Looks like American Express is doing the debit card market right.
Amex’s “Bluebird” checking/debit card has topped the list in consumer reports lately and it’s pretty easy to see why. American Express is treating their debit customers the same as they treat some of their most exclusive credit card holders in regards to membership benefits.
American Express is opening up their network to their debit customers more than ever before.
Previously only provided to higher end credit cards, American Express now offers benefits such as:
1. Roadside Assistance – anyone’s who’s ever been stuck with a flat, locked their keys in their car, or encountered a dead battery knows the distinct benefit this one yields.
2. Entertainment Access – slightly more luxurious of a benefit than number 1, but nonetheless a benefit that hasn’t previously been extended to the prepaid segment before. “Entertainment Access” provides special deals on local sporting events, concerts and theater showings. It ain’t always easy getting tickets to the hottest game or concert in town, but Amex leverages their network to help cardholders get access to these tickets (and with good pricing!). When people think of American Express they think of luxury and exclusivity, it’s nice to see them not stick their nose up to the prepaid market and offer them the same advantages.
3. Global Assist – when you’re out of the state or even out of the country, Amex will have your back if you’re a Bluebird cardholder. That’s good to know if you’re a regular traveler and, again, not normally extended to the prepaid segment. Just know that this member benefit comes free of charge but if they connect you with third party companies at your destination any fees encountered will be chargeable.
Along with the membership benefits, Bluebird has also been killing it with consumer report cards due to their extremely low fee structure and their wide availability.
After receiving such high marks for their fee structure we actually dug into the fine print of their fees a little further to show exactly where and how they may be incurred.
Here’s what we found:
There are two ways in which you may incur a fee with the American Express Bluebird debit card.
1. When you load the card. Unfortunately this is how most of these debit offers make any money for the bank. With the Bluebird card you’ll incur a $2 fee every time you add money online and you can only add up to $100 online per day. This is essentially a 2 percent processing fee every time you throw $100 onto the account using your computer, however you can still stop by any Walmart store and load for free. Most other reload forms except for reload packs are also going to be free of charge.
2. When using foreign ATM’s. Be sure to comb through American Express’s network of ATM’s before you nab this card just to be sure there are plenty close by. Every time you use an ATM outside of their network another $2 fee will be imposed.
Got any experience with the Bluebird debit card from Amex? Let us know about it!