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January 7, 2013 • Gear Bits

A Quick Update on Our Experience Using Bluebird from American Express

Screen Shot 2013 01 07 at 7 44 48 AM

We are in the throes of CES madness and running from meeting to meeting but I did want to take a few minutes to post a quick update on my Bluebird experience. You might recall it started smoothly enough. I opened an account and deposited $100 in cash at my local Walmart. All went smoothly. When I went to link my bank account to my Bluebird account I ran into a hiccup and it took three days for the process to come to fruition and the accounts be linked. It was no deal for me but for someone who was planning on access to their money those three days could mean trouble.

Then things got even worse. I initiated a transfer of money from my bank to Bluebird and then waited… and waited… and waited. Yesterday I went to make a purchase using the card and found it was rejected. On closer examination I found that not only hadn’t the second $100 transferred but, as a result of the delay, my account was “overdrawn”. Again, this wasn’t a huge issue for me, after all this is a posting experiment not a financial system upon which I am going to depend. For someone who did need access to that $100 it would mean a huge issue.

This morning I awoke to an email notifying me that the second $100 had finally cleared and was in my account. (More accurately, $97 and change were available since $2+ dollars had gone toward the amount I had been previously “overdrawn”.) It is not a good situation and, again, for those needing that cash such a delay is unacceptable.

To make matters worse, as an experiment I transferred some money from my PayPal account to Judie’s. While I know PayPal is far from perfect it is worth noting that the transfer occurred in a matter of seconds.

Again, since we are at CES all week this is just a quick update that I thought was important for those following the series, and I will give a more thorough run-down of everything once I return and have full updates from Bluebird support.

You can learn more about the service here on the Bluebird website.

Bluebird from American Express has sponsored our documenting the experience of using their service.

2 Responses to " A Quick Update on Our Experience Using Bluebird from American Express "

  1. gorkon says:

    Hmm. Aren’t they marketing this at Walmart and towards people who may need something like this occasionally? (Those who don’t have a credit card….)

    • Exactly, Joel … And that is why this is especially disconcerting and why Dan has taken extra time to examine this concern. It really seems to me that Bluebird is looking to minimize risk and maximize profits (duh, business 101) but in doing so are losing focus of the needs of their key demographic.

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