Review: Trying Out Bluebird by American Express and Walmart

BY: - 30 Nov '12 | Money

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The one month stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the perfect time to sink into major debt. In just 30 short days you can slide, headfirst down a very slippery slope faster than you can say, “rudolf the red nosed reindeer.”

Since that is the case, I’m excited to do a review of Bluebird here on Bluebird is a new checking and debit alternative from Walmart and American Express.

According to the companies:

Bluebird merges the best of today’s capabilities found in the payments, technology, and financial services space and packages it into something that provides consumers with simple and convenient access to their funds so they can manage and streamline their money management.

Features for registered members include:

  • Deposit Money: Once Members register and receive their personalized Bluebird card, funds can be loaded online through a bank account such as a savings or checking account, debit cards, direct deposit, remote check capture via the mobile app and cash loading at Walmart registers.
  • Make Purchases: Bluebird can be used for purchases at millions of locations where American Express ® Cards are accepted, both in the U.S. and internationally.
  • Pay Bills: Members can pay bills to any person or business in the U.S., either online or with the Bluebird mobile app.
  • Create Subaccounts: Bluebird offers Members the ability to easily create, manage and specify subaccounts for their friends, family members or colleagues. Members can set up to four subaccounts. Subaccounts are linked to the master Bluebird account and allow the user to set spending limits, set up text/email alerts, and enable/disable key features like ATM access.
  • Transact through the Bluebird Mobile App: The Bluebird mobile app has no fee and is available on any iPhone® and AndroidTM Phone. Once installed, Bluebird Members can send and receive money, view transactions, add money, and manage subaccounts.
  • Get Cash Access: Bluebird members can use their Bluebird Card for ATM withdrawals anywhere around the world that accepts American Express® Cards. Bluebird Members enrolled in direct deposit can get fee-free and surcharge-free cash access through the MoneyPass’ network of 22,000 ATMs nationwide. Withdrawals at an out-of-network ATM will have a $2 fee and additional fees may be assessed by the ATM owner or operator. For Bluebird Members not enrolled in direct deposit, each ATM withdrawal at any MoneyPass ATM nationwide will have a $2 fee. Note: The $2 fee is waived until November 4, 2012.
  • Enjoy Access To Valuable Benefits: Members have access to benefits (subject to terms and conditions), including:
  1. Purchase Protection1 which can provide coverage against accidental damage or theft of eligible items for 90 days from date of purchase, up to $1,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per Cardmember account per calendar year.
  2. Roadside Assistance2 which may arrange for the following services: towing, winching, jump starts, flat tire change when spare is available, lockout service when key is in vehicle and delivery of up to 2 gallons of fuel.
  3. Global Assist® Services3 provide pre-trip planning assistance as well as emergency assistance when the Cardmember is traveling more than 100 miles from home.
  4. Exceptional 24-7 customer service Members have come to expect from American Express.
  • Initiate Bluebird to Bluebird Transfers: Immediate person-to-person money transfers to other Bluebird Members can be conducted online or via the Bluebird mobile app.
  • Set up Money Management Tools: Online management tools provide controls and full transparency for how Bluebird is used. Either online or via the mobile app, Members can:
  1. View real-time transaction history and monitor spending.
  2. Receive email or text alerts
  3. Disable/enable ATM access (master accounts only)
  4. Inquire about their balance 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
  5. Schedule reloading of funds automatically.

Stay tuned over the next month as I provide several updates from receiving the card, to using it during my everyday adventures.

Will Bluebird really assist with better money management and control? Should you pick one up from the more than 4,000 participating Walmart stores? We’ll find out.

Disclaimer: Compensation was provided for the time and effort that will go into this review but will not influence my findings. 

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2229 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.


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28 WordPress comments on “Review: Trying Out Bluebird by American Express and Walmart

  1. Randy Johnson

    Horrible, Horrible, Horrible, do not get this card. They have not cst support. I have had the card for 3 weeks and have had to call in 4 times. Each time is over an hour. This current time is going on 3 hour hold/transfers. There is no online/email support. All I need to do is transfer a few bucks to someone’s account from time to time. I have two debit cards linked which says it right ways, nope usually takes days. Now the account is frozen for some freaking reason and regular cst service cannot answer any question so you need to speak to the “super secret squirrel” person who keeps you on hold forever. As soon as I get the card unlocked I am transferring all of the money out and going back to taking my happy butt back to the store for a manual money gram. I feel very sorry for those of you who seriously consider these clowns for your primary money card. They are not even FDIC backed. I was only doing a couple of hundred at a time, I have read that people are actually having things like tax returns and direct deposit sent there. DO NOT do that, trust me. Go to a freaking bank people, it’s not that bad for that kind of stuff.

  2. Lynn

    DO NOT GET THIS CARD!!! They are the worst ever! They block your account without any notice whenever they want. It takes FOREVER for checks to deposit, when they say 5 days they are lying. I have never had a check deposit in under 7 days. The checks are constantly declined after trying to deposit them. I tried to deposit a check from my parents this morning as a Christmas gift and it was declined but nobody from bluebird can tell me why it was declined. I have been on the phone with them for 3 hours now and I am still sitting on hold as I type this b/c I keep getting transferred around to different people and told they can’t help me! WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER! No wonder they partnered up with Walmart!

  3. Katina

    DO NOT GET THIS CARD!!!! It is absolutely horrible!! I had my paycheck direct deposited and I was not able to get all of my money ofTHf this card at one time. It says that you can get up to $500 daily but the atm would only let me get a max of $400. After being on hold with customer service and being transferred numerous times I could get no help from anyone. You can’t even use this card to purchase money orders at Walmart, which is where the card was purchased. This card is a piece of crap!! By the way this card also CAN NOT BE USED TO MAKE GAS PURCHASES AT BP GAS STATIONS!! If you need a card of this nature please purchase anything except this BLUEBIRD BY AMERICAN EXPRESS IT IS A TOTAL CROCK OF SH^T!!!!!!

  4. Chris Kaiser

    Don’t get this card. My account was put on hold to verify my ss number. I have money being deposited to it any day. I’ve been calling customer service for the last week. With an average of about an hour before I talk to a real person, I get transferred were I’ve waited for two hours without anyone answering. I’ve spent about 12 hours in the last week on hold now and still have not spoke with anyone to unfreeze my account. This has to be the worst customer service I have ever experienced. Please don’t waste your time or money on this bogus service. What a joke. I’m not the only one complaining about this, so do your research. Don’t buy into Bluebird.

  5. Charlie Weise

    I have now tried for multiple days to try and find out why my card was put on hold. Three hours yesterday I was on hold with no answer and as of right now an hour this morning. I even tried calling the Amex customer service to see if therecwas a back way in andvthey sent me right back to the call queue. I don’t think there is actually anyone at this particular number. I also believe that this is close to being fraud since they are allowing you to deposit money to a card that does not allow you to access the funds. Amex is notorious as it is for their lack of customer service and this sinks it to a new low.

  6. A S

    This card puts American Express to shame as it has the worst customer service of any company. They black your account for no rhyme or reason and then when you call to get it cleared you have to wait forever to get a representative on line.

    I would not recommend this card to ANYONE.

  7. Pecola

    Do not use this card. They will freeze your account for no reason. No matter what info you give them, they still say they cannot verify. Don’t do it, Its really bad. No customer service, no email or postal mail, just phone numbers and people with bad attitudes (Mario MARGQ) was the worst, very snotty.

  8. Pingback: Review: Reloading and Spending the Day After Christmas with Bluebird | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  9. Pingback: What Happens When You Have Car Problems on the Road? | Black and Married With - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

  10. Shena

    I am so glad i read these reviews abou tthis card, i ordered mines thru there website and it has not yet to arived, but i believe that i will not be using it no way.

    1. Cindi

      I bought this card a couple of weeks ago and havent had any problems yet. I have called customer service a couple of times and have never had to wait over 2-3 minutes and everyone I have ever spoken to was very friendly. The only problem I have is that there is a ATM withdrawel limit of 500.00 daily, 2000.00 monthly.

      1. Mary

        Wow, I’m surprised to see so many negative messages. I got my card in Nov 2012 and I haven’t had any problems. I don’t care much for the website because the layout is a little weird but other than that I’ve not had a longer than 15 min wait for customer service, usually it’s about 2-6 mins. No issues with Direct Deposit or depositing checks (once I figured out that I had to line it up properly and take a pic of the back – but that was my bad).

        I purchased my card at Wal-Mart but just recently ordered 2 cards as sub accounts for my teenagers and transferred money without a hitch to their account. The cards haven’t come yet but it’s only been about 5 days so we shall see….

        The only thing I really don’t like is the daily withdrawl limit. I needed 600 but could only get $400 out of the Money Pass ATM but that’s not BlueBird’s Issue, that’s the MoneyPass ATM limit so I just went thru the lane at Wal-Mart and purchased two items seperatly, used the card at debit and got $100 cash over. No fee involved. It may have taken me 10 mins more but it was fine as long as I got my money.

        Maybe there are some bugs as there are with all things new but thank God I haven’t been involved with any issues.

          1. Anonymous

            Yes you can, I don’t know what’s wrong with your card but you most definitely can take money out of an ATM as well as get cash back

  11. Mary

    Received my children’s sub cards in the mail on 1/22/2013 and have had no issues at all. I have transferred money to their accounts which was received and available immediately after they went into their accounts and accepted the transfer, they have used the cards both online and in the store as well as drawing off small amounts and they have transferred money to each other without a hitch! So-far-so-good. I hope others have the same experience. M.

  12. Pingback: Review: Reloading and Spending the Day After Christmas with Bluebird | My Black Networks® -The Latest News from The African Diaspora

  13. Pamela Johnson

    VERY SAD, Not FDIC & They can suspend when they want & NO notice given to you!!! I signed up with them back in November 2012 with no problems. Then I had an issue with an unauthorized charge on my account so I phoned their customer service department to report. The lady only asked me questions regarding the transaction, gave me a conformation number and told me I would receive an email upon a decision and she could not tell me anything else. I received an email stating that the funds were credited to my account. But 2 days later attempting to use the card it was declined. I phoned and the rep stated the card was canceled, but gave no indication of a new one being mailed, nor in the previous letter did they state any of this. I had no access to my funds. Spoke with another rep who stated he could have a new card sent to me overnight. The card never came. I had no money for food, gas, etc. Only a word stating the card was on the way overnight which never came. I even asked to speak with a manager which they always stated was too busy to talk and someone would phone me back. I requested this three times, with only one attempt made, but I was away from the phone. They didn’t leave a message, etc. Spoke with two more reps and finally after 7-10 days, I received a new card. I decided to give them another try because I always thought that American Express was top of the line and upon signing up the ad stated I would receive the same level of service as any American Express Holder. I rerouted my direct deposit once more, and was awaiting to see if it went through okay. Paycheck stub indicated that the funds were deposited into the account, but as previously experienced, when the deposit would hit I would get an email notification first thing in the am. I was able to use the card that morning okay, and I phoned customer service to see why funds had not been posted. This customer service rep although asking me questions wasn’t paying attention to my answers and repeated herself. Finally she stated that I wouldn’t have access or see my funds until after 2pm which I NEVER heard of or experienced in the past. She wanted to give me additional information but what she was saying I already knew, so I told her I would check back, thanked her & hung up. I received an email around 12-1 on March 8th, 2013 stating that the funds were deposited and available. At approximately 830pm I attempted to use my card and it was declined. I thought it was a fluke tried another venue and it was declined again. Phoned customer service and the automated service stated the funds were available. I spoke to a customer service rep who verified my information then stated I’d have to speak with another department which wasn’t open until Mon. Spoke with another rep today who basically stated the same. This is the same department as the last, except this time I didn’t make any complaints, and AGAIN no notification what so ever was received about my card being cancelled or why my account has no access. I’ve Googled the reviews and noticed I’m not alone, that this is happening to alot of consumers with this company. Holding our money, no notice and no real explanation! It’s my money and I don’t understand how they can do this. I just reviewed their policy once more and noticed they have the right to suspend the account, but for what??? All I can do now is wait and see what they have to say AGAIN Monday morning. Worst nightmare ever, I can only pray, learn from this & move on!!!

  14. Janet

    Terrible! Apparently they do a chexsystems every time you try to deposit a check over a certain amount. They told me I had one returned check under my license number in the past and this is why they would not process my paycheck and declined it. What is really infuriating is that it’s been over a week, last time I called in a couple days ago they did not inform me it was declined, and also I never received an email about it either. I wasted a ton of time waiting for this check to clear and more time spent on the phone answering a million verifications from automated system and then agent to agent. The customer service reps don’t sound like they know what they are talking about and can barely put a coherent sentence together to understand.. they are all foreigners from another country handling the calls. The whole system sounds cheap and is cheap.. horrible lousy service! WILL NEVER USE AGAIN FOR IMPORTANT CHECKS AND I ADVICE YOU NOT TO EITHER!

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Money Monday: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Online Holiday Shopping

BY: - 3 Dec '12 | Money

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With Cyber Monday sales totaling nearly $1.5 billion, it’s clear that Americans are embracing the internet for their holiday shopping like never before. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of power tips to help you get the most out of your online holiday efforts while keeping your budget intact.

Remember it’s real money you’re dealing with

While using your computer or smart phone to nab the greatest deals seems like a smart play, it does come with an inherent risk. Primarily, it lowers the “pain of paying.” You see, it’s difficult to hand over hard earned cash but much easier to pay with a credit card. That’s why studies show that consumers spend more when they use credit rather than cash.

And since the internet is basically a credit based system, it’s all too easy for us to spend without fully appreciating that we’re parting with “real” money, especially when retailers make it so convenient with “one-click” ordering.

Don’t get caught up. Remember, it’s all too easy to spend money online without realizing you’re parting with actual money. Keep a running tally of the money you’ve spent online. Better yet, make a holiday budget and stick to it, whether in the real world or virtual one.

Outsmart the online retailers

Did you know that online retailers price discriminate all the time? They offer different prices and discounts to different customer on the very same items. Surprisingly, your computer operating system, the way you enter a merchant’s website, and how you search for a particular product may all determine whether you pay a higher price or not.

Some websites show users of Mac computers higher prices than their PC using friends. Enter a website by typing the address directly into the web browser and experts warn you may be offered higher prices and fewer discounts. So what are some of the best ways to ensure you get the lowest holiday prices?

Shop like a bargain hunter. Arriving at a website by way of a shopping search engine will often result in you being served up lower prices or being offered more lucrative discounts. Experts advise that you never go directly to the product page of an item you’re interested in. Browse around first. If you have an Apple computer, try checking the prices for the same merchandise on a Windows PC.

Most importantly, consider disabling the cookies on your computer. These small bits of information (cookies) are stored on your browser by the websites you visit. They allow merchandisers to track your web usage patterns. Using this information they often charge your higher, or in some cases lower prices, on their merchandise. If you have access to more than one computer try checking the prices on a computer using a browser with the cookies disabled.

Find the best price always

Comparison pricing is perhaps the best way to use the internet to nab holiday deals, and specialized search engines and smart phone apps make it easier than ever. Google Product Search, Nextag, and Bizrate are among the most highly rated comparison search engines. Smart phone apps like Red Laser, allow you to find the best prices both online and at local bricks and mortar stores.

Never pay for shipping

Shipping costs can put a huge dent in your holiday shopping budget, but there are a number of ways to get around having to pay for it. Check with the retailer first. Many, like Amazon, offer free shipping if you order a certain dollar amount worth of merchandise.

Alternatively search coupon websites like RetailMeNot where you can search for free online shipping discount codes at major internet retailers.

Site-to-store shopping is another option that allows you to avoid shipping costs. Major retailers like Sears and Walmart allow you to purchase online and then pick up your item at a nearby store.

If you’re the patient type you can always wait until Monday December 17, free shipping day. That’s when thousands of retailers offer free shipping on holiday merchandise. Check-out for a list of participating merchants.

Always have a back-up plan

In life even the best laid plans fall ruin sometimes as online shoppers discovered last year when several major retailers failed to follow through on delivery promises. Best Buy, for instance, received backlash after it accepted online orders in November but then waited until the week before Christmas to tell customers that their orders had been cancelled.

It pays to have a back-up plan in case a retailer drops the ball or an item doesn’t arrive on time as promised. Last minute gift cards can often serve as a plan B, and some online merchants even allow you to purchase virtual gift cards which you can send to loved ones by way of email.

BMWK. The internet can make the holiday season less stressful and cheaper. What are some of the best web tools or tricks you use to find low holiday prices?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 298 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.


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