There's lots of news coverage today that Wal-Mart is partnering with American Express to offer prepaid debit cards in their stores. Wal-Mart previously offered Wal-Mart branded Visas via a partnership with Green Dot. American Express is accepted less widely than Visa, so it seems likely that Wal-Mart will want to continue offering a Visa or Mastercard either with Green Dot or someone else. On the other hand...since Wal-Mart accepts American Express they might see this as a feature: it means people will choose them if another merchant doesn't accept AmEx.
Press covreage of prepaid expansion by Amex
- Forbes.com: Red Light For Green Dot Investors On Wal-Mart, Amex Threat
- AP: News Summary: Wal-Mart, Amex expand prepaid card
- LA Times: Wal-Mart, American Express team up to offer prepaid card
- Retuers: Wal-Mart, Amex take on banks with low-priced debit card
Amex/Walmart deal affects GreenDot shares
In trading on Monday, shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) and American Express (AXP) were largely unchaged while Green Dot was down about 20%. Investors have been watching closely to see whether Wal-Mart will renew their current agreement with Green Dot which is set to expire at the end of 2012.
Fees for the Bluebird debit card
According to a reuters article:
Cash withdrawals from the 22,000 ATMs in the MoneyPass network carry no fees or surcharges for customers enrolled in direct deposit. For those without direct deposit, withdrawals are $2. For out-of-network ATMs, each withdrawal is $2 and additional operator fees may apply.