Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card
Bluebird, offered by American Express, is a 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. Even if you have a bank account, Bluebird’s family-friendly money management tools may be appealing.
Bluebird card: The bottom line
- No monthly or purchase transaction fees, and several free ways to add money to the card.
- Extensive, free ATM network.
- Comes with valuable perks and services, such as spending alerts and family subaccounts, from American Express.
» Get details on prepaid debit card fees, limits and more
Here are more details about Bluebird’s fees and services.
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If you’re careful, you can use Bluebird without paying any fees. There are ways to load, spend and withdraw cash for free. You can also open an account online or via a mobile device, write preauthorized checks, make bill payments, manage accounts and more. But unless you use an in-network ATM, you’ll pay to withdraw cash.
Purchases and withdrawals
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Some prepaid debit cards charge you to spend your own money, but not Bluebird. Keep in mind that you’ll be charged for withdrawing cash anywhere but a MoneyPass ATM, and you can’t get cash back with purchases. You can withdraw up to $750 per day from ATMs. For larger sums, you can withdraw up to $2,900 in cash at a Walmart, for a $3 to $9 fee.
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Most methods of adding cash to your Bluebird card are free. At a Walmart register, you can add up to $1,999 per day for free, and the money will be available immediately. You can also load checks worth up to $2,500 on the card via the Bluebird mobile app. There is no fee, but checks take 10 business days to clear unless you pay for same-day service.
» Want more options? Check out our list of the best prepaid debit cards
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Bluebird can be a helpful tool for parents teaching kids about budgeting. The primary member can open and fund up to four sub-accounts, each with its own card and spending limits. If you’re interested in saving, Bluebird also lets you set money aside in separate accounts, which are FDIC-insured like the card balance. Just add the money back to your card if you want to spend it.
» Looking for a separate savings account? See our picks
Many free services, some limits
Bluebird is not a bank account, but it can function as a reasonable, low-priced substitute. To get the card, register for a Bluebird account online, download the free app at an app store, or buy a $5 starter kit with a temporary card at a Walmart store. (Keep in mind that funds on the temporary card aren’t insured by the FDIC.) The main thing to check is if most merchants you shop at accept American Express.
» Research more before you leap: Here are some other economical prepaid card options.
NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each category: general account fees, transactions and funds access, reloads and other services. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include fees, ATM access, reload options, breadth of merchant acceptance, account features and limits, user-facing tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to prepaid debit card ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.