Bluebird Updates


I know, I know.  Enough about Bluebird already.  I’ll make this quick…


If you’re not already familiar with Bluebird, please see the following posts:

Bill Pay

One of Bluebird’s best features is it’s free bill pay service.  Log into your account, select “pay bills” and search for your biller.  If they’re there, the biller will be paid electronically.  If they aren’t in the list, you can add them manually and a check will be sent.  Here are a few things we’ve learned in the past week and a half:

  • You must enter the biller’s zip code, not your own.  If you put in the wrong zip code you may get an error message that makes it look like you put in the wrong account number.  Fix the zip code and you should be good to go.  If possible, put in the 9 digit zip code without any spaces or dashes.
  • Bill Pay works.  Many people (including myself) have had success with paying bills electronically and by check.

Direct Deposit

After November 4th, Bluebird ATM use will be free only if you establish direct deposit and use a MoneyPass ATM.  To get free ATM use, at least one direct deposit payment must have been made in the thirty(30) days before the ATM transaction.  Not everyone has an easy way to get employer direct deposits, so I tried two alternatives:

  • PayPal: Within my PayPal account I linked Bluebird as if it were a checking account.  In order to verify my account, PayPal made two small deposits.  In both cases, I received emails from with the subject heading “Direct Deposit Load Complete.”  This is very encouraging.  Theoretically I can now transfer a small amount of money each month from PayPal to Bluebird in order to keep MoneyPass ATM use free.
  • TopCashBack: If you have money due from TopCashBack, you can have it sent to you via PayPal or directly to your bank account via an ACH transfer.  I chose the latter and setup Bluebird as the target for the funds.  The funds were successfully deposited to my Bluebird account and just as with PayPal, I received an email acknowledgment from BlueBird with the heading “Direct Deposit Load Complete.”

After November 4th, it should be possible to test whether deposits like the ones mentioned above really result in free ATM use.

Note that some direct deposits are not allowed.  The following is taken directly from the Bluebird Member Agreement:

Payments by the U.S. government may not currently be direct deposited to your Account. This includes Federal wages, salaries and retirement benefits and Federal benefits such as Social Security, SSI, Civil Service Retirement, Veterans Affairs compensation and pension, Federal worker’s compensation, etc. If you try to set up direct deposit for these payments, we will be required to reject them, resulting in likely delay in your receipt of funds. (Payments by the U.S. Government in the form of paper checks may be added to an Account though the Member’s use of Bluebird’s Remote Check Capture service, as further described in Section 10.)

Debit Card Use

When I first talked with an American Express representative about Bluebird, he indicated that it would be possible to use Bluebird for PIN based debit transactions.  So far, I have not had success with this.  MasterCard and Visa cards have 16 digit account numbers whereas American Express cards have only 15 (maybe this is why Amex has an extra digit in the security code?  Amex wanted to catch up?).  In the few places I’ve tried to use Bluebird as a debit card, I was unsuccessful.  I suspect it is primarily because most places are hard coded to expect 16 digits.  Has anyone had success using Bluebird as a debit card?  Please let me know.

Slow Account Updates

A few people have reported an issue where credit transactions take several days to appear on your Bluebird online account.  This can make it very difficult to know how much money you really have available at any given time.    Has this happened to you?  Have you found a good work-around? 

More Places to Buy Vanilla

Office Depot continues to be the go-to place to buy Vanilla Reload cards for most of us, but for those who don’t live near a well stocked Office Depot, there are alternatives.  Several weeks ago, I personally succeeded at the third local Walgreens I tried (the first two wouldn’t take credit cards).  See a list of other stores that may carry Vanilla in this recent post by Million Mile Secrets.

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The Maxx

Is there a some way to take cash off American Express Gift card and put it back on a Bluebird?


Not directly. You would have to:
1. Use amex gc to buy Visa/MC gift card
2. Use Visa/MC gift card to load bluebird at Walmart


Grado: Yep, the question makes sense, but I don’t know of a good answer!


Hope that question makes sense


With so many chase and Amex accounts, each of which I have nicknamed on BB, when I go to “pay bills” it only lists the bank, I.e. Chase, not my nicknames. So I have to keep a list of which one down the line is the one I want to pay. Is there an easier way on the site? I could t find one.


jojonkaylie: Usually 3 to 5 business days. If it takes much longer, you should call Amex.


how long does it take to get money onto my bb from my bank account? tomorrow may the 15th will be almost a week i took the money out of my bank account and on to my bb card on may the 9th someone please help me out n tell me im new at this and first time user they said it shouldn’t take 5 buiss days

Bitcoin Price


Frequent Miler

Linda: If you log into your bluebird account and select “deposit money” then “setup employer direct deposit” then “open employer direct deposit form” you’ll see the routing number and account number.


How did you link your paypal account to your paypal account? I’m curious as to see how you found your routing number and your account number. Please help me.

Shawn Cox

For anyone looking at this that doesn’t have a bluebird card, DON’T GET IT. This card sucks.

For those having issues, PayPal now states that “This credit card has been denied by the bank that issued your credit card. For details on why your card was denied, please contact your credit card issuer’s customer service department. Or, you may want to try adding a different credit card.”

The “Bank account” information that we are given for direct deposit DOES NOT MEAN this is a bank account. It is for deposit purposes only and any attempt to take funds out of these numbers will be declined.

So, to sum up:
You can’t get funds from the government, you can’t use paypal, you can’t use this “bank account” information to make payments, your money isn’t FDIC (and I’ve heard of some people having money just “poof” and AmEx won’t fix it) so all in all, a terrible cut rate product you’d expect from Wal-mart.


This is really weird, noone is answering on their phone lines, walmart says that they should refund it they say walmart should refund it. Other times they just put me on hold and the phone disconnects.

Someone has got to know a process to follow to get a refund.


Chad: calendar month


MeClose: I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to help with that.


Confused: I don’t understand what you tried to do. Did you setup your taxes as a bill to pay within your account or did you give the state your bluebird account info for them to pull the money? If the latter, I don’t think it will work


Does anyone know how the “month” is calculated by Bluebird? ($5,000.00 deposit per month using Vanilla Reloads . . . Is that one month since the first deposit, or by calendar month, or . . . ?)


I cannot get a refund for my feeder packs which I purchased in December. There are no instructions on the back and ive called bluebird several times, what can I do, I have 250$ worth of the feeder packs and nowhere can I find anyone that knows how to get a refund. Please help.


This might be a bit of a dumb question, but here goes.

I set up my BB to DD my federal and state taxes before reading you can’t do that. On the website it just says federal income tax returns, not state. So, will my state return DD? I called the IRS and H&R block, but neither could change the DD account number.

Bobby J

Well it would be nice to know specific time tho also

Bobby J

The bluebird app says that my check will be available dec 31st. What time are the funds available. At all my banks (3 seperate banks) its 2am. Does anyone know? I just need to know if its BEFORE 9am or after (central time) for bank transfers to avoid overdraft.


kikk: Thanks for the info. I’m sure your employee will have the money revoked from at least one of his two accounts.


Irritated: I had a similiar problem. It was bc I marked savings on my dd form instead of checking. DD had to be voided and resent. And that really doesnt make sense. Did you employer send a verification deposit. Usually zero zero. Zero zero. If they didnt that could be why it did not show up.

Anyways my question to yall is…
One of my employees has a BB card, bc I suggested it… anyways. From what I understand, he used the check capture feature not realizing that he was going to have to wait the 3 to 4 business days so he then went to his bank on the 2nd day and cashed his paycheck. He came to me and told me bc he wasnt sure what would happen. Well. Needless to say he got paid twice (reimbursed me of course). Is it seriously THAT easy to do? Theres got to be some sort of safety measure on BOTH ends!


I purchased a BB card last month and planned on using it as a form of DD for my paycheck. I read on the website (FAQ section) that my first DD could take up to TWO pay-periods (a month) to show in my account! I called and spoke with customer service, who told me that it depended on whether or not my employer had verified my BB as a form of DD. My employer has verified my account but my check isn’t even pending (two days after the date that it should have deposited on). Anyone else have experience with this? Am I really going to be stuck waiting for a month for my paycheck?

I am thinking that BB was a BIG mistake!

Blue Skye

I have run into issues linking my bank acct. I followed the exact directions above, two small deposits were made into my BB acct, but when I went into my bank acct to verify these deposits, it is showing my BB “checking” acct as suspended. 0.o

I will be calling my bank to find out what is up with that, but I thought it was a bit odd.


How did you link your Bluebird card as a checking account? My paypal account wants a routing number in addition to the account number?

Does this method still seem to be valid for eliminating the ATM fee?


PS. As a Vanilla card datapoint – I was able to purchase several with a credit at a CVS. The manager stated that CVS is just getting these cards.


Susan: Log into your bluebird account and select “direct deposit”. The form for setting up direct deposit has the account number and routing number that you need for linking within PayPal. You can use those numbers to push money into bluebird, but not to take money out. If you want to take money out, then you have to do this from within and select “transfer money”. From there you can link to a checking account and push money out.

Blue Skye

Update: after several minutes on hold with my bank, it seems that they will not allow me to link my bank acct to my BB acct. Something about this BB bank being a non-profit acct. No idea what that is supposed to mean. Bottom line for me is I am not able to use my checking acct to transfer money into my BB acct. They also suggested I call BB to ask when this could be available. YMMV


Blue Skye: You might have more luck with PayPal or Amazon Payments. Personally, I use PayPal.


FM: thanks for the info. Do you mean that you can get $400 for each of two cards, totally $800. I will give it a try again next month.


Karen: Yes, you should be able to get $800 total


Apologies for the post, but does anyone know how many Bluebird cards a person can have (i.e. with one SSN)? I couldn’t find this answer on the website. For example, you can have 2 Target AMEX cards per SSN. Thanks!


Chris: Just one


FM: I went to costco again to withdraw cash from Amex for target today. I chose the check option this time and I was able to get money out. My problem yesterday is misunderstanding. I thought that I can get $400 per card, it is indeed $200 per card. It would be nice if ATM gave me a warning-:).


Karen: That’s interesting. My local Costco’s ATM allows $400 withdrawals. I guess they vary from place to place. That’s a bummer!


FM: thanks for response. I will give try it tomorrow.

Does Amex for target work the same? I tried by selecting both credit card and checking in Costco ATM, none seems work. I got a print out ‘unable to complete’ for both cases.


Karen: Yes, the Target Amex works the same. Do you have the permanent version of the card? It should work at Costco.


I was trying to withdraw from Moneypass ATM today. I was asked to choose checking, saving or credit. I chose credit card, then was asked to choose credit 1, credit card 2 or credit card 3. I have no idea what it is, so I cancelled. Anyone has the same experience? Thanks for your help in advance!


Karen: You should choose “checking” for using Bluebird (or any prepaid card) at an ATM

Blue Skye

wanted to post about my experience today in Auckland, getting cash out of an ATM.

it was so easy, and the exchange rate was exactly what was the current rate on i was very pleasantly surprised by this. my friend used a bank to convert US$$ into NZ $$, and her rate was higher. bottomline, the BB card is a great way to get local currency at a very fair rate, and potentially earn miles/points. IMO


Blue Skye: Thanks for the update. I just had a similar positive ATM experience with Bluebird in London.

Blue Skye

Actually I had a different experience at the Bank of NZ ATM. When I was presented with the three choices, checking, savings or credit card, I ended up having to select credit card to get any cash out. I did try the checking option, but it told me that option wasn’t available. Moment of panic at seeing that come up on screen, and thinking I wouldn’t be able to get cash. But as reported above, it worked smoothly in the end.


Blue Skye: I’m really surprised by that. I’m pretty sure the Bluebird FAQ says to select checking. Anyway, it’s great to hear that you found a way to get it to work!


Ali: Sorry, I don’t have experience with that, but I’d be interested to hear how it turns out.

hpewen: No, I don’t know when.


@FM: Any ideas when in the “next year” will paper checks be made available? Thanks!

Blue Skye

just a note on ATM use. not every ATM at Walmart is fee free. (it is possible that i have misread the terms, so bear with me)

i did a test withdrawal at my local Walmart ATM (even though i was hesitant b/c it wasn’t marked as MoneyPass). BB didn’t charge me but the ATM did. minor fee of $2.25 so not the worst experiment in the big scheme. 🙂

my personal big test will occur later this week when i try to get cash while traveling abroad. i will let you know how that goes.


I am new to Bluebird and just tried to use my Bluebird card at a local gas station that takes AmEx. I tried both credit and debit and neither were successful. Thank goodness i had cash on me! I have no problem withdrawing money at an ATM, but depositing money is only acceptes at Wal-Mart…which is kind of discouraging at times. I stilk have my credit union account, thank goodness.

Chris D.

Costco gas and BB tip: I used BB to buy gas at Costco for about $35. Checked BB transactions and my available balance dropped $150. Called BB and they said it takes about 48 hours for such transactions to clear with the correct amount. The 150 acts as a placeholder. Agent recommended that I use a station with a human cashier. Strange. So lesson is to keep you balance high enough to cover the temporary drop. This may also apply to other gas stations when you pay at the pump.


Hi FM, a personal experience and question about Bluebird bill pay. I linked my Bluebird account with my Discover card and initiated a payment in my Discover account. Everything looked normal except the transaction was never posted in my Bluebird account. This morning I received a notice from Discover that the payment was returned because the bank doesn’t accept the electronic payments. Is that because I didn’t make payment from my Bluebird account? But I have successfully linked my Bluebird to several other credit accounts and can receive direct deposits from these accounts. Has anybody experience this? Do you know if Bluebird will charge me returned payment fee? Thank you so much!


So my child support payments that i receive will get rejected?


I was unable to verify the bluebird account immediately at paypal. They tried to do it online but says that it will take 2-3 days. Did anyone else get this message? Guess I will wait to see if it goes through.


Kathy: Yes, the same happened to me. The good news is that with the 3 day verification PayPal makes two small deposits to your Bluebird account and these seem to qualify as direct deposits!

Chris D.

Ok – figured it out. Once signed in to the BB site you click on the sub account’s name and that brings up a bar where you can transfer funds into or out of the sub account. The funds come from the main account. You would think it would be self evident, but I found the following in the member agreement:

c. Features – 1

Adding Value.
A Sub-Account can be funded only by a transfer of funds by the Member from the Member’s Account to the Sub-Account (as authorized by the Member). All transactions made by the Sub-Account User, whether from the Sub-Account or a Sub-Account Card, must be funded from the Available Funds held in the Sub-Account, even if sufficient Available Funds are otherwise available in the Account. All funds in the Sub-Account are at all times owned by the Member. If a Sub-Account User attempts to conduct a transaction in an amount greater than (a) the Available Funds in the Sub-Account, or (b) in excess of the transaction limit set on the Sub-Account, the transaction will be denied, notwithstanding any available funds in the Account.


Chris D: I don’t know. I haven’t tried it

Chris D.

I have looked around the Bluebird site but cannot determine how sub-accounts are funded. Do they draw from the money in the main account according to their daily limit, or do you have to fun sub-accounts separately? Thanks.


Never mind! I already found the answer to my prevous question!

Any answers on whether non-Chase cards (e.g. Discover, Citi Thank you etc.) consider Vanila reloads as regular purchases?


Kris: yes, every card I’ve tried (including Citi) considers vanilla reload purchases regular purchases


How did you set up Bluebird as a checking account.

What did you give for the “Routing Number”?

Also would you know if Discover Card considers Vanila reloads as purchases?


Scott S

If your bank account allows free ACH transfers, then moving money from your bank account over to Bluebird (not using Bluebird’s “bank link”) counts as a direct deposit as well. I signed up using my USAA checking account to xfer money from USAA to Bluebird, and it put the small deposits into my Bluebird account. When it did that, I got an email saying I had a direct deposit come in! I haven’t tried withdrawing cash yet, but if Paypal or TCB worked, I can assume this works (and more convenient than PP or TCB) as well.

Blue Skye

Thanks for the reply, but I am still missing something. I think then I don’t understand why linking your PayPal to BB was beneficial. (aside from using the BB “checking” acct to pay bills via PayPal, which seems a bit redundant b/c you do that straight from BB)

Originally I was thinking that once the accts were linked, then I could, in theory, fund BB via PayPal using one of my linked credit cards, but I see that that was incorrect reasoning.

Eventually I am going to see if I can do an automatic deposit/transfer of $5/month from my regular banking acct into BB, just to have that pesky direct deposit covered. If I have missed something about doing this, please let me know.


Blue Skye: I think you have it right. I plan on using PayPal just to deposit $5 or so per month to BB to cover the direct deposit issue. I’ll have to do it manually


FYI: OD in Calumet City (Chicagoland) has removed their Gift cards rack over the weekend. They gave me no explanation but said it was the store’s decision.

Blue Skye

I have followed the instructions for the PayPal linking. I got the email, and the small “direct” deposits posted. So I am all set up. But now I am having a brain cramp trying to figure out how to set up PayPal to make a scheduled, once a month deposit to BlueBird. I am sure it is simple but it is not computing.

Thanks in advance.


Blue Skye: I don’t think there is a way to schedule recurring deposits from PayPal to Bluebird, but if there is I’d love to hear it!


That way only lets you transfer to a bank not PayPal.


David: That’s right, sorry for my confusion. I don’t think you can transfer to PayPal, just from PayPal.


Add money to PayPal from my BB account.


David: Within account, click on “accounts” and then “transfer money”


Has anyone figured out how to use PayPal add funds in the Pay Bills section PayPal doesn’t use an account number so can’t figure out how that works?


David: Can you explain what you’re trying to accomplish? I don’t understand.


FM: My county does allow credit card & debit card payments. They charge 2.5%, which is pretty steep at a $2800 payment. I have an Ink card and am trying to meet min spends on my Ink card & my united card. I can buy Vanilla Reload cards but my total payment has to be made all at once. I can’t break it up. Thanks for your help


kathy: In that case, yes, Bluebird would be best. You can load it up with up to $5K per month of Vanilla Reloads and then use the bill pay feature as needed. If you have any trouble using bill pay to pay your taxes, just transfer the appropriate amount of money out of bluebird to your regular checking account and pay from there.


Can someone help me with this? Which prepaid card do you recommend me to use to pay property taxes? It’s pretty steep at $2800 and must all be paid in one payment. I have the american express prepaid & the wells fargo prepaid. Should I get the Bluebird instead?


kathy: Please supply a bit more information: 1) does your county allow credit or debit payments; 2) are you able to buy Vanilla Reload cards at office depot?; 3) do you have an Ink card? 4) are you trying to meet min spend on any cards?


FM, I’d like to pay my property taxes with Amex BB. I could pay by e-check with no fees. I was wondering if I can just enter my BB routing and account number in the property taxes payment website? I would prefer to make payment thru vendor website (in this case property taxes) rather than thru BB website (which will be sending a check to the vendor). Thanks!


xina: It’s worth a try. I haven’t had a chance to try that myself yet. If you try it, please let us know if it works.


Went to my local OD this weekend which always has VRs. No VRs. Not even the placeholder signs were there anymore.
I asked the cashier and manager about it, and they didn’t even know what I was talking about. I don’t know whether anything should be read into this or not, but it was strange.


What the hell does referral type mean?


Beats the H _ _ _ outa me! I will try to find out.


Just went by an OD where I had purchased the vanilla reloads 2 days ago and the manager said the others they had were the “referral” type and would not work in their system. These werte the same cards that were left when I was there 2 days ago. He also said thaat they had expired …. and that they were referral cards. He called another store which had a few in stock and was told they were the “referral” type and had been pulled from the shelf and could not be sold. Deal could be done. MMS should be proud!


Which prepaid card do you recommend me to use to pay property taxes? It’s pretty steep at $2800 and must all be paid in one payment. I have the american express prepaid & the wells fargo prepaid. Should I get the Bluebird instead?

Steve K

Many thanks for the sage advice! I followed both your tips, and when I saw that another nearby Office Depot did indeed have a couple Reloadable Vanillas, I bought them. So I am getting the Bluebird willing to give up some financial info in exchange for lots of points. Again, many thanks!


Just found out that my previous posts were about the OLD bluebird accounts as they were preparing to transition everyone to the new ones. Sorry for the confusion.


When you buy Vanilla Visa reloads at grocery store, e.g. Walgreens what credit card should one use? Ink bold doesnt earn 5x…


It’s from this web address:

Which I’m not sure is really affiliated with AmEx or if it’s just a scam-site.


anyone know if this is for real? And if so, what does it mean for all of us going forward?

Important information for current Cardholders
Bluebird is changing. As part of these improvements, we are ending the current bluebird program and closing all accounts from that program on December 8th, 2012. We want to minimize any disruption this may cause to you and give you plenty of time before your current bluebird account is closed. So, you can continue to use your current bluebird Card and access your account here at until December 8th, 2012 or until you close your account.

A refund check will automatically be sent to you for the remaining balance on your current bluebird Card at the time the account is closed on December 8th or if you close your bluebird account before then. Prior to December 8th, you will also have the option to transfer your current bluebird Card balance to a new Bluebird Account.

If you have already purchased a bluebird Feeder Pack, please load it to your current bluebird Card before December 8th, 2012. Feeder Packs cannot be used to load funds into the new Bluebird Account. If you would like to receive a refund for the purchase of a bluebird Feeder Pack, just follow the directions on the back of the Feeder Pack package.


@Mary Kate: I have the same question. I requested BB to send a check to my landlord. The amount was deduced instantly and the status was ‘pending’. I guess the status will change when BB mails it and when my landlord cashes it. I hope there will be online check images available for us to see after the payee cashes it. But what if they never receive the check? For banks we routinely use, the funds are always available until the payee cashes them. BB seems not. If there is any update for your check to your kid’s school, could you please share with us? Thanks!


Could I make a suggestion?

1) Purchase under $4k with your INK bold card to fly under the radar.

2) If you are not purchasing with a card that does not get a bonus for spending at a office supply, grocery, or drug store… have met your maximum bonus spending.. or are trying to fly under the radar… Use Bigcrumbs to get American Express gift cards and get 1.4% back, then purchase Vanilla Reloads. You would be getting reward points with your credit card and then cash back in less than 60 days with the shopping portal.

I’m going to guess there is no problem using a Amex Gift card as payment?


I just got back from my local Office Depot tonight. The cashier rung up the Vanilla Reload card but had a manager verify the card and ID. He said that he didn’t think that transaction would go through but my ink bold went through fine at $485. I couldn’t find any vanilla reload packs at office depot but there were a couple of the temporary cards. It seems unlikely that the store will ever get anymore.


FM: Thanks for the clarification on getting an additional card. I thought I had read somewhere a couple weeks ago that each person would be allowed to have two of them. But my memory may be hazy. I did just load my first card today, and did a test purchase, a test ATM withdrawal, and a test bill pay Everything seems to be working fine so far. Thanks for sharing all the information!


Has anyone tried and had success with depositing a check via the mobile app? I have tried numerous times but my images keeps getting rejected. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Oriana: see my answer to Bret right above your question


Thank for a great post! I just called Blue Bird to ask how to transfer money from PayPal and they said that it’s not possible. Could you pls explain how you do it?


Hi FT I also live in Ann Arbor…are you willing to share which Walgreen’s you’ve had success with?


Mizliz: 2170 Washtenaw Avenue, Ypsi


Question about allowing mangers to come help the associate at OD. I went yesterday where I normally go and they were like we need to have manager come and call your credit card company to make sure it’s not stolen. I balked and left. What should I do in this situation. Let manager do it? Tell manager just to ask chase if its my card and not to tell them I’m purchasing vanilla cards? Any suggestions. Thanks


Thorg12: I’ve never had that happen to me, but lots of readers have allowed it and it worked out fine. Personally, yes, I would do it if it was required.


I got a bluebird card, and have set up my account. Question though, how do I purchase a second bluebird card? Do I need to set up a whole new account? I could not figure out how to add an additional one, while logged into my original bluebird account. I do see that some subaccounts are allowed, up to four, but I didn’t see how to do it with the same user login and everything.

Would you kindly explain how to order a second card?
Obviously, I would like to double all the limits.


pawtim: If you get a new card through a sub-account, that won’t change your limits at all. The only way (that I know of) to get higher limits is to get another person involved. For example, I ordered a Bluebird card for my wife.


@Lynn — Which MD locations have you tried? I’ve tried both locations in Silver Spring, as well as the store in DC, and have yet to ever see a VR card.

You’d think that if there were fraud, they’d be able to track down the numbers of the VR cards purchased fraudulently, then trace them to an Amex prepaid card to which the funds were transferred. But maybe the system does not have that level of sophistication.


Could you please walk us through how to link a PayPal account? Thanks


Bret: To setup PayPal direct deposit: Log into your account on and select “deposit money” and then “setup direct deposit”. That will take you to a form that shows your account number and routing number. Make a note of these. Then, log into your PayPal account and select “Profile… My Money… Update bank account”. Then click “Add Bank”. Put in the account number and routing number.

Frequent Miler

AndroAsc: I haven’t found any info anywhere indicating a minimum required amount for direct deposit. My theory is that any amount will work, but we’ll have to test that assumption!

Frequent Miler

Mikes: I tried to pay fed taxes online, but it wouldn’t take my card because it doesn’t have 16 digits like most debit cards
Scottman: some specific Office Depot stores have moved to a cash only policy, but it is definitely not a company wide policy. Similarly some stores have stopped carrying them altogether. Most stores, though, do carry them and do allow credit cards.
Steve K: to me, the benefit of the card far outweighs giving up some personal info. Don’t believe a single OD when checking stock in other stores. They don’t actually have any way of determining stock other than going to the rack and looking. It’s painful, but you really do need to go in person and look with your own eyes. If you don’t see any, ask the manager if they have any squirreled away in the back.
Tso: it may or may not have any effect, are you willing to chance it?


How much must the direct deposit be? Is there a min amount? Or can I just ACH into my Bluebird at $10/mth and it will be counted for the criteria of free ATM withdrawal?

Frequent Miler

gpapadop: sure, I’ll bring a picture of the check
Loreen: can you be more specific about what you’d like to know? Be sure to read my other posts linked at the top of this one
Mary Kate: maybe bluebird shows somewhere in the interface when checks are cashed? I don’t know


How is it a problem for paying taxes if the address is printed on the check? I am sure the IRS would still be able to process it.

Steve K

Please add this to the previous post: it was a salesperson at Office Depot that checked 10 miles around. (I left out the fact that I was at an Office Depot.)

Steve K

As exciting as the Bluebird phenomenon is, please note the following from their legal notices:

“If you are a new customer, we can begin sharing your personal information 30 days from the date we sent this notice. When you are no longer our customer, we continue to share your personal information as described in this notice.”

The second sentence leads me to believe that this may be an underhanded method of obtaining many good leads, and then harassing them by sharing, for instance, in “joint marketing with other financial companies.” And according to this legal information (available on the Bluebird Website when clicking on “Privacy notice,”), you can NOT opt out of this.

Here is the link:

Not to mention that (again from their page:)

The types of personal information we collect and share depend on the product or service you have with us. This information can include:

* Social Security number and income
* transaction history and account history
* insurance claim history and credit history

Unless there were a simple and reliable manner of loading up these cards with a credit card, it certainly would not be worth it to me to have american express do whatever they want with my key financial info. Even if there were a way, I am still not sure.

Where I am in a highly populated area of Florida, for instance, there are no Vanilla reloadables for miles around (a kind salesperson checked all stores within a 10 mile radius.) I was also informed that there was no date for restocking of this item.) No luck at CVS nor Walgreens, either, and going to Walmart to use a debit card is of no interest to me.

I really hope I have made some mistake in how I see this, because I too want to enjoy some Bluebird point-generating spending.

FM, you are the maximum authority on Bluebird among the bloggers, so if I may ask: what is your take on this?


Hey, FM-

Is all this OD cash only panic just a scare tactic by others trying to get people to stop this?


I’m only up to page 25 on the FT thread (sorry, got to work sometime!) so apologies if this is already covered: why not pay Fed Taxes using one of the online sites? It seems like paying an incremental $4 on $2000 or $3000 (or more) is a small price to pay for knowing the payment will credit.

I would personally be very leery of any method not giving iron clad confirmation because the IRS could come back to you months after next April after finally checking if your claimed payment was really there.

That said, I love to throw the IRS a few grand for “estimated taxes” for Q4 knowing it would come right back to me.


I just bought a vanilla reload card at my local OD with my Chase Ink card no more than an hour ago, so any reports of this thing’s death are exaggerated or fabricated.

Mary Kate

I had a check sent to my kids’ school to pay some annual fees. Nice way to get 5x points.

But now I’m wondering how I will know if they get it and cash it – and what if they don’t receive it? I mean, I know I can call the school and ask – but yikes. It has already been taken out of my BB balance.

Loreen Kahrer

Exceptional post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos!


>>>>>>>>>>>FT sometimes has folks trying to scare people away from deals, and posting fictitious or anomalistic information.


Boo to them anomalistic FT people!


>>>>>>>>>> The address is on the check (I have one that was sent to me) so maybe it’s not a good idea after all!

to Frequent Miler:

Hmm, WHERE on the check exactly is your address printed? Could you bring a copy of the check (of course delete any personal info!!) to our meeting Nov 10th? I was thinking about doing that for my estimated taxes…now not so sure.

Debit card question

What is the scope on getting BB to do debit purchases? Can someone find this out?


Anybody tried paying property taxes with BB? Is a paper check the only way to go here? If so, I will pass


I live in Maryland, just outside of DC. My local OD has pulled all VR cards because of fraud. I asked what kind of fraud and was told that people are buying them with fake credit cards. The cards are able to trick the swipers or their system so they go through, but they aren’t actually linked to an account. Then the purchaser transfer the VR to the AmEx, and OD is out the money. He told me they had been “hit hard.” Not sure what this means for the future. Whether they will just no longer carry them, or just require cash only. Sad day!

Chris M.

FM – Will you do a post in a month or two, after more experiences are gathered, regarding the maximum limits of this strategy, any adverse actions, and what the possible AA triggers are? I am taking it easy, until we have a better idea of the boundaries. I’ll let someone else test the limits of Ch@se and Am*x. I am asking this because I trust your judgment, and you present the facts clearly. FT sometimes has folks trying to scare people away from deals, and posting fictitious or anomalistic information.


Chris M: Yes, I will. Remind me if you don’t see one!

Grant Thomas

@FM, i tried a ACH transfer out of my AMEX prepaid reloadable cards a few months ago but it was rejected by AMEX, probably same thing here, but worth a try. Since my Bluebird card is linked to my Paypal account, I can try a $1 withdrawal from my BB to PP.


It looked that BB only allowed numeric values in the account # field when using the exisitng biller in Bill Pay. I got an error trying to save an account # with letters, which was what showed on my bill. But if I create a new one, I could type letters in the account # field. So I might just add a new one without using the on the list for the same vendor. The downside is that it will be sent by a paper check. Is that right?


Allen: That’s right.

Grant Thomas: Thanks. Let us know how it goes.


@FM, on taxes made out to IRS but sent to your address, hopefully your address is not put on the check at all for some reason. I sent a bill pay to a family member earlier this morning so I could see what is printed on the check, so I’ll report back unless someone else already has and I missed it.


Curtis: Good point! The address is on the check (I have one that was sent to me) so maybe it’s not a good idea after all!

Don T

Has anyone reported success adding funds to a BB card at Walmart with a credit card?


Don T: No, I haven’t heard of anyone succeeding with using credit cards at Walmart to fund BB


@MidTierStatus Thank you! Never even occurred to me! It’s in progress now, thanks to you.


Paid my mortgage yesterday with my BB. I used a combo of VR and a trasnfer of funds from my personal checking to my BB. Took four business days for the transfer (personal checking to BB) to show up on BB. I cut it really close and will give myself more time next month for the transfer.

John Hoe

Think the point at issue with transaction delay is related to CREDITS, not DEBITS. Personally, credits aren’t showing immediately in any balance. This is standard practice for certain sorts of credits. 😉


I have noticed that even though the transaction may not post it deducts it from the available balance.


@Mike – Go to setup direct deposit in bluebird and it will give the routing and account numbers.


FM: I used BB at costco once. I is slowly update the charge, but the balance is automatically deduct. If i have numerous transactions, I might be like what happened, where the money goes, but i think they take it out of balance right away but delay in reporting the transactions.


in my experience the other Amex prepaid cards (from Target or Serve) all experience the same transaction delay issue.

I see the balance immediately reflect the new charges, but the transactions take a couple of days to show up.

And I can confirm that using any of these cards for gas purchases puts a significant hold (I’ve seen at least $75 on my Serve) that lasts for a few days, so it’s something to keep an eye on.

Seth O

What I’m most curious about is whether Bluebird allows ACH withdrawals by external sources. For example, I can’t use bill pay for my rent because I have to use a special website and give them my bank account information.

Any ideas about this?


Seth O: Great question. I’m sure people have tried. Anyone have reports of whether they can do ACH withdrawals by external sources? I’ll try it myself soon.


@Jimmy – Interesting because Serve cards are not supposed to work.

Jack L

You describe it correctly, the balance updates immediately even if you can’t see the transaction online for 1-2 days. The only caveat I found is a gas station may “hold” more funds than your actual transaction until the transaction completes. So you might get $30 in gas but your available balance may dip by $75 until the transaction goes through in a day or two. At that point your available balance will go back up to reflect the true debit.


So me being a fed employee am prohibited from having my salary deposited into BlueBird?


Ok, HOW did you add Bluebird to your PayPal account. I love this idea but can not for the life of me figure out where you got the routing and account numbers… Thanks!

Jimmy @TravelByPoints

If you use the card for a credit transaction, while the transaction does not show up immediately, you available balance is shown correctly when you log into bb online. There are two line items – available vs. total. The difference between the items is how much your credit transaction was.

On a separate not, I tested BB for the Facebook link. Successful linkage, but did not get a confirmation for the purchase credit. Will report if the $25 credit appears or not.


Just wondering if you can use Bluebird to PAY your taxes. Here’s the idea – don’t have any federal or state taxes withheld from wages but, instead, pay them each month using Bluebird. Great churn opportunity IF it works. Anyone know if you can pay your federal income taxes, state income taxes, property taxes, etc. with it?


JettyBoy – At my location, I pick up ice creams, walk to the register, load with credit card, no questions asked. It helps to use the same cashier everytime if they are there, but there was no manager required to do anything. Seems like it’s all different everywhere.


FM Dont apologize for your posts. You are the Card King. Post em as you see it. Thats why people come to your site.


MileageUpdate: I appreciate it!

David: Once Amex makes paper checks available to us (sometime next year they say), paying taxes will be easier. For now, the only question is whether you feel OK with them sending a check on your behalf for your taxes without any accompanying documents. One reader had a good idea: have the check written to the IRS (or whoever you’re sending tax payments to), but have the check sent to your home care of you. Then send in the check from there.

Larry Ordway

Just bought 2 VRs from my local OD, no problem. I have been buying from there for months without issue.


Thank you for the update. Will try it out in a day or two.


Hi FM, Just reposting a comment that may have been buried in an earlier post.

I went to my local OD today (in Michigan) and there were a handful of VRs for sale. When I went to the register, the cashier refused to accept CCs for it, saying that they have a new policy of only accepting debit or cash. Have traditionally never had a problem at this location, so not sure if I got a rogue cashier (she did confirm with the asst manager) – in any case, time to check another location – hoping this is not a new systemwide policy.


JettyBoy: My local OD implemented that policy months ago, but I just ask for a manager override each time and they always grant it. Now they know me so it’s not needed. I don’t believe this to be a systemwide policy