Retail major Walmart and a global services company, American Express, will launch Bluebird, an alternative to debit and checking accounts which targets lower-income shoppers who do not have bank accounts.
The service targets lower-income shoppers who do not have bank accounts and is similar to a checking account, but without minimum balance requirements or monthly, annual or overdraft fees.
Bluebird will be available next week online at www.bluebird.com besides 4,000 Walmart stores in the US.
Bluebird, built upon the digital payment capabilities of American Express’ Serve platform, allows consumers to have person to person (P2P) payments, mobile app functionality, and the ability to control subaccounts for friends and family right from a smartphone.
Bluebird members can deposit money in a variety of ways including payroll direct deposit, remote check capture via the Bluebird mobile app, using cash at any Walmart register, or by linking a checking, savings, or debit CARD to the account.
According to Wal-Mart and American Express, users would only pay fees that are clear, transparent and within their control, such as out-of-network ATM fees.
The card can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Bluebird members can also set up alerts and controls to manage their account and can avail benefits such as Purchase Protection, Roadside Assistance, Global Assist Services, fraud protection in the event the Card is lost or stolen, and 24×7 customer service.
In addition, Bluebird will be adding additional features, such as more options to deposit money and check-writing capabilities in the first quarter of 2013.
Walmart U.S. financial services vice president Daniel Eckert said, "Bluebird is our solution to help consumers who currently may be poorly served by traditional banking products."
Wal-Mart operates over 10,300 retail units under 69 different banners in 27 countries.