BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and American Express Co. announced they’ve teamed up to offer consumers a reloadable prepaid card as an alternative to debit and checking accounts that will help consumers better manage and control their finances.
The companies first began testing the card, called Bluebird, late last year, and have since fine-tuned the product based on customer feedback.
"Bluebird is our solution to help consumers who currently may be poorly served by traditional banking products," Dan Schulman, president of American Express' enterprise growth group, said in a statement. "It allows them to easily and safely move, manage, and spend their money."
According to the two companies, Bluebird will have no minimum balance and no monthly, annual or overdraft fees; the only fees associated with the card will be transparent and within the user's control, such as out of network ATM withdrawals by consumers that don't have direct deposit.
"Our customers tell us that they're tired of navigating a complex maze of do's and don'ts to avoid the ever growing list of fees found on checking products," Daniel Eckert, vice president of financial services for Walmart U.S., said in a statement.
He said Bluebird solves that problem and will "help customers affordably manage their everyday finances."
The Bluebird cards can be used at a variety of locations that accept American Express. Users can deposit funds onto the card via direct deposit, remote check capture through the Bluebird mobile app, using cash at any Walmart register, or by linking a checking, savings or debit card to the account.
Wal-Mart and American Express said that more features will be added to Bluebird in the first quarter of 2013. These features will include more options to deposit money and check-writing capabilities.
Bluebird will be available next week at www.bluebird.com and in more than 4,000 Walmart stores.