Walmart and American Express have teamed up to provide a debit card program for Walmart shoppers. The card will be called bluebird, as in “bluebird of happiness.”
Their targeted market is poor people who do not have bank accounts. No one in the banking industry wants them. So, Walmart spotted an opportunity.
A poor person can deposit money in his account at a Walmart store. No other retail store offers this service yet. So, if a poor person wants the convenience of a plastic card, he can get it. He need not carry currency.
He will go to Walmart to deposit money. He will also spend some cash there. Count on it. Walmart surely is.
It’s also a smart move for American Express. AmEx credit cards are not used much. They charge high transaction rates to retailers, so stores accept MasterCard and Visa instead. AmEx has been out of the money for decades.
This way, AmEx will finally get an entry point to the bottom of the market. It has always catered to the top. This is a major repositioning for Amex. But Walmart’s name will be on the card. It won’t dilute the AmEx brand.
This is free market competition at work. The beneficiary is the customer. A family that could not get a bank account can now get one. This card will not encourage debt. It will encourage thrift. Users will learn about bank statements. They will be able to follow the money.
I will be watching for in-store advertising of this product. I want to see how Walmart lets customers know about the opportunity.
It will be interesting to see if this project is profitable for both companies. I think it will be.
Say what you will about Walmart, but this much is true: if people want it, Walmart will provide it. A few years ago, they wanted to start their own bank. Pretty smart move, because they would have given some much needed competition into the field.
Where ever American Excuse is involved be wary. Most places won't even accept it anymore cause of the high rates they charge retailers. I cannot help but wonder what the real deal is here. Think about it. A high income only need to apply credit card expensive to retailers is now partnering with WalMart that caters to the masses? Hmmmmm….what is really going on here?
I have lived in Central and Eastern Europe for many years now. I have not seen ONE SINGLE restaurant, hotel, etc even advertise AmEx yet alone take it. Most merchants look at you as if you are from a different planet. Whip out VISA/MasterCard and the merchants love you. Perhaps there is a lesson here for both AmEx and Walmart/SAM's
Most places don't take AmEx, but I think that's the point. It ensures that those using the card will shop at Walmart. Costco did a similar thing with AmEx. That's the only credit card they do accept.
BANKS ARE GETTING JUST AS BAD, IF YOU DON'T CARRY QUITE A LARGE BALANCE IN YOUR CHECKING AND SAVINGS, THEY REALLY DING YOU FOR SERVICE CHARGES, MY GRANDAUGHTER SAYS WELLS FARGO WILL CHARGE HER $12 A MONTH, OF COURSE SHE IS JUST STARTING OUT AND DOESN'T MAKE MUCH MONEY!!
Nobody in the banking system wants them so why bust WMT's balls for offering a service to them?
What I got out of the article was capitalism at work. I did not see anyone twisting anyone horns over anything in this article. I thought it was a positive article. I think it is an all around win for all, AmEx, Wal Mart, and consumers.
If WM and AMEX don't find a way to "fee" people to death, this sounds like a great idea. With the debit card, the customer will have instant access to whatever money is in the account, so it's functioning like a bank account for people who, for whatever reason, haven't had one or can't get one. Can they do bill-paying online as well? If so, who needs checks?