Good News/Bad News with Bluebird Checking and Debit Card

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Good News/Bad News with Bluebird Checking and Debit Card Listen to this article

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We’ve been doing a series of posts about the features and use-experience of Bluebird, a joint venture of American Express and Walmart. The financial tool describes itself as “Your Checking and Debit Alternative”. We were sponsored to write a series of posts about our experience and, at least at this point, we would describe it as “a mixed bag”.

Let’s first recap the steps we have taken with Bluebird thus far. I opened an account and then drove to my local Walmart. Once there I deposited $100 in my Bluebird account. It worked well and, within seconds, the money appeared in my account and on my iPhone app. I then turned my attention toward the second main way of adding cash- directly through a linked bank account. Based on my excellent experience with the cash deposit I expected things to work smoothly. It didn’t.

I linked my bank account to my Bluebird account and then… waited. It took two days for two small deposits from Bluebird to appear in my checking account. I “told” my Bluebird account the amounts and the two accounts were immediately linked. I transferred $100 from my checking account and waited for it to appear. Then I waited some more. And some more.

That’s where we left it off. Yesterday I flew to Las Vegas in preparation for CES 2013. That’s when I tried to use my Bluebird card for the first time.

I grabbed dinner and some drinks at a restaurant next to my hotel. The food was okay. The margarita was passable. When it came time to pay for dinner I pulled out my Bluebird card- a card that should have now had $200 available but warned the server, “I’m reviewing this card and this is the first time I’m using it. If the card is declined don’t be surprised. I’ve got the money to pay for my meal.” She laughed. So did I.

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She came back, smiled and told me that I would not have to wash dishes. The “charge” (debt actually) had gone through. She then told me about a promotion the restaurant group was offering. It sounded good and I gave her my card back for her to take $25 more from it.

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It even told me the remaining balance.

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That came in handy when I again used the card to pay for breakfast. That too went through without issue.

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And I have about $7.50 remaining in balance.

That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news- I have about $7.50 remaining on the card. Why is that bad news? Simply- I SHOULD have $107.50 remaining on the card since I added $200.

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Yes, the $100 I transferred from my VERIFIED bank-to-Bluebird account is still stuck in pending. I’m not sure what is up with this but I’m not going to call the company and complain. Instead we’ll wait and see how this plays out.

You can learn more here on the Bluebird website.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.