Wal-Mart and American Express will offer consumers a prepaid card, called Bluebird, that the companies describe as an alternative to debit cards and checking accounts. Bluebird will be available online or at Wal-Mart’s 4,000 stores. The product has no minimum balance and it does not charge annual, monthly or overdraft fees.
The companies say consumers can deposit money onto the card via direct deposit, by paying cash at a Wal-Mart store, by remote deposit capture using a Bluebird mobile app, or by linking a checking or savings account to the card.
Barron’s notes that for American Express, Bluebird is a departure from its usual focus on affluent consumers. Barron’s also notes that the stock of GreenDot, a company that already partners with Wal-Mart to offer a prepaid card, has taken a beating on the Bluebird announcement.