Walmart and American Express jointly announced the launch of the Bluebird prepaid card, disproving rumors that the planned card had been scuttled.
The discount retail giant had previously been testing the card in a pilot program launched in late 2011. In July of this year, an analyst's report indicated that the cards were being pulled from Walmart's shelves, possibly due to poor demand.
Walmart and Amex said Monday the Bluebird card will be available at all of Walmart’s 4,000 stores nationwide.
“Bluebird was shaped by feedback from consumers who said they were not getting the value they expect from traditional checking account and debit services because of increasingly higher fees,” the companies said in a press release.
The card comes with almost no fees. The only costs to consumers come from adding cash to the account from a debit card, or from withdrawals and declines at out-of-network ATMs and other places. Both fees are $2.
Users will be able to deposit cash with payroll direct deposit, remote check capture through a smartphone app, using cash at any Walmart register, or by linking a checking, savings or debit card to the account, according to the release.
Last week, Walmart announced that it was allowing its customers to add cash to prepaid cards from multiple networks at its cash registers. Previously, users had to visit specialized areas of the store called Wal-Mart Money Centers to load cash onto cards.
Now, prepaid card users can put cash into cards backed by Green Dot, InComm's Vanilla Reload Network and First Data's Money Network.
The Bluebird card is built on top of the Amex’s digital wallet platform, Serve.
In February, Amex’s group president of enterprise growth Dan Schulman said Amex would soon be placing all of its prepaid products on the Serve platform.
"We will turn our platform from a digital payments platform to a digital payments and commerce platform," he said at the Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Cards, Payments and Financial Technology Symposium in New York.
Early next year, Bluebird customers will get access to additional features, such as more options to deposit cash and the ability to write checks.