American Express Expanding and Fine Tuning its Prepaid Portfolio

by Ben Jackson 0

American Express made a big splash in the prepaid space when it launched its Bluebird general purpose reloadable prepaid card in 2012. Since then, it has been working to expand its prepaid portfolio and announced this week that it has gotten into the tax refund card business. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service announced this week that is it adding American Express Serve cards as an option for customers to receive their tax refunds.

As another element of the collaboration, for clients with a minimum tax preparation fee of $150, Jackson Hewitt will offer $50 on an American Express Serve Card the same day they file their taxes with Jackson Hewitt.

(Read the press release here)

The company is also fine tuning its current products. In an e-mail dated January 6 to Bluebird prepaid card holders American Express said that customers would no longer be able to use their Bluebird Cards at ATMs outside of the United States as of January 6. The agreement specifies where the cards can be used:

Subject to the amount of Available Funds in your Bluebird Account or Family Account (and, in the case of a Family Account Card, unless the Member blocks the Family Account Card’s cash access or other relevant features or we impose other limitations on the use of the Family Account), you may use your Bluebird Card or Family Account Card at ATMs that permit American Express transactions within the United States and Puerto Rico, including at MoneyPassTM Network ATMs (go to www.moneypass.com (http://www.moneypass.com) for a MoneyPassTM ATM Locator). The Member and linked Family Account Users may, in the aggregate, withdraw up to $750 per day, subject to the Spend Money limits set forth in Section 18.b. If the ATM asks you what kind of account Bluebird is (e.g., checking or savings), select “checking.” Even though Bluebird is not a checking account, this will ensure that your ATM transaction is processed correctly. Acceptance within ATM networks may change at any time.

The card can still be used for International purchase transactions. An American Express spokeswoman said that the company decided to do this because it did not see demand among its cardholders for international ATM withdrawals.

These moves follow on an earlier change in December, when American Express expanded its free cash reload network for its Serve cards to include Dollar General and Rite Aid stores. Cardholders can also reload their cards at CVS/pharmacy, Family Dollar, Walmart, and participating 7-Eleven stores.

(Read the press release here🙂

Overview by Ben Jackson, Director, Prepaid Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group