With the addition of the FDIC insurance, Bluebird is an alternative bank account, with no balance minimum and no fees for deposits or withdrawals, unless made from an out-of-network ATM. With Bluebird, customers can also make check deposits made through smartphone applications. Electronic bill paying is also free of charge. So a customer without a bank account can easily avoid paying fees to check cashers, while setting up a convenient account with debit, bill-paying and smartphone access. With direct deposit, customers can have instant access to their regular pay, right at a Walmart store.
Wal-Mart and American Express also on Tuesday rolled out "worry-free check writing," which makes it much easier to balance a check book. A Bluebird member can preauthorize a check, which means when the check is written, the funds are immediately set aside and the customer is given a code number. The code number can be written on the check, allowing the payee to confirm the check is covered, by calling American Express. This makes it much easier for the Bluebird member and the merchant to complete a secure check transaction. And the "no overdraft" checks can be authorized by Bluebird members with the use of a smartphone.
With Bluebird, Wal-Mart and American Express have put themselves at the head of the curve, by providing an excellent low-cost alternative to consumers faced with increasing deposit account service charges at large banks. They have also made a solid play for potential customers who may not even have bank accounts, enabling those customers to avoid recurring fees.