American Express and Walmart Launch Bluebird®: a New Alternative to Debit
and Checking Accounts
Bluebird addresses the need for an affordable, transparent way to manage
everyday finances, with premium features, no minimum balance, monthly, or
BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- October 08, 2012
Walmart and American Express today announced the launch of Bluebird, an
alternative to debit and checking accounts designed to help consumers better
manage and control their everyday finances. Bluebird has been developed for
the tens of millions of Americans who are looking for advanced capabilities
such as deposits by smartphone and mobile bill pay, fee transparency, and no
minimum balance, monthly, annual or overdraft fees. Bluebird puts the power
back in the hands of consumers and will be available next week online at
www.bluebird.com and in more than 4,000 Walmart stores.
Building on a pilot program launched in late 2011, Bluebird was shaped by
feedback from consumers who said they were not getting the value they expect
from traditional checking account and debit services because of increasingly
higher fees. According to an independent study by Bretton Woods^1, consumers
now pay an average of $259 per year for a basic checking account and that cost
is rising due to higher minimum balance requirements and a growing list of
fees being added to these services.
“Our customers tell us that they’re tired of navigating a complex maze of dos
and don’ts to avoid the ever growing list of fees found on checking products.
Bluebird solves this problem and we believe it’s the best product on the
market to help customers affordably manage their everyday finances,” said
Daniel Eckert, vice president of financial services for Walmart U.S. “At
Walmart, we are always looking for ways to make a difference by using the
strengths that come with our size, scale and reach to take on the challenges
that matter most to our customers. Reducing the costs and frustration that
come with high fees is one of these issues.”
“The financial services landscape is changing.Technological advances,
regulatory changes, and evolving consumer needs are redefining payments
ranging from prepaid, to checking and debit. Bluebird is our solution to help
consumers who currently may be poorly served by traditional banking products.
It allows them to easily and safely move, manage, and spend their money. In an
era where it is increasingly “expensive to be poor,” we have worked with
Walmart to create a financial services product that rights many of the wrongs
that plague the market today,” said Dan Schulman, group president, Enterprise
Growth, American Express.
Loaded with Features. Not Fees.
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.
Bluebird members can deposit money in a variety of ways including payroll
direct deposit, remote check capture via the Bluebird mobile app, using cash
at any Walmart register, or by linking a checking, savings, or debit card to
the account. Members can also set up alerts and controls to manage their
account, use their Bluebird card at millions of locations that accept American
Express® Cards and enjoy access to benefits such as Purchase Protection^3,
Roadside Assistance^4, Global Assist® Services^5, fraud protection in the
event the Card is lost or stolen, and 24x7 customer service. If a customer’s
Bluebird card is ever lost or stolen, funds stay protected at American
Express, and the card is replaced at no charge.
Bluebird allows consumers to also enjoy the functionality of a digital wallet,
including person to person (P2P) payments, mobile app functionality, and the
ability to control subaccounts for friends and family right from a smartphone.
Bluebird is built upon the digital payment capabilities of American Express’
The only fees consumers will ever pay are clear, transparent and within their
control, such as out of network ATM withdrawals for a consumer that does not
have direct deposit.
Bluebird Account Fee Summary
Category Type Amount
Monthly Fee $0
Set Up: Annual Fee $0
Direct Deposit $0
From a Debit Card $2
Add Money: Cash through Walmart^2 $0
$0 & third
Cash Load Packs party fees
Deposit Checks with $0
(at MoneyPass® Network $0
ATMS WITH direct
ATM Cash deposit)
Access: $2 & third
(all other) network
$0 & stop
Spend Electronic Bill Pay payment
Money: fees may
Customer Service Calls $0
Other: Replacement Card $0
Foreign Exchange $0
Bluebird customers can get access to cash at a network of more than 22,000
MoneyPass® ATMs nationwide. Cash access through MoneyPass’ network is fee free
and surcharge free for Bluebird customers enrolled in direct deposit. For
customers not enrolled in direct deposit, each MoneyPass ATM withdrawal is
just $2. For out-of-network ATMs, each withdrawal is also $2, though
additional ATM operator fees apply.
In the first quarter of 2013, Bluebird will be adding additional features,
such as more options to deposit money and check-writing capabilities.
Signing up is Easy
Consumers can sign-up for free on Bluebird.com, or choose to buy a $5 account
set up kit at a local Walmart for immediate use (with limited functionality).
The set up kit includes a starter card, which can be funded with cash or a
debit card at the register with any dollar amount between $1 and $500. Once
funded, the starter card can be used immediately anywhere in the United States
where American Express Cards are accepted. Customers must then complete their
account set up at bluebird.com in order to access the full features and
benefits of Bluebird, as well as receive their personalized Bluebird card.
For more information, please visit www.bluebird.com.
Media Conference Call – Live Audio Webcast
A conference call with members of the media will be held today October 8, 2012
at 8:30 a.m. EDT. The call will be hosted by Dan Schulman, Group President,
Enterprise Growth, American Express and Daniel Eckert, Vice President of
Financial Services for Walmart U.S.
Monday, October 8, 2012
When: 8:30 AM (Eastern Time) / 7:30 AM (Central Time)
Dial In Number: 1-866-952-1906
Conference ID: WALMART
A live audio webcast will be made available to the general public through the
American Express Investor Relations website at http://ir.americanexpress.com.
An audio replay of the presentation will be available after the event at the
same website address.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200
million times per week at over 10,300 retail units under 69 different banners
in 27 countries. With fiscal year 2012 sales of $444 billion, Walmart employs
2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in
sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional
information about Walmart can be found by visiting
http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and
on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmartnewsroom. Online merchandise sales are
available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.
About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access
to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business
success. Bluebird is a prepaid access account issued by American Express
Travel Related Services, Inc. Learn more about American Express at
americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress,
twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress. Key links to
products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel
services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 which are subject to
risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contain words such as
“believe”,” expect”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “plan”, “will”, “may”, “likely”
and similar expressions. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on
these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which
they are made. Neither Walmart nor American Express undertakes to update or
revise any forward looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results
to differ materially from these forward looking statements include, but are
not limited to, the ability to add additional features to Bluebird in the
first quarter of 2013, including additional deposit options and check-writing
capabilities, which will depend in part on the ongoing investment in
Bluebird’s functionality, technological developments relating to such features
and whether consumers will find such features attractive.
^1 Bretton Woods, “Analysis of Branded General Purpose Reloadable Prepaid
Cards,” February 2012.
^2 Fee Schedule has been updated since packaging was printed. There is no fee
for cash loading through Walmart.
^3 Purchase Protection is underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company,
Administrative Office, Phoenix, AZ. Coverage is determined by the terms,
conditions, and exclusions of Policy AX0951 or Policy PP-IND and is subject to
change with notice. This document does not supplement or replace the Policy.
^4 Roadside Assistance 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.
Cardmembers are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service
providers. Services are available regardless of mileage from primary residence
when traveling within the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Subject to
additional terms, conditions and exclusions. Call 1-877-458-7304 for full
terms and conditions.
^5 While the Global Assist® Hotline coordination and assistance services are
offered at no additional charge from American Express, Cardmembers are
responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers. Please
call the number on the back of your Card for full terms and conditions.
American Express Media Relations:
Vanessa McCutchen, 212-640-5445
American Express Investor Relations:
Ken Paukowits, 212-640-6348
Walmart Media Relations:
Walmart Investor Relations:
Carol Schumacher, 479-277-1498
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