Who needs a bank? Walmart and American Express have added a host of capabilities to the Bluebird financial service product they introduced last year as an alternative to debit and checking accounts.
The program initially featured no minimum balance requirements or monthly service or overdraft fees. Bluebird Accounts will now be eligible for FDIC insurance and be able to receive direct deposit of government disbursements, such as social security payments, military pay, and tax refunds. Customers can also now balance their checkbook in real-time with pre-authorized check writing, add checks to their Bluebird Account by mail and load funds up to $100,000 annually.
"Since launching Bluebird, we have been listening to our customers’ feedback and working hard to expand its features and services," said Daniel Eckert, vp of financial services for Walmart U.S. "Bluebird is helping customers streamline everyday money management without the frustration of navigating complicated dos and don’ts just to avoid fees."
Eckert said the enhancements make Bluebird a great option for active duty military personnel, government employees and other customers helping them take greater control of their everyday finances.
"When we launched Bluebird last October, we were focused on serving the tens of millions of Americans who are not well served by the traditional financial services industry. The unbanked, underbanked, and the unhappily banked are beset by onerous fees and numerous inconveniences," said Dan Schulman, group president, Enterprise Growth at American Express. "Bluebird is designed to help make their everyday financial lives easier, more convenient and less expensive."
Bluebird’s new capabilities, built on American Express’ Serve platform, are in addition to existing features such as the ability to add checks via smartphones, family sub-accounts and no fee access to cash at 22,000 ATMs for Bluebird members who have enrolled in direct deposit.