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American Express And Walmart Announce The Addition Of FDIC Insurance And Worry-Free Check Writing To Bluebird®

American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) today announced expanded security and funding capabilities to Bluebird, a debit and checking alternative that provides Americans with a better way to manage and control their everyday spending.

Bluebird Accounts i will now be eligible for FDIC insurance, providing an extra layer of security. As a result, permanent Bluebird Accounts will now have the ability to receive direct deposit of government payments, such as social security payments, military pay, and tax refunds. Customers can also balance their Bluebird checkbook in real-time with pre-authorized check writing, add checks to their Bluebird Account by mail and add funds up to $100,000 annually.

“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. Today’s announcement, which reflects feedback from consumers, advocacy groups and government officials, represents the next set of enhancements that further distinguish Bluebird from other financial services options.”

“Since launching Bluebird, we have been listening to our customers’ feedback and working hard to expand its features and services,” said Daniel Eckert, vice president 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. The enhancements we’re announcing today make Bluebird a great option for our active duty military personnel, government employees and other customers helping them take greater control of their everyday finances.”

Bluebird’s new capabilities, built on American Express’ Serve® platform, are in addition to existing premium 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. Bluebird also comes with additional benefits such as access to Purchase Protection ii which can provide coverage for accidental damage or theft to eligible purchases within 90 days of purchase, award winning 24/7 customer service and the ability to be used virtually anywhere American Express® Cards are accepted worldwide.

More Reasons to Choose Bluebird

FDIC Insurance Coverage: Funds in all permanent Bluebird Accounts will now be eligible for FDIC insurance, which allows members to arrange for direct deposit of U.S. government payments. Temporary account funds will not be FDIC insured. Other restrictions may apply. For more information see www.bluebird.com/fdic.

“No Overdraft” Check Writing: Starting today, Bluebird Members will have the ability to order Bluebird checks that they can use to pay bills and make purchases without worrying about insufficient funds or incurring overdraft fees because a Member’s funds are set aside during the pre-authorization process.

To preauthorize a Bluebird check, a customer will follow just two easy steps:
  1. Obtain a unique authorization code online or through the Bluebird mobile app. Note: once a Bluebird check is pre-authorized, the funds associated with that check are immediately deducted from the customer’s balance, and are held until the check is presented for payment.
  2. Write the authorization code on the check and give to the payee. This ensures for the customer that sufficient funds are available to cover the Bluebird check being written. The payee can confirm that sufficient funds are available by calling American Express.

Bluebird Members have access to one free checkbook until August 2013. Thereafter, Bluebird Members enrolled in direct deposit can receive their first checkbook of 50 checks at no charge, otherwise direct deposit and non-direct deposit users can order a book of 50 checks for $26 (including shipping).

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