Bluebird Prepaid Card Review

Profile photo of Ruth Sarreal
Written by Ruth Sarreal
Content Management Specialist
Profile photo of Yuliya Goldshteyn
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

The Bluebird card, offered by American Express, is an FDIC-insured prepaid debit card with virtually no fees. It functions almost like a checking account, making it a useful substitute for consumers who don’t have a bank account. And even if you have a bank account, Bluebird’s family-friendly money management tools may be appealing.

Best for:

  • Families that want kids to learn saving or budgeting in an account linked to parents'.

  • People who want a payment card that doesn’t let you go negative or charge overdraft fees.

  • Those who have had difficulty getting a bank account and want a low-fee alternative.

» See more options: Check our list of best prepaid debit cards

SoFi Bank, N.A. logo
Learn More

Member FDIC

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi Bank, N.A. logo


Min. balance for APY


EverBank logo
Learn More

Member FDIC

EverBank Performance℠ Savings

EverBank logo


Min. balance for APY


Barclays logo
Learn More

Member FDIC

Barclays Tiered Savings Account

Barclays logo


Min. balance for APY


Bluebird Card Pros

  • No monthly or purchase transaction fees.

  • Several free ways to add money to the card, including direct deposit, transfers from a linked debit card or external bank account, mobile check deposits and cash reloads at Walmart registers.

  • Extensive, free ATM network of over 30,000 MoneyPass ATMs.

  • Comes with perks and services uncommon to prepaid cards, such as low balance alerts and family subaccounts.

» Looking for a way to build credit instead? Learn about secured credit cards

Bluebird Card Cons

  • No cash back allowed at retailers.

  • Most methods of withdrawing cash involve fees, including $2.50 for non-MoneyPass ATM withdrawals.

  • Steep fee of 1% to 5% to have mobile checks cleared the same day; the free option takes 10 days to process.

» Ready to open a traditional savings option instead? See the best high-yield savings accounts

Frequently asked questions

There are no monthly or purchase transaction fees for the Bluebird debit card. There’s also no fee if you sign up for the card online; otherwise, you’ll pay $5 for the card if you get it at a store.

Here’s the Bluebird card pricing on some common prepaid debit card fees.

Adding funds

  • Cash reloads at Walmart: $0.

  • Cash reloads at other participating retailers: $0.

  • Direct deposit: $0.

  • Mobile check deposit (funds available within 10 days): $0.

  • Mobile check deposit (funds available immediately):1% or 5% of check (minimum $5 fee).

  • From a bank account: $0.

Spending funds

  • Purchases: $0.

  • Online bill pay: $0.

  • Bluebird2Walmart Money Transfer powered by Ria: $4 for transfers up to $50; $8 for transfers $50.01 - $1,000; $16 for transfers $1,000.01 - $2,500.

Getting cash

  • In-network ATM withdrawals: $0.

  • Out-of-network ATM withdrawals: $2.50.

  • Cash Pickup powered by Ria at Walmart: $3 per withdrawal for amounts up to $500; $6 per withdrawal for amounts of $500.01-$1,000; $9 per withdrawal for amounts of $1,000.01-$2,900.

Other fees

  • Sending and receiving money: $0.

  • Inactivity fee: $0.

You can have up to $100,000 across your Bluebird accounts.

You can add money to your Bluebird card in a few different ways:

  • Cash reloads at Walmart and other participating retailers

  • Direct deposit

  • Mobile check deposit

  • From a bank account

There are several ways you can check your Bluebird card balance:

  • Online at the Bluebird site or mobile app

  • By text

  • By calling customer service

  • By swiping your card at participating retailers’ registers

  • By checking your transaction receipts from participating retailers

Yes, you can transfer money from your Bluebird debit account to a linked checking or savings account by logging into your account online.

Overview of prepaid debit cards

What is a prepaid debit card?

A prepaid debit card is a type of payment card that only lets you spend the money you load onto the card. It doesn’t help you build credit. Like a debit card, a prepaid card works at any merchant that accepts its payment network, such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express. It’s safer and more convenient than using cash. Usually the prepaid card has a mobile app to deposit checks and transfer money. Learn more on our guide to prepaid debit cards.

Unlike checking accounts, prepaid debit cards may lack some services such as free ATM or branch networks or checks. If that doesn’t work for you, see our list of best checking accounts. Or, if you’ve struggled with banks before, check out second chance checking options.

Prepaid debit card vs. debit card vs. credit card

  • Prepaid debit cards — pay before: You load money onto the card via cash, checks, direct deposit or a bank account before paying for transactions.

  • Debit cards — pay now: You use money directly from a checking account when paying for purchases or withdrawing money from an ATM.

  • Credit cards — pay later: You borrow money from a bank when you use the card and pay the money back later.

How does FDIC insurance on prepaid cards work?

Prepaid debit cards nearly always have FDIC insurance, which keeps your funds protected in case the issuer goes bankrupt. Only financial institutions can have FDIC insurance, so a prepaid card is either managed by a bank or by a prepaid card company that partners with a bank to offer that insurance. You must register your prepaid debit card with your name and other identification information in order to be eligible for FDIC insurance and other protections.

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.