I’m actually surprised by how much I like this feature. As you may know, I’m testing American Express Bluebird which functions as an alternative to a standard debit card by adding on a few other banking features like automatic bill pay, ATM withdrawals, and more. The fees are minimal, if any.
What Is American Express Bluebird?
American Express and Walmart have partnered to bring consumers a debit card that functions like a checking account where you can make:
- Deposits via smartphone.
- Direct deposits.
- Bill payments online.
- Sub-accounts to transfer money to your college student, for example (this feature seems handy).
- Free ATM withdrawals at MoneyPass ATMs.
The card can be loaded at Walmart using a cash or debit card. Load it online via a checking account, too.
Benefits That Come With Bluebird
All you need to do to get the card is stop into Walmart (where it costs $5) or sign up online and wait a few days to receive it for free. Here are some of the account benefits.
- No credit check to apply for the card.
- No hidden fees. The only fees I can see are if you make an out of network ATM withdrawal or overdraw your account. Otherwise, there are no annual or monthly fees.
- Purchase protection protects items for 90 days after purchase should they be damaged or stolen.
- Roadside assistance for emergency car trouble. They arrange for the assistance, but you pay for it.
- Entertainment access for discounted and advance tickets to music, theater and sporting events. This isn’t actually valid in San Diego, unfortunately, but you may benefit in certain coverage areas.
- Fraud protection.
- Global assist which offers medical, legal or financial assistance when over 100 miles from home.
- Easy-to-use online banking.
By using the Android or iPhone Bluebird mobile app, you can scan and deposit checks straight into your account. It’s fun to do and sort of like scanning a QR code. This eliminates going to the bank to deposit checks. Sometimes, I even go to the ATM to withdraw money and forget to deposit checks that are in my purse. I get money into my account faster by using this feature.
Other Ways To Deposit Cash Into Bluebird
1. Link your checking or savings account to Bluebird and transfer money. This takes approximately 5 business days, so just be prepared for that.
2. Buy a Vanilla Reload card. There’s a $3.95 fee per card with a $500 maximum, but an opportunity to earn airlines miles as I briefly discussed earlier. Log on to the internet to load Bluebird immediately with the Vanilla Reload card. I buy them at CVS.
3. Go to Walmart and load the card at the cashier. I’ll probably never do this since I’m not a Walmart shopper (I’m just never around one), but it is an option.
4. Use a debit card. You may have a $2 fee, but if it’s a miles-earning debit card it might be worth it.
Bluebird Is Great For The Student In Your Life
This could be handy if you have a high school or college student in your life. You can add up to four sub-accounts on to your American Express Bluebird and control the money that they receive. You can:
- Turn the ATM feature on and off.
- Transfer money.
- Monitor spending by receiving email alerts.
- Set daily spending limits.
It seems strange to have American Express Bluebird as an account in addition to my normal checking or savings. However, I’m going to keep it. I’ll tell you why in my next post along with everything I like and dislike about it.
*I am a compensated reviewer of American Express Bluebird. All opinions are my own.