Amex, Walmart join forces to provide pre-paid card

Amex, Walmart join forces to provide pre-paid card

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ATLANTA -

Walmart and American Express are coming together to provide a pre-paid card. The card, called Bluebird, offers many options that a regular checking account does.

Pre-paid cards appear to be making a comeback.  The cards have long been the black sheep of the industry because they were used by people with little or no credit, and by people who couldn't get a checking account.  

But this is what has changed. American Express and Walmart claim that Americans pay a lot money to maintain their checking accounts, and customers are fed up.

The new Bluebird card only has the money on it that you put on there, much like a regular checking account, but it will have very few fees. Now, you'll also be able to have your paycheck deposited to it; you can pay bills with a phone app; you can use the Bluebird card at an ATM. This is where you may have to pay a $2 out of network fee.

According to the non-profit credit counseling center CredAbility, people with great credit now use cards just like this to stay on budget.  

"Some people like to use them to budget with. So, for the week I can spend $75 and I put that on my pre-paid card, and I don't care any cash with me or credit cards, and that's how I discipline myself," said John McCosh of Credibility.

A pre-paid card does not help repair bad credit the way a checking account would. The Bluebird card will be available next week in Walmart stores and online.

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