American Express and Walmart Announce the Addition of FDIC Insurance and Worry-Free Check Writing to Bluebird®

Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:00am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

New capabilities help government employees and other customers better manage
their money
NEW YORK--(Business Wire)--
American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) today announced expanded
security and funding capabilities to Bluebird, a debit and checking alternative
that provides Americans with a better way to manage and control their everyday

Bluebird Accountsi will now be eligible for FDIC insurance, providing an extra
layer of security. As a result, permanent Bluebird Accounts will now have the
ability to receive direct deposit of government payments, such as social
security payments, military pay, and tax refunds. Customers can also balance
their Bluebird checkbook in real-time with pre-authorized check writing, add
checks to their Bluebird Account by mail and add funds up to $100,000 annually. 

"When we launched Bluebird last October, we were focused on serving the tens of
millions of Americans who are not well served by the traditional financial
services industry. The unbanked, underbanked, and the unhappily banked are beset
by onerous fees and numerous inconveniences," said Dan Schulman, group
president, Enterprise Growth at American Express. "Bluebird is designed to help
make their everyday financial lives easier, more convenient and less expensive.
Today`s announcement, which reflects feedback from consumers, advocacy groups
and government officials, represents the next set of enhancements that further
distinguish Bluebird from other financial services options." 

"Since launching Bluebird, we have been listening to our customers` feedback and
working hard to expand its features and services," said Daniel Eckert, vice
president of financial services for Walmart U.S. "Bluebird is helping customers
streamline everyday money management without the frustration of navigating
complicated dos and don`ts just to avoid fees. The enhancements we`re announcing
today make Bluebird a great option for our active duty military personnel,
government employees and other customers helping them take greater control of
their everyday finances." 

Bluebird`s new capabilities, built on American Express` Serve platform, are in
addition to existing premium features such as the ability to add checks via
smartphones, family sub-accounts and no fee access to cash at 22,000 ATMs for
Bluebird members who have enrolled in direct deposit. Bluebird also comes with
additional benefits such as access to Purchase Protectionii which can provide
coverage for accidental damage or theft to eligible purchases within 90 days of
purchase, award winning 24/7 customer service and the ability to be used
virtually anywhere American Express Cards are accepted worldwide. 

More Reasons to Choose Bluebird

FDIC Insurance Coverage: Funds in all permanent Bluebird Accounts will now be
eligible for FDIC insurance, which allows members to arrange for direct deposit
of U.S. government payments. Temporary account funds will not be FDIC insured.
Other restrictions may apply. For more information see 

"No Overdraft" Check Writing: Starting today, Bluebird Members will have the
ability to order Bluebird checks that they can use to pay bills and make
purchases without worrying about insufficient funds or incurring overdraft fees
because a Member`s funds are set aside during the pre-authorization process. 

To preauthorize a Bluebird check, a customer will follow just two easy steps:

        Obtain a unique authorization code online or through the Bluebird 
        mobile app. Note: once a Bluebird check is pre-authorized, the funds 
        associated with that check are immediately deducted from the 
        customer’s balance, and are held until the check is presented for 
        Write the authorization code on the check and give to the payee. This 
        ensures for the customer that sufficient funds are available to cover 
        the Bluebird check being written. The payee can confirm that 
        sufficient funds are available by calling American Express.

Bluebird Members have access to one free checkbook until August 2013.
Thereafter, Bluebird Members enrolled in direct deposit can receive their first
checkbook of 50 checks at no charge, otherwise direct deposit and non-direct
deposit users can order a book of 50 checks for $26 (including shipping). 

Add More and From Home: In response to customer demand, the total Bluebird
Account balance limit has increased to $100,000 per calendar year to allow
Members to add more of their paychecks and large value checks. Additionally,
Bluebird Members will now be able to add personal and government checks to their
Bluebird accounts by mailing the check to American Express. Once the check has
been successfully processed, the funds will be added directly to the Member`s
Bluebird Account. There are no fees associated with this new capability. 

Bluebird is available online at and at more than 4,000 Walmart

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access
to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business
success. Bluebird is a prepaid access account issued by American Express Travel
Related Services Company, Inc. Learn more at and connect
with us on,,,, and 

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit
cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business
travel, and corporate card. 

About Walmart

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and
live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their
mobile devices. Each week, more than 200 million customers and members visit our
more than 10,700 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites
in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2013 sales of approximately $466 billion,
Walmart employs more than 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to
be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment
opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting, on Facebook at and on
Twitter at Online merchandise sales are
available at and 

i All of the new features announced today, including FDIC insurance, will be
available to a Bluebird member who registers with American Express for a
permanent account. These new features are not available with the temporary
Bluebird card sold at Walmart retail locations. 

ii Purchase Protection is underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company, Administrative
Office, Phoenix, AZ. Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and
exclusions of Policy AX0951 or Policy PP-IND and is subject to change with
notice. This document does not supplement or replace the Policy.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

American Express Media Relations:
Vanessa McCutchen, 212-640-5445
Walmart Media Relations:

Copyright Business Wire 2013