Bluebird is a financial service brand which offers prepaid cards to its subscribers. Once the customers load their cards, the funds are transferred to designated custodian accounts. These custodial accounts keep the funds on behalf of Bluebird and avail them whenever they are needed by the customers. Currently, Bluebird places customer funds in American Express National Bank which is insured by FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).
Since Bluebird is not a bank per se, the insurance offered by FDIC does not protect the consumers against the insolvency of Bluebird company. The FDIC arrangement exists to protect funds placed by Bluebird in one of the custodial accounts from being lost in an event the bank keeping such funds ceases to operate either due to bankruptcy or other legal and economic reasons.
For purposes of delivering its services to its customer base, Bluebird has collaborated with other known brands in the US. These brands include Ria Financial Services, American Express, and Ingo money service. The collaboration of American Express with Bluebird makes it possible for its cardholders to pay bills and do shopping in all shopping and bill payment facilities where the American Express cards are accepted. The customers can also access their cash from either the MoneyPass ATMs (free service) or from the Walmart stores. The Walmart store money pickup service is offered by Ria in collaboration with Bluebird.
To increase the card uptake, Bluebird scraped all the setup fee required to acquire the Bluebird card. Thus, there are no card activation fees, neither are there monthly or annual fees. The price of the card is also free as long as the customers acquire the card online. However, acquiring the card offline through the designated retail locations will cost a user some fee.
- Direct Deposit: The direct deposit feature in Bluebird enables the card subscribers to load their cards directly from designated facilities. The card holders can add money for free at Walmart facilities using their credit card, a debit card or paying cash money. There is also an online option where users can load their cards by logging into their online accounts at Bluebird and using their debit cards to load the cards. These direct deposit services are free but the funds take up to 10 days to reflect. However, those who would like the funds added to reflect immediately pay a certain percentage of the amount loaded. For checks, the users are charged 5% if they want the money to reflect immediately. Those who would want to load their cash from other non-designated retail locations are also charged a fee in proportion to the amount loaded.
- ATM Access: Bluebird offers various ATM services which the cardholders can use to withdraw the funds. The cardholders can withdraw their money from MoneyPass ATMs for free or choose other service providers which charge some fee for these services. Cash pickup which is delivered by Ria can as well be done at Ria cash pick up stations. These stations charge some fee in proportion to the withdrawal amount.
- Mobile Check Capture: Bluebird has an app which enables its users to scan a check. A successful check scan will add the check amount to the user’s Bluebird account. This feature is delivered by the Ingo Money, a renowned brand in the financial service sector. After the check scan, the amount usually reflects on the customer’s account in 10 days. There is also an option for users to request an immediate processing of the check amount. However, this option is not free but comes with certain charges.
- Member Benefits: Bluebird provides its members with several benefits. The cardholders enjoy purchase protection where users can launch a refund claim within 90 days from the time of purchase when the purchased product does not meet the claimed standards. Another benefit which comes with this card is fraud protection. This benefit safeguards the cardholders against loss of cards and purchases made from fraudulent merchants. Since the card is offered in collaboration with the American Express brand, customers are able to enjoy most of the services delivered by the American Express brand.
- Family Accounts: To be eligible to hold a card one is required to at least have reached an age of 18 years, provide government ID, and social security details. After this, the cardholder can decide to create accounts linked to his/her family members. As long as the family member has reached an age of 13 years, they are eligible to benefit from the family accounts. The principal cardholder will also be able to limit the maximum expenditure for the various cards linked to the principal account. This is an effective method for training children on responsible spending.
- Convenient — Since the Bluebird card is issued in collaboration with American Express Brand, users get to enjoy the convenience of using their card in all places where the American Express cards are accepted.
- A wide array of free services — Bluebird has several free services such as free card activation, free withdraws at designated ATM points, and free card top up.
- Flexible — Bluebird offers flexible methods through which its cardholders can load and spend their money. The users can use land-based retail services to load and withdraws their money, use the bluebird.com mobile app or even transact businesses online.
- Amex offers and benefits — This is a program incorporated into Bluebird's system to deliver discounts and offers to selected brands.
- Roadside hotline services — Bluebird cardholders can seek support and clarifications by calling hotline numbers where they get connected to third-party service providers who are affiliated with Bluebird's website.
- There are fees charged to withdraw money in most retail and ATM points.
- There are fees associated with money transfers.
- Bluebird does not offer a money back guarantee when one is making deposits. The options available after making a card reload are ATMs and retail facilities which charge a fee in proportion to the amount withdrawn.
Bluebird has some of the excellent financial services. Though there are fees charged for various transactions to take place, Bluebird offers some free services to its clientele. If users are careful, they can reap many benefits from the free services and save considerably on card-related transactions.