American Express added Walmart’s U.S. network of 4,100 stores as locations where customers can participate in the card issuers prepaid Serve offering.
Walmart’s decision to offer the prepaid American Express Serve card follows a financial services move by the retailer last week to offer customers low cost money wiring services between stores called Walmart-2-Walmart. Walmart also began offering the Bluebird card from Amex about 18 months ago as it began to move into financial services more aggressively. The difference between Serve and Bluebird is that Serve is a full service reloadable prepaid account whereas Bluebird is designed more as an alternative to a checking or debit account. There are also subtle differences in the fees charged.
Walmart’s stores now become part of the Amex Serve network where customers are able to add value to their cards at no cost. Other participating retailers include CVS and participating 7-Eleven locations which bring the network total to 19,500 locations.
“By offering American Express Serve alongside Bluebird at Walmart, we’re expanding our portfolio of products to meet the needs of more Walmart shoppers,” said Dan Schulman, group president of Enterprise Growth at American Express. “Bluebird is a great option for the ‘unhappily banked’ who are looking for a true alternative to the fees and hidden charges often associated with debit and checking. With Serve, our full service reloadable prepaid account, we can now provide the nearly 70 million Americans who are unbanked or underbanked a simple and affordable way to move and manage their money.”
The addition of Walmart coincides with the release of television ad campaign and a new documentary from American Express called, Spent: Looking for Change. American Express partnered with filmmaker Davis Guggenheim on the documentary which follows a handful of hopeful Americans as they navigate their way through an antiquated financial system that can inhibit, rather than help, people’s ability to access, move and manage money as well as save for the future, according to American Express. The company said it hopes to spotlight how technology and new thinking can begin to address the issues facing nearly 70 million Americans it contends are poorly served or excluded from the mainstream financial system.