English are just the start of the problems. The mobile deposit of checks takes over a week to post. The direct deposit which was sent from my employer on a Monday night has yet to post to my account and today is Friday. I called customer service and waited 17 minutes (Due to the success of the card) as the recording will tell you no matter what time you call. I spoke with the rep (in India) and I was told that the direct deposit can post as late as 2 P.M. and sometimes later.  American express who has teamed with Walmart are fleecing the people who have high hopes for a product  that has been certainly misrepresented at the least.

  5. Chris Kaiser says:

    Worst customer service ever!!!!  I have been trying to get a hold of someone in account security for about a week.   I stay on the line for about two hours a day and never have spoken to a real person.  Mailbox is full, even when I did leave a message stating how important it was, noone called me back.  Horrible, horrible customer service… don’t waste your time or money.

  6. How in the world do I change my birthdate  on my account I guess I punched in the wrong one when setting up my account and i have been searching for 2 days everyone ive talked to on the customer service line seems to be really out to lunch.  Also about the ATM if ive read correctly you can not withdraw your own money unless you have a direct deposit set up?  Please forgive my spelling.

    • Philip Taylor says:

      @Mirandax7 You can withdraw your own money at anytime. You will just have to pay a fee if you don’t have dd setup or if you are not using a network ATM. Not sure about the birthdate issue. I suggest you continue to call them.

      • @Philip Taylor I have tried using an atm actually several different ones I even called blue bird and they had no answer.  No matter which ATM i used i got an error message

  7. Money Life and More says:

    I’m totally looking into that work around you’re talking about… and yes, it does sound much better than the Suze Orman card… sorry Suze!

  8. MileageUpdate says:

    Can you get more than one BlueBird per person?

    • Philip Taylor says:

      @MileageUpdate No, I don’t think so. They run your SSN when you register and they actually rejected my application because they thought I already had a card. Not that I actually do, but I thought it was instructive to share that they will reject you for that reason.