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American Express, Walmart unveil new prepaid access account Bluebird

Multinational financial services provider American Express and retailer Walmart have unveiled a new prepaid access account Bluebird, to assist users better manage and control their finances.

The newly debuted service has been designed as a substitute of the debit and checking accounts and offers capabilities such as deposits by smartphone and mobile bill pay, fee transparency, and no minimum balance, monthly, annual or overdraft fees.

Developed on the feedback of the account holders, the account service initially will be offered in more than 4,000 Walmart stores, the company said.

A study conducted by Bretton Woods, dictates that the consumers pay an average of $259 fee annually for checking their account, which is rising gradually due to higher minimum balance requirements and a growing list of fees added to these services.

Walmart US financial services vice president Daniel Eckert said Bluebird help consumers, who are currently poorly served by traditional banking products, to easily and safely move, manage, and spend their money.

Users of Bluebird can deposit money using payroll direct deposit, remote check capture through the Bluebird mobile app, using cash at any Walmart register, or by linking a checking, savings, or debit card to the account.

The fraud protected account, which is managed by American Express, issues new card in the event of loss of cards at no cost.

American Express, which has $153bn in total assets, provides payment, travel and expense management systems for individuals and businesses of all sizes.

Employing 2.2 million associates globally, Walmart manages fewer than 69 different banners in 27 geographies and during the fiscal year 2012, its sales touched approximately $444bn.