Bluebird: Are direct deposits necessary for free ATM use?

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Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend

American Express’ Bluebird card is special because it can be loaded with money from Vanilla Reload cards (which can be purchased at some stores with a credit card), and then it can be used like a checking account to pay bills or to withdraw money at ATMs.

The Bluebird Member Agreement says that MoneyPass Network ATMs are free for Bluebird card’s receiving direct deposit.  Specifically, it says, “To qualify, at least one Direct Deposit payment must have been received in the thirty (30) days before the ATM transaction.” 

That’s what the Member Agreement says, but that has not been my experience.  It has been many months since I last initiated a direct deposit to my Bluebird account, but I recently visited a MoneyPass ATM to withdraw money.  As you can see below, no fees where charged:

image

The display on the ATM told me that the ATM would assess a $2.50 fee, but (as expected) that wasn’t charged either.

What about non-MoneyPass ATMs?  In February I used Bluebird at an ATM in Bangkok.  The ATM itself didn’t charge a fee, but Bluebird charged me $2:

image

So, from my admittedly very small sampling, it looks like MoneyPass ATMs are free to Bluebird cardholders regardless of whether any money has been direct deposited to the account recently.

Reader Experiences

Have you tried a MoneyPass ATM with Bluebird?  Were you charged a fee?  Had you direct deposited any money in the prior 30 days?

Note: I’m on vacation this week, so please forgive me in advance for not answering comments.

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