For days, speculation has loomed about what the forthcoming partnership between American Express and Walmart would mean. Now we know. On Monday, Walmart and American Express confirmed the launch of Bluebird – an alternative to debit and checking accounts designed to help consumers “better manage and control their everyday finances.”
According to Walmart and American Express, Bluebird has been developed for the tens of millions of Americans who are looking for advanced capabilities such as deposits by smartphone and mobile bill pay.
Bluebird will be available next week online at bluebird.com and in more than 4,000 Walmart stores.
Building on a pilot program launched in late 2011, 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.
“Our customers tell us that they’re tired of navigating a complex maze of dos and don’ts to avoid the ever growing list of fees found on checking products. Bluebird solves this problem and we believe it’s the best product on the market to help customers affordably manage their everyday finances,” said Daniel Eckert, vice president of financial services for Walmart. “At Walmart, we are always looking for ways to make a difference by using the strengths that come with our size, scale and reach to take on the challenges that matter most to our customers. Reducing the costs and frustration that come with high fees is one of these issues.”
Based on data presented by Walmart, consumers now pay an average of $259 per year for a basic checking account and that cost is rising due to higher minimum balance requirements and a growing list of fees being added to these services.
So are you excited about American Express and Walmart teaming up? Please weigh in with a thought or comment below.