While we’ve survived the back-to-school pandemonium, fall can still be quite a hectic time. With that in mind, you’d probably appreciate learning ways to make life a little less complicated and stressful. Fortunately, Wal-Mart’s rolling out a new service next week that will make grocery shopping a whole lot easier.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced its partnership with American Express Co. to provide customers, especially folks who don’t have a regular bank account, with the option of a prepaid debit card called the Bluebird.
Running as a pilot program since last year, the card doesn’t have a minimum balance and there are no monthly, annual or overdraft fees – so you won’t have to pay for the “privilege” of spending money! The only fees you’ll have to pay, Wal-Mart and Amex explain, will be under your control, like a fee for using an ATM outside of the network.
To make the process as easy as possible, you can put money on the card through direct deposit from your paycheck, take a picture of a check with your smartphone, link the card to a bank account, or add cash to it at a Wal-Mart store.
Wal-Mart is also offering low-rate check cashing to shoppers without bank accounts.
Besides taking some of the strain off your errand-running, Bluebird can be a useful budgeting tool. If you’re dealing with tight purse strings, try to find a balance between what you know you normally spend on groceries and how much you can afford to spend. Put your weekly, biweekly or monthly grocery money on your Bluebird debit card, and focus on buying your essentials first. If you’ve got money left over, great! But, once it’s gone, it’s gone.
I think one of the handiest features of the new card is that you can create a sub-account for family members, like your kids away at college. You can limit the amount they have access to so they won’t spend you out of house and home, but you won’t have to worry about your studious offspring going hungry.