Walmart/American Express Bluebird Reviews

posted in: Prepaid Cards | 5

Overview

Bluebird LogoBluebird is an alternative banking option offered by Walmart and American Express. A Bluebird account enables users to accept direct deposits, make online bill payments, write checks, withdraw cash, pay with card swipes, and manage funds just like a traditional bank account, but it is actually just a card services account through American Express. This makes it appealing for users who require banking services but do not wish to use or would not qualify for traditional bank accounts.

Bluebird only has one service tier that includes all of its services. In addition to standard banking features, Bluebird accounts offer mobile check deposit, sub-accounts for family members, a SetAside account for savings, money transfer between Bluebird users, and all of the basic value-added services that American Express offers (roadside assistance, purchase protection, entertainment deals, etc.).

Bluebird Fee Breakdown

Bluebird does not charge any activation, monthly, annual, or per-transaction fees. Users can reload their Bluebird accounts for free via direct deposit, bank transfer, debit card, cash deposit at Walmart, mobile check deposit, and sending a check via mail. Reloading with a cash reload pack will be subject to charges from the cash reload pack service. Bluebird users can withdraw cash for free from MoneyPass ATMs but will be charged $2.50 per withdrawal at ATMs outside of the MoneyPass network. Bluebird does not charge any other fees. The full list of Bluebird fees and account limits can be seen here.

Bluebird Account Fees

Bluebird Fees
Bluebird Fees via bluebird.com

At a glance

Launched: 2012

Location: New York City

Issuer: American Express

Website: bluebird.com

Phone number: 1 (877) 486-5990

E-mail: N/A

Featured User Reviews

I’ve had my Bluebird card for a couple of months. I am currently haveing my paycheck direct deposited to it after having an overdraft issue with my checking account.

The ONLY issue I have had so far was that I used it at the Gas pump to pay for gas once. BIG Mistake!!!! They set aside $100 to cover the the purchase as an “authorization”. I about blew a gasket considering I was going out of town for the weekend!. I called and vented, which the CSR calmly allowed, then he explained what happened. He then REMOVED the hold! Excellent(although I had threatened to cancel the card if it couldn’t be fixed).

So, here’s what I recommend:
1. DO NOT waste $5 buying a started kit at Walmart & adding money. Go to www.bluebird.com & sign up there. You will save $5 & you will know if it will be approved or not.
2. DO NOT preauthorize Gas at the pump. They will hold $100 if you do! Pay for the gas by withdrawing cash from an atm(my local gas station has a money pass atm) or just prepay for a specific amount(yes, it makes filling up harder, but well worth saving yourself the aggrevation).
3.DO NOT use their app to deposit checks. It takes at LEAST a week. Not worth the wait.
4. DO ceate subaccounts & get cards for your kids. My son loves the fact that he has his own card(he’s 16). He uses it to pay for his XBox live & other things that I would have to take care of for him. He just gives me the money & I load it to my card & transfer it to his subaccount(evidently you can’t load funds with a subaccount card from what I have experienced).

I was also able to get 100 of their checks free(I think that offer is done). The checks require you to pre-authorize them. I LOVE that feature. I have tried for years to get banks to allow me to notate on my on-line banking that I wrote a check & have those funds set aside to cover it so I don’t bounce & have to pay an overdraft fee. The banks always ask “Why would you want that?” This is a great way to manage your money & make sure you don’t overdraw! & if your checks get stolen they are useless because AmEx will not honor any check that wasn’t preauthorized.

-Anonymous, Credit Karma

I have been using Bluebird for a year and the only downfall, other than Amex isn’t accepted everywhere, is their customer service. Its based in India which isn’t the problem, its that everytime I need to call them, I have to wait on hold forever for very simple things. As I type this, I have been on hold off and on for an hour and a half trying to get a replacement card ordered. It so frustrating to waste such time on something so simple. They always say it will be a brief hold of 5 minutes which turns into 30. PLEASE do something to fix this!

Terra Knipp, NerdWallet

What other reviewers are saying

Ripoff Report

Ripoff Report LogoBluebird currently has over 100 complaints on Ripoff Report, and these complaints seem to have been posted at a steady clip since the service’s launch. Common themes among complainant include poor customer service, fund holds, account freezes, fraud resolution issues, and problems with account setup or management. These complaints have been filed in relatively equal proportion to one another, indicating that there is no significant issue that most customers will encounter. Bluebird representatives have not responded to any of these complaints.

The Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau LogoThe Better Business Bureau does not maintain a separate profile for Bluebird, and it’s unclear whether the BBB routes complaints regarding Bluebird to its Walmart profile, its American Express profile, or both. As a general overview, Walmart has been accredited since 1990 and has an “A+” rating with the BBB, while American Express has been accredited since 1948 and has an “A” rating. The two companies combine for over 5,000 complaints in the last three years, but, again, it’s unclear how many of these are related to Bluebird.

Other sources

Bluebird is showing an overall rating of 2.2 out of 5 stars on Credit Karma, a rating of 3.7 out of 5 stars on CardHub, and a 4 out of 5 rating on Get.com. Some of these reviews appear to contain slightly outdated information and may only be reviewing the Bluebird card rather than the overall account. CreditCardForum also gave Bluebird a generally positive review.

Our take

From a pricing perspective, Bluebird is a rare banking alternative that can compete with traditional bank accounts. The service replicates most of the necessary features of a checking or savings account but is almost completely free to open and to use. It also does not require a credit check before activation, which gives it the same accessibility as prepaid cards without all of the extra fees.

Bluebird does lose points, however, when it comes to its service and support. Bluebird accounts are serviced by American Express, but the company’s reputation for excellent cardholder service does not appear to have been extended to Bluebird users. The potential for a negative experience with frozen funds, fraud, or customer support holds this card back from being a strong banking option for everyone. As it stands, Bluebird is a useful and affordable option when compared to most other banking alternatives, but you should still expect service quality to vary.

Have you used a Bluebird account? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below:

5 Responses

  1. Winslow Lucas

    Been having this card for over a month..They same 1 i bought from walmart..I called to see when my card with name would come..A long wait time to talk to a agent to be told i had tech difficulties..What so i dont get the card..Basically..Rip off and i want my refund for this card..Hate i ever bought this card..Yall full of it.

  2. Agaluma

    I reported a lost card in November 2017. Charges were made and i disputed them with bluebird. I was told the money would be back to me in 10 days. It has been almost two months and no cash back. I call customer service which redirects me to the fraud dept which redirects me back to customer service. I then filed a civil complaint against the company which received my cash China Airlines. The airline refunded my money in full to Bluebird , however Bluebird continues to hold my cash. I spoke to six different people saturday Jan 6 2018 all of which switched me to someone else. I eventually was switched back to the original agent who promised to call back but did not.
    Tomorrow I file a civil suit against Bluebird

  3. Charlotte McDowell

    I placed an order at Walmart.com and the order was canceled saying they didn’t get my payment info. Well bluebirds holding the money anyway, I’ve called and called and gotten promises it would immediately be put back on my card. It’s day five and it’s still not back on the card.

  4. Shawn Smith

    I would not recommend this card to anyone. I have recently become subject to a number of fraudulent transactions. When I called to report the transactions, I was sent to the Philippines to speak with fraud protection. At this point, this is a very vulnerable time for the customer to find out fraudulent transactions were placed on a card over 1800 miles away. The customer service reps read from a script telling you the same thing over and over. I even went so far as to contact the merchants in the state that the fraud occurred, spoke with their fraud team, very helpful people. They looked it up, pulled videos, everything. When this was relayed, the scripted reps quoted the same thing over and over. This was very frustrating, since over $1300 was stolen, and having to wait seemingly an eternity to have it replace. When I asked for a corporate phone number to make complaints, I was told that they were the only people that could handle this and would pass the information to the back office. What is the back office in this case? Very unhappy with this card, the service I received, and don’t think it’s for everyone. Definitely not for a direct deposit of funds needed for survival.

  5. Harry Broker

    I have heard over 95% negative news about this card. I will try to play with $20.00 after I receive the card. Will test the waters myself. If and when, this program is a failure to anyone?> I would suggest to try Google Wallet-MasterCard/Debit, connected with you Gmail account. It works awesome for me. Only fee? If it is not directly deposited out of your checking account, any debit cards transactions wil be small fee attached to it. Balance shows in less then 30 seconds on your Google wallet account. Other alternative? Pay Pal Business MasterCard Debit Card. Fee free and will be issued upon request after 6 months of opening up a PayPal account. Best option? Open ye self a free checking at Capital One 360, great embedded Chip Technology, for more secure transaction, on their MasterCard Debit Card. No Fees and collect a 0.2% interest on top of it. Customers Service is Outstanding, almost no waiting time, and operating on USA grounds, also PayPal Customer Service, operates out of Omaha, Nebraska. Any questions? Email: [REDACTED]

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