Mint survey suggests new card similar to Bluebird, REDbird, and Serve. MintBird?

A reader reports being asked to fill out a survey by the online money tracking service Mint.  In the survey, he was asked his opinion about a new product from Mint.  Specifically, the survey said:

This new product from Mint is a full service reloadable prepaid account that offers you the convenience of a debit card without the fees or hassle of a bank.

With the prepaid account you can enjoy these key benefits:

  • No credit checks, no hidden fees, no minimum balance
  • Pay in stores and online virtually anywhere American Express Cards are accepted
  • FREE ATM Withdrawals
  • FREE cash reloads at over 27,500 locations
  • FREE app and fast sign-up
  • FREE Direct Deposit for easy and fast access to your paycheck
  • Backed by American Express 24/7 Customer Service

MintBird

It sounds a lot like Serve, doesn’t it?

My take

I’m not too excited.  Here’s why…

I really don’t know anything about this product other than what is shown above.  However, its clear that this is a prepaid reloadable card from American Express.  And, in the last few years, all prepaid reloadable cards from American Express have had certain things in common:

  1. Technically, they all run from the Serve platform.
  2. Amex allows each user to have only one.
  3. They are reloadable in certain stores
  4. They are reloadable online with debit cards
  5. They have almost no fees
  6. They have free bill pay, and free withdrawals to bank accounts

If history is any guide and this is a new Bluebird/REDbird/Serve type of card, then we will have to choose between them.  An individual won’t be able to have both REDbird and MintBird, for example.  And, I’m betting that this card won’t have any capabilities better than Serve (except maybe an automatic link to Mint).

I hope I’m wrong.  I hope that MintBird will allow $5,000 worth of online credit card loads per month.  But, I’m willing to bet it won’t.  What do you think?

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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Comments

  1. If you google “27,500 locations” the first (and only retail) result is Serve. This suggests that MintBird will load everywhere Serve will load, to wit, Walmart.

    Not good news per se, for the reasons you mention, but good news indirectly in that if, eg, MS’ers were ruining the profitability of this enterprise then Amex would stop trotting out these things. BB/Serve/RB/MintBird seem like they may well have the legs to go pretty long-term if some random legislation or something doesn’t ruin it.

  2. The big deal with Bluebird and Redbird is that there’s something in it for their respective stores (i.e. more foot traffic and hopefully higher sales) that could justify more generous features.

    There’s nothing extra in it for Mint/Intuit – in fact Intuit is a bit of a profiteer if history is a guide, so I’m doubtful this card could be better than Redbird. The only real benefit would be for Amex in having more cards out there.

    • I also got the survey – there were several questions and features related to tax refunds, so it sounds like they’d be marketing it hard as a TurboTax companion product.

  3. Online reloads…..I live 2 miles from Target and it’s clean and efficient…….that’s online enough for me as I turn toward Benton, AR and give them a gesture……….

    • @dan – you beat me to it.. that’s just what I was going to say.
      😉 I mean, come on FM… mint bird?… that just doesn’t roll off the tongue at all. Are you losing your touch 😉 (ok, I do have to admit that mintbird is funny, but I really think that it’s gotta be greenbird)

  4. Online reloads would be pretty big…and end quickly due to proliferation. Target is fine. Let’s not destroy what is currently a good thing.

  5. When I took the survey I commented everywhere I could that it would only be appealing if you can reload from a credit card. There was no other mention of this feature throughout the survey.

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