Amex Bluebird Lowers Checking Deposit Limit…And Life Goes On

by on May 29, 2013 · 10 comments

in American Express, Amex Bluebird

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Update: You can no longer purchase Vanilla Reload cards using a credit card and Vanilla Reloads are no longer available in Office Depot.

Like many of you, I was one of the Amex Bluebird customers that received an email yesterday, which stated:

“We are writing to inform you that we are making a change to your Bluebird Account for added security.

The Bluebird Member Agreement has been modified to reflect an update to the amount of funds that can be added to your Bluebird Account from a linked checking or savings account. Effective immediately, the limit for this type of transaction has been reduced from $10,000.00 to $2,000.00 total per month.

You can review this update in the Bluebird Member Agreement by clicking here.

Thank you for your membership,
Bluebird Team

I got a lot of frantic emails, but to me, this is not an issue at all. Per the FAQ and terms of Bluebird, you can still load up to $1,000 a day and $5,000 a month using cash or Vanilla Reloads. The restriction in the email is only related to funding Bluebird from a linked external checking or savings account, which I suppose could be useful for topping up your account to pay a mortgage (if you can’t buy or load enough Vanillas), but really shouldn’t be too big of a deal. Direct deposit is not affected by this change, so if you want to avoid fees or top up your account directly from your pay check, you can still continue doing so up to $100,000 in direct deposit funds per year.

If anything, this notice should serve as a reminder that programs can and will change the rules as they see fit. Could Bluebird decide to stop allowing Vanilla Reloads tomorrow? Yes. In fact, my local CVS manager told me that their main issue was that people who steal credit cards would buy a ton of Vanilla Reloads before the card was shut off and then turn them into cash via other ways. While we may think that “people are onto us”, in reality companies like Amex and CVS are more worried about being complicit in money laundering and thus potentially being linked to illegal activity than they are being milked by savvy points junkies. Well, the latter may still be a concern, so that’s why you should get in while the getting is good, but be prepared to alter your strategy as needed. For example buying loads and loads of Vanilla reloads to load onto Bluebird in the future might not be a great plan if Bluebird ever decides to stop taking them. Just giving some food for thought!

FYI the Bluebird FAQ’s, here are the limits on Bluebird accounts:

Transaction Limits
Total Account Balance $100,000
Total Account Balance
(exclusive of Direct Deposit and Check by Mail)
Add Funds
Total Add Funds Transactions $100,000 per year
*Total Add Funds Transactions
(exclusive of Direct Deposit and Check by Mail)
Up to $10,000 per month
Direct Deposit $100,000 per year
Check by Mail $100,000 per year
Checking or Savings Account Up to $2,000 per month*
*Debit Card(s) (in aggregate) Up to $100 per transaction
$100 per day; and
$1,000 per month*
Cash (includes Swipe Reload and InComm Vanilla Reload Packs) $1,000 per day
$5,000 per month
*Bluebird-to-Bluebird Receive Money Transactions Up to $10,000 per month*
Add Checks with Mobile App $2,000 per day
$10,000 per month
Spend Money
Total Spend Money Transactions $100,000 per year
Total Spend Money Transactions (other than via Bluebird Checks) $10,000 per month
Merchant Transactions $10,000 per month
Pay Bills $10,000 per month
($5,000 per month in the case of non-registered payees)
Send Money Transactions $2,500 per transaction
$2,500 per month
ATM Withdrawals 3 ATM Withdrawals per day
$500 per day
$2,000 per month
Bluebird Checks Subject to Total Account Balance and Add Money Limits

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Tony

    Did you see a notice related to a debit card saying you can deposit a $100 per day and $1,000 per month? They did restricted a debit card limit.

  • Jake from MSP

    It’s been like that since its inception. Notice that “Swipe Reloads” AKA Debit Card loads at a Walmart are 1K/day up to 5K/month

  • surreptisaurus

    Where are you finding Vanilla Reloads? I can’t find them anywhere – NYC, California, CT, NJ, etc.

  • J Dozer

    Has anyone else had a problem signing up for a Bluebird account? I tried to register twice and each time said they were unable to verify my personal information and denied my account. Thoughts?

  • Bilal Ghayur

    I had the worst experience of this year dealing with BlueBird service this week. I opened an account with 3 subaccounts for my family so my kids have access to money since this service claims easy access. I waited for the cards to arrive and today validated the cards as instructed. I proceeded with linking my business account to this account so that I can move money here. There was no instructions implying that you cannot link a business account to personal account. Infact, I entered the acct number and ABA number it prompted me to enter my external account’s username and password and after processing gave me a message that the account has been verified. Next step, I wanted to move money to my BB account so I tried and it gave me a meaningless error saying the AMEX card must be validated before. They were validated and that’s why I was able to link an external acct. I called the customer service and they immediately surprised me by saying you violated terms and your account has been locked (closed). I tried to tell him that I only followed your instructions or no instructions. Then I felt why am with such lousy service anyways. I wanted my balance refunded and account closed and the AMEX manager (Dominique??) instructed that I need to check my account (that I do not have ability to login to) and one the funds are here they can refund the balance. I could not give them the basic common sense that I cannot check a “locked” account. The manager insisted that I tried to violate the terms. What terms when I was not instructed to not use two different types of account. Why in the world I would maintain another personal checking account just to move money to this BB account. I am pretty sure that American Express has learned a great deal of business from China and using that great customer service on us. This is so lousy that I feel ashamed of calling an American corporation. Now I am instructed to call everyday to find out if the money is available and only then they can close my account and send me my money back. What a rip off. I wasted several hours to get the whole thing set up correctly and because of lousy management at AMEX who did not provide instructions on what accounts could be linked and the lousy customer service that have no clue. They should simply outsource this to India or Philippines so we have a better reason to call it a bad experience.

  • Ton

    I should’ve known anything associated with Walmart was a bad idea! This card has been nothing but a Royal POA. they sell it to you as an alternative checking account, but it is nothing but a prepaid debit card. Unfortunately, it’s not even that! You cannot use it as a debit card. The only time the pin function works is to draw cash out of an ATM. Charges can only be run as a credit transaction, and unfortunately, there are many places that do not accept American Express. Further, there are several places that will only accept debit. One should be able to access their funds using a pin number with this card but we can’t! We have also had issues making deposits. We have gone to places, including Walmart, that according to the website had an ATM that accepted deposits and found that that ATM did not exist at that location. We have tried to use the smart phone and and make deposits by uploading a picture, but the app has crashed three of our smart phones and does not work. Nor is there an option to scan the check and upload it with your computer. This card is completely lacking in options and service and unfortunately since it is an American Express card which is not accepted everywhere is no longer useful to us. We have changed our direct deposit and will no longer be using the bluebird card.

  • DGordon

    I, too, am closing my Bluebird account because, SURPRISE, a credit check must be cleared before one can deposit a check remotely. Yes, believe it or not! Never was mentioned when I applied or opened the account. RIPOFF AND MISLEADING. AMEX doesn’t mean truthful advertising–beware!

  • Shyshy808

    I have had no issues with Amex bluebird. I been reading the reviews here and I have not had a single issue with BB. I load money at Walmart, and online transfer through my bank, and I deposit check all the time. I have absolutely no issues with it. The only down fall is online xfer and remote check deposit takes up to 6 business days to credit. I don’t have an issue with that anyways. The mobile app is better than my actual banks mobile app. I am very pleased with this card. Me and my friends transfer money to each other all the time. If one is out shopping and I tell her to pick me up something she’ll tell me the price I’ll transfer the money and she drops it off. Thank you, Amex for making a product like this. Idk why people has issues. It’s a simple product and super easy to use.

  • Skr

    Have You lost any fund recently? To receive your fund from any european or african bank contact the attorney/financial controller via email info.skr3d at gmail dot com

  • Drew

    Are the limits on a calendar month or for every 30 days? For example can I add $5000 on Dec 25th and then again $5000 on Jan 1?

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