Announcing the “Us” card: a Bluebird, Serve, and REDcard competitor!

Yesterday, a reader sent me an advance copy of a press release from FirstCayman Internet Bank, where she works in human resources.  The press release introduces a new prepaid card that is directly intended to compete with Amex Bluebird, Serve, and the Target Prepaid REDcard.  She asked me if I thought this card would offer MS (manufactured spend) potential.

There are still too many unknowns at this point to be sure, but on the face of it, the card does look incredibly promising.  Here is the press release (which should be widely available at some point today):

George Town, Cayman Islands., April 1, 2015 – FirstCayman Internet Bank announces the launch of the “Us” Card, an alternative to popular products from American Express such as Bluebird, Serve, and the Target Prepaid REDcard.  The “Us” Card has been developed for the millions of people worldwide who are looking for checking account alternatives and advanced capabilities such as no-fee bill pay, fee transparency, and no minimum balance or overdraft fees.  Where the prepaid American Express products are limited to those living the United States, the “Us” Card is available worldwide.  And, unlike the competing American Express products, the “Us” card runs on the Visa network and is therefore accepted almost everywhere, worldwide.

“The Card for the rest of Us”

FIB’s Senior Vice President, I.M Leighing says “Our customers tell us that they want prepaid cards like Bluebird, but they do not have US addresses or Social Security Numbers, both of which are required by American Express. Our product matches Bluebird feature by feature, but without the exclusionary requirements imposed by Amex.  The ‘Us’ Card truly is the ‘Card for the rest of Us.’”

Us_Visa_Card

The “Us” Card will initially be marketed as the “Us Visa” card from FirstCayman Internet Bank.  FIB is concurrently test marketing another version of the card that will compete with Bluebird and REDcard not just feature by feature, but by name as well: the “Us” Green Card.  According to Phil Aufschidt, FIB’s Director of Sales and Marketing, “initial test results have indicated a huge swell of interest in the Us Green Card throughout the Americas.”

Us_Green_Card

Funds deposited to FirstCayman Internet Bank’s “Us” cards are fully insured by the Foreign Deposit Insurance Co (FDIC).

In reading through the Us Card’s Cardholder Agreement, it does look promising.  Here is a summary of what I found:

  • Both versions of the card (the Us Visa card and the Us Green card) share the same Cardholder agreement, so they appear to be the exact same product with different names.
  • Anyone can sign up for this card.  There doesn’t appear to be any age or location restrictions.  I also don’t see any restrictions that would limit each person to have only one card the way Amex does.
  • The card has an initial $19.95 purchase fee and a $9.95 monthly fee
  • The monthly fee is waived in any month in which the cardholder deposits $1,000 or more.  It is unclear whether this is based on a calendar month or a rolling 30 days.
  • Money can be added online to the card via bank accounts, debit cards, or credit cards.  Credit card loads are explicitly restricted to Visa and MasterCard credit cards (i.e. you can’t use Amex or Discover cards).
  • There is no load fee, even for credit card loads.
  • Credit and debit loads are limited to $15,000 per month.
  • There is a $2 fee to withdraw from ATMs.  That is in addition to any charges incurred from the ATM itself.
  • Bill payments are free.  It is unclear at this point whether it will be possible to bill pay credit cards directly, but the language makes it seem that you can bill pay anyone.
  • Wire transfers are “discounted”.  It is unclear what this means exactly.

Too much is still unknown about the card, but on the face of it, it appears to be an amazing tool for manufacturing spend.  It appears that one can load up to $15,000 per month fee-free and cash out through bill pay fee free!  A very important question that remains is whether online credit card loads will count as purchases or cash advances with our credit cards.  I expect that some banks will treat it as a purchase and others may treat it as a cash advance.  As soon as people get this card and try it out, I’ll report results.

I wrote this post yesterday (March 31) and scheduled it for publication today.  At the time I wrote this post, the website to sign up for the card wasn’t available, but I’ve been told that it will be available today.  If you’re interested, here’s the link (and hopefully it will be live): uscard.fib.com.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. Wonder if this classifies as assets held in a foreign account when you file your taxes. I have my reservations if I load this card based on the issuing bank and the “FDIC” is Foreign and not Federal. This seems too good to be true. All the signs point me to stay away from this product, at least in the beginning.

  2. Typical bankers putting restrictions on it that make it useless to the targeted user. Only $15,000 a month, good grief, that would not even generate enough miles for one airline ticket. Worthless offer. Maybe the Korean banks can step it up.

  3. I’m ashamed to admit that you had me….until I started reading the comments and realized what day it is. But this borders on evil…..

  4. Did you hear the one from the Mayor of Boston a couple weeks ago?

    This winter has been so bad that Mitt Romney left his money here and sent himself to the Csayman Islands!

  5. This card is expected to be widely popular in border towns across the country, especially Arizona, where it can be presented as a valid form of identification during routine “stop and check” searches.

  6. The abbreviation of the bank name is FIB and still people fall for it…haha. If only this were real though. Love the humor Greg, I had a feeling you would have a post like this today. 🙂

  7. Should have made it from the First Bank of Nigeria. “Load your $100,000 per month via your credit card after an initial wire transfer of $1,000!”

  8. Man, you bloggers are like little kids, aren’t you?

    Happy April 1 to you, too.

    The Cayman Islands was my first clue….

  9. As soon as I saw they might call this “Green Card” I knew it was too good to be true. Those 2 words are never good marketing due to the fact there’s already a ‘green card’ that immigrants use. Best April Fools joke I’ve seen for a long time. Good one.

  10. Good one!!

    Speaking of manufactured spending, has anyone bought from these guys online? I think they are called Target Prepaid Redcard Resales. They are offering the card for pretty cheap.

  11. Funny thing is that multiple cards existed up until recently that were online loads up to $75k a month (B&G) and another CU one with $50k. So I totally believe the title.

  12. Let’s see… after speed reading this post on April 1st, I told myself I’d get one of these cards when I had time to fool with it. For the PAST FOUR DAYS, I was excited about its possibilities. FOUR DAYS. Then tonight, I stumble across these comments. Lol

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