The agreement will operate through a unique prepaid card.
American Express Co. and Walmart Stores Inc. have announced a new partnership that they hope will provide customers with appealing new options for making mobile payments at the retailer’s stores.
This prepaid Bluebird card is designed to appeal to consumers without traditional bank accounts.
The Bluebird card functions by allowing deposits to be made through smartphone and mobile bill paying, without any annual, monthly, or overdraft fees, nor any required minimum balance. They hope that this will broaden the mobile payments market.
It will provide a service to a demographic that is underserved by traditional banking options.
According to American Express’s Dan Schulman, “Bluebird is our solution to help consumers who currently may be poorly served by traditional banking products.” He went on to say that “In an era where it is increasingly ‘expensive to be poor,’ we have worked with Walmart to create a financial services product that rights many of the wrongs that plague the market today.”
Lower income shoppers will be able to use mobile payments for additional options at Walmart.
This allows the largest retailer in the world to expand its long running efforts to help shoppers to be better served, despite the fact that they have little or no access to credit cards. Beyond this new mobile payments option, the retailer already provides low rate check cashing services, as well as additional options that they feel will appeal to shoppers who do not have bank accounts.
According to Walmart, the Bluebird card will become available online next week, as well as in over 4,000 American locations of the store. The program has been in the testing process by American Express since late in 2011.
From the point that the mobile payments service becomes available, users will be able to add money to the card by way of remote check capture with a mobile app, by payroll direct deposit, or with cash at one of the store’s cash registers. It can also be linked to a bank account, if that is the customer’s preference. No surcharges or fees will be applied to customers enrolled in direct deposit when they make cash withdrawals from Amex ATM machines.