In a move that will likely give its fledgling prepaid business a lift, American Express has begun testing the sale of some prepaid cards in Wal-Mart stores. An agreement with the retailer would give the business a large distribution channel, though it does put the card in competition with Wal-Mart’s own MoneyCard.
The New York-based lender is marketing the reloadable cards, which can be used wherever American Express is accepted, under the name “bluebird” in about 180 of the discount retailer’s stores on the West Coast, Laura Kelly, an executive helping spearhead the company’s push into prepaid cards, said in an interview Monday.
While the American Express card has some limitations, including not being able to accept direct deposits from government sources, to shoppers those differences may not mean as much a the fees on the two different cards. The value of having the card in Wal-Mart stores may be muted by competition between the two, if the companies do not distinguish them sufficiently in their marketing messages.
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