American Express and Walmart have announced that, beginning next week, they will jointly offer Bluebird, a banking service that promises rich features for no monthly fees, no minimum balance and no overdraft fees.
The collaborators said in a statement that the product – which will be available at some 4,000 Walmart stores and also online – is aimed at “tens of millions of consumers” who want advanced banking services but do not want to pay high fees.
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“Our customers tell us that they’re tired of navigating a complex maze of do’s and don’ts to avoid the ever growing list of fees found on checking products. Bluebird solves this problem,” said Daniel Eckert, vice president of financial services for Walmart U.S., in a prepared statement.
Dan Schulman, a group president at American Express, added in the same statement, “The financial services landscape is changing. Technological advances, regulatory changes, and evolving consumer needs are redefining payments ranging from prepaid, to checking and debit. Bluebird is our solution to help consumers who currently may be poorly served by traditional banking products. It allows them to easily and safely move, manage, and spend their money. In an era where it is increasingly ‘expensive to be poor,’ we have worked with Walmart to create a financial services product that rights many of the wrongs that plague the market today.”
Analysts responded favorably to the product news, with many saying that it will well fit the core Walmart customer basis.
Built into Bluebird will be sophisticated mobile banking functions including mobile remote deposit capture. The app will also function as a digital wallet, said the collaborators, and will include person-to-person payment capabilities.
One of the few fees itemized in a lengthy chart that listed functions that can be performed in Bluebird is a $2 charge for out-of-network ATM withdrawals for consumers not enrolled in direct deposit, plus whatever fees that ATM owner may impose.
More than 22,000 MoneyPass ATMs will be available at no charge to Bluebird customers, the companies said.