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Bluebird by American Express Review

Bluebird by American Express Review

Sign Up Offer
No bonus
Regular Purchase APR
N/A
Foreign Exchange Fee
$0
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Who is the Bluebird by American Express best for?

If you’re looking for an easy way to manage your money, or you want to oversee your family’s spending, the Bluebird by American Express offers a simplified way to do so in the form of a reloadable prepaid card.

Unlike many prepaid debit cards that charge high fees, the Bluebird by American Express does not charge monthly fees, inactivity fees, in-network ATM withdrawal fees or customer service fees. Additionally, cardholders can add money to their account at no additional charge via direct deposit, mobile check capture by Ingo® Money or at Walmart stores.

We should note, because the Bluebird by American Express is a prepaid debit card, it does not report to the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — and, therefore, will not help build your credit history.

Additionally, you must be at least 18 years old to open an account, and 19 years old in Alabama and Nebraska. The card is not currently available to residents of Vermont.

We’ll highlight the pros and cons of the Bluebird by American Express, and show how it compares to similar cards to help you determine if it’s a good fit for your wallet.

Bluebird by American Express overview

    • No monthly fees
    • Free to add cash at Walmart
    • Free ATM withdrawals at MoneyPass ATMs
    • Online bill pay
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Roadside assistance
  • Purchase protection
  • Emergency assistance
  • Fraud protection
  • Ability to freeze and unfreeze card
  • Access to Amex Offers and American Express Experience
  • 24/7 customer service

Intro Purchase APR

N/A

Regular Purchase APR

N/A

Intro BT APR

N/A

Regular BT APR

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Cash Advance Fee

N/A

Foreign Transaction Fee

$0

Balance Transfer Fee

N/A

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Limited fees
  • Free withdrawals at MoneyPass ATMs
  • Convenient ways to add cash
  • Ability to manage subaccounts

Cons

  • Other fees
  • Does not report activity to credit bureaus

What we like about the Bluebird by American Express

  • Limited fees

    Prepaid cards typically charge fees ranging from $4.95 to $7 each month. But the Bluebird by American Express card does not charge monthly fees — which can end up saving you roughly $59 to $84 annually.

    Additionally, the card offers free direct deposits, cash reloads (at Walmart), mobile check capture by Ingo® Money, online bill pay and customer service. There is also no fee to send and receive money, add subaccounts or for account inactivity.

  • Free withdrawals at MoneyPass ATMs

    When you use your Bluebird by American Express at one of the more than 30,000 MoneyPass ATM locations in the United States and Puerto Rico, you won’t be charged additional fees to do so.

    Transactions at other ATMs will be subject to a $2.50 fee. ATM operator fees may also apply.

  • Convenient ways to add cash

    Cardholders can add cash to their Bluebird by American Express directly at a Walmart register or MoneyCenter, or at CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Dollar General and participating 7-Eleven locations (fees may apply for retailers other than Walmart).

    Cardholders can also add funds for free via direct deposit, transfers from an external bank account, transfers from a linked external debit card, money requests to another Bluebird accountholder and checks using the Bluebird mobile app.

  • Ability to manage subaccounts

    Cardholders can set up subaccounts, which provide a flexible way to give another person age 13 or older access to your money while you maintain control over how they spend.

    As the main accountholder, you can set spending limits, grant ATM access and review activity for all linked Bluebird subaccounts.

    Cardholders are allowed up to four subaccounts per Bluebird account.

What to watch out for with the Bluebird by American Express

  • Other fees

    Although the Bluebird by American Express lets you avoid many of the fees commonly charged by prepaid debit cards, it is not a completely fee-free card.

    Cardholders will be subject to the following fees:

    ItemFee
    Card price$5 at retail locations; $0 to sign up online
    Cash reloads at participating retails (other than Walmart)Up to $3.95
    Mobile check capture1% to 5% of check ($5 minimum) for Money in Minutes; $0 for Money in 10 Days
    Withdrawal at out-of-network ATMs$2.50 (ATM operator fees may also apply)
    Cash pickup$3 to $9, depending on withdrawal amount
    Bluebird2Walmart money transfer$4 to $16, depending on transfer amount
    Card replacement expedited shipping$20; $0 for standard shipping

  • Does not report to credit bureaus

    While you are required to provide your Social Security card when opening an account, the Bluebird by American Express does not run a credit check or report your card activity to the credit bureaus.

    Therefore, if you’re looking to build or establish credit, you may be better off with a secured card designed for individuals with limited/bad/poor credit, like the Discover it® Secured Credit Card.

    | Disclosures
    Discover it® Secured Credit Card
    Discover it® Secured Credit Card
    on Discover's secure site
    N/A
    25.99% Variable APR
    $0
    2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000
    • No credit score required to apply.
    • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
    • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
    • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
    • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
    • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
    • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
    • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
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    How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

    LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Alternate prepaid card to the Bluebird by American Express

Compare it to the Walmart MoneyCard®

If you regularly shop at Walmart and want to earn rewards for doing so, the Walmart MoneyCard® could be a good alternative. The card offers 3% cash back at Walmart.com, 2% cash back at Murphy USA and Walmart fuel stations, and 1% cash back at Walmart stores. Maximum of $75 cash back per reward year.

The Walmart MoneyCard® does, however, charge a monthly fee of $5.94 — which can add up to $71.28 per year. But if you direct deposit $500 or more during the previous monthly period, the fee will be waived.

Other benefits of the Walmart MoneyCard® include up to $200 in overdraft protection, up to four additional accounts for family members age 13 or older and the ability to manage your money via the MoneyCard app. Plus, get free access to ASAP Direct Deposit, which allows you to receive your paycheck up to two days before payday.

In addition to a monthly fee, the Walmart MoneyCard® charges a $1 card purchase fee, $3 to deposit cash at Walmart registers and up to $5.95 at other locations ($0 using the Walmart app), a $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee (plus a possible fee by the ATM operator), a $2.50 teller cash withdrawal fee, $15 overdraft fee and a 50 cent ATM balance inquiry fee. Plus, the card charges foreign transactions fees of 3% of the amount of each transaction and a card replacement fee of $3 for standard delivery and $15 for expedited delivery.

To purchase a Walmart MoneyCard®, you must be 18 years or older. Activation requires online access and your Social Security number to serve as identity verification to open an account.

The information related to the Walmart MoneyCard® has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Compare the Walmart MoneyCard® to similar cards

Comparison of four different credit cards
Bluebird by American Express Walmart MoneyCard® NetSpend<sup>®</sup> Visa<sup>®</sup> Prepaid Card PayPal Prepaid Mastercard<sup>®</sup>
Bluebird by American Express Walmart MoneyCard® NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®
Read Review
Review Coming Soon Apply Now
on NetSpend's secure site
Apply Now
on NetSpend's secure site
Rewards Rate
No rewards 3% cash back at Walmart.com, 2% cash back at Murphy USA and Walmart fuel stations, and 1% cash back at Walmart stores. Maximum of $75 cash back per reward year. See Terms* Take advantage of PayPal cash back rewards and earn on qualifying purchases from select merchants.
Annual Fee
$0 $5 per month, waived if you loaded $1,000 or more in the previous month See Terms* Plan fee is $4.95 monthly.
Welcome Offer
No bonus None N/A N/A
Recommended Credit
N/A N/A Poor/Limited Poor/Limited
Card Details
Bluebird by American Express Additional card details unavailable NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®

Is the Bluebird by American Express right for you?

Prepaid cards are now better protected than they used to be, thanks to a rule enacted in 2019 by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau — but if your card is used fraudulently or you have to dispute a transaction with a merchant, you would lose your funds until they’re refunded to you.

With a credit card, however, you haven’t used your own money until you’ve paid your monthly credit card bill. That provides an extra layer of security.

If you’ve decided a prepaid card is the money management tool you need right now, the Bluebird by American Express is a good option. It offers helpful tools, such as mobile check capture, all without charging a monthly fee.

And, if you’re looking at this card as a way to manage family spending, the option to get additional cards and set spending and ATM access limits makes it a convenient way to keep your family’s budget on track.

The information related to the Bluebird by American Express has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.