Sign up for a free account from Bluebird.
Wait 7-10 business days to receive the card. If you have a Serve account, you will need to cancel it and then wait about 30 days before signing up. You need to wait for your physical BB card before you can proceed here.
Please note: As of the beginning of July 2014, you can load a maximum of $2500 a day at a WM register or ATM, up to $5,000 each calendar
month into your Bluebird (hereafter: "BB") account. As of September 4, 2014, you can also load an additional $200/day with a debit card, up to $1000/month, though this might be risky, see below, II.4.
You can find answers to many questions here: https://www.bluebird.com/faqs?linknav=us-Prepaid-Bluebird-Home-Faqs#bluebird-checks
And here: https://www.bluebird.com/
(just scroll down instead of clicking 'log in')Ways to load it:
I. Vanilla Reload (VR)CANNOT BE BOUGHT WITH A CC ANY MORE!
Continue to II.
<gantze megilla about VR removed. BDE.>
II. "Gift" cards (GCs)
As of April 1st, 2013, Mastercard (MC) and Visa GCs have PIN codes that will make the cards function as debit cards. GCs may be used to load up your BB account in any Walmart, as will be explained below, or to get cash back when purchasing with them. Note that not all GCs work this way. Those from Metabank do, as do others. AMEX GCs are not capable of working with a PIN. They can only be used as gift cards. GCs for a specific business or store (iTunes or Home Depot or whatever) will never work in the ways described here. Note that 'Vanilla' brand GCs can no longer be loaded to BB.
1. Buy Visa or MC GCs. The larger the denomination the better, since the fee-to-balance ratio will be better. Buy them anywhere, but you get the most out of this if you buy them with a CC that pays more than 1 point per dollar at that store at that time.
2. You will need a PIN for each GC. If you bought a MC GC, call the number on the back of the card or go online to set a PIN. If you bought a Visa, the last four digits of the card number will usually work, as long as you have not used the card yet. If you have used it, you had to set a PIN, so use that.
3. Go to Walmart (WM).
There are two suggested ways to load the GCs to BB at WM. Via a MoneyPass ATM (preferred) or via any cashier. Neither method charges an additional fee to what you paid when you bought the card. Please do not go to the service desk. Certainly do not refer to the GCs as gift cards, as they are, in fact, debit cards.
3a. MoneyPass ATMs
Not all WMs have MoneyPass ATMs, and MoneyPass ATMs at non-WM locations will not work to load BB. You can search for MoneyPass ATMs at WMs here: http://www.moneypass.com/atm-locator.aspx
Some report that MoneyPass ATMs in WMs near areas with high concentrations of DDFers seem to be permanently out of service. You may need to go farther afield or use the other method, mentioned below.
Follow the instructions on the machine to load your BB card. In some cases, the "WM Money Card" option will work for BB as well. Be patient and careful with your card swipes, as the machines are often slow or touchy. Each GC will be a separate transaction. Remember, the maximum of $2,500/day per BB account always applies.
If you are using high-denomination GCs, have found a very quick ATM, had a fellow BBer ahead of you, or are just experienced and able to complete each transaction very quickly, it is possible that you will complete $2,000 of transactions within about 10 minutes, which locks up the ATM for a while. Take a walk around the store and come back to let the machine unlock.
Please remember to be friendly, considerate and compassionate in all your interactions.
Ask a cashier to load your BB account from a debit card. If they don't know how, tell them to use action code 70
(they may need to type 70 first, followed by "action code") and follow the instructions on their screen. They are able to split a single transaction into up to four different cards, but it can be simpler to add one GC at a time, especially with people waiting behind you on line. You can then go back around to the same or another cashier to add other cards. Again, the $2,500/day per BB account applies.
This method should work at any WM - as intended by the BB product - but there are many stores in which some or all of the staff and management are suspicious of such transactions and will not do it. Your chances of convincing them to do something they think will risk their jobs is slim to none so if you encounter such resistance, please: Do
take no for an answer and leave courteously to try another store or another day. You want to stay under the radar as much as possible,
so if things start getting complicated, tell them that you just remembered that you need to pick your kid up from school or whatever (have a good excuse ready beforehand) and that you need to leave, but you'll be back later. Th is way they forgot about their suspicions much faster.
4. It is apparently possible to load up to $200 per day to BB from debit cards on the BB web site for free, up to $1000 per month. Please note that people have had their BB accounts frozen or shut down for using GCs to load BB online, and that the BB site clearly says that any debit card used must be in the BB account holder's name. You have been warned.Using A MC GC
Frequently a MC is declined at WM
When using the moneypass ATM, press the button ABOVE the BB button. It may work without the following workaround.
The workaround is to:
1. Swipe MC
2.If you have the black and green screen press Cancel.If you have the white screen with colored touch icons, then right after you swipe a yellow 'change payment' button well pop up for a second, press that (you have to be fast). You can also push the physical yellow button on the keypad. It does the same thing.
3. Select Debit
4. No Cash Back
5. Enter the PIN
Also seems to work if only $99 loaded. or 99.99, too.What to do with the money on your BB:
On the BB site, money can be sent to pay bills that don't normally accept CCs (think rent/mortgage, tuition, insurance, car payment, gas bill, even pay your cc bill) or to anyone in the U.S. for free. Use the 'pay and transfer tab'. Checks sent online this way are delivered within 5 business days. (It may be prudent not to use BB to directly pay the CC on which you purchased the VRs/GCs that funded BB, but, once again, YMMV.)
Some people would rather use the free physical checks that you can order from BB. Please note that these checks need to be pre-authorized by you online, and a number written on them, before you give them to the person/institution you are paying. For checks of more than $2,000, authorization will require additional information and time. You need to provide the information and wait for confirmation before the check will be valid.
The money in your BB account can be withdrawn directly to a linked bank account, which, if done too much, may be seen as risky by BB, but in moderation should be fine. You can also send money to your bank account online by check, same as any other payee, but this might be risky from the perspective of the bank (not BB) if you bank and have CCs at the same institution.Useful organizing techniques:
It can be unwieldy and confusing when standing in front of the WM ATM with a BB card or two and a bunch of GCs, some used, some not. The last thing anyone wants is to end up throwing away several hundred dollars on a perfectly good GC because you mistakenly thought it was drained. I'm sure there are contributors to this thread who have woken up in a cold sweat from just such a nightmare. Plus, being unorganized costs you time, and may make it more likely that some employee thinks you are up to something. Here are a few strategies for how to be organized.
1. Cargo pants, or other clothing/accessories with plenty of different pockets. Use different pockets for GCs yet to use and used GCs.
2. If you have more than one BB card, shuffle them into the stack of GCs at the appropriate spots for how many GCs you plan to load to each card. That way, you can just work through the stack and finish/begin each new BB card in turn.
3. A Sharpie marker works well for marking off GCs or BBs that you're done with. The marks even come off the cards with a little alcohol. Careful not to mark yourself or your clothes though.