Bluebird: Are direct deposits necessary for free ATM use?

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.

Last updated on January 12th, 2016

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Chris
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Chris

I’ve had the same experience. One direct deposit, discontinue, and you still have access to free atm withdraws at money pass atms B-)

chuck
Guest
chuck

I haven’t tested the system with no direct deposits. However, I did set up a 10.00 per month reoccurring transfer from my checking account into Bluebird every first day of the month. I had figured that it was setting up this arrangement that was allowing me free withdraws — but now I am thinking — may be not!

Jivepicnic
Guest
Jivepicnic

I transfer $1 from my Paypal account to my Bluebird each month just to be safe. It shows up on my Bluebird account as “Direct Deposit” so I think I’m safe if they decide to enforce the terms as written.

Wolfgang
Guest
Wolfgang

Never tried direct deposit. And only tried to withdraw money overseas (instead of paying 1% on my check card). Bluebird charged me $2 – which means I’ll have to withdraw more than $200 to break even…

Josh
Guest
Josh

I have had the same experience with MoneyPass. I did an initial PayPal test deposit late last year and have never been charged

Skoropi
Guest
Skoropi

Never setup direct deposit. Withdrew money from a money pass ATM a few times and was never changed a withdrawl fee.

Jane S.
Guest
Jane S.

I never had any direct deposits and have made several withdrawals from the WM MoneyPass ATM.

Dan
Guest

Do you need to use any sort of PIN when making withdrawals?

Dan
Guest
Dan

Never had direct deposit, used a moneypass atm maybe three times, no fee charged, but last two times fee was charged so ymmv.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Why not just pay your credit card with BB and have them issue a check for the credit balance? Saves time vs. hitting the ATM and avoids all fees.

lahaina
Guest
lahaina

Can someone please clarify – one can make monthly deposit/s from Paypal to Bb? Thanks.

frequent churner
Guest
frequent churner

Good info FM, I was looking for a cheap ATM card for overseas trips, didn’t realize BlueBird only charges $2. That’s much less than my bank ATM card, or other pre-paid debit cards.

Dan
Guest

Do you need to use any sort of PIN when making withdrawals??

BeachMiles
Guest
BeachMiles

Every 30 Days, not once a month. I don’t think I’ve ever done a direct deposit. I do get free ATM withdrawals once every 30 days. Did one mid month( free) and the next ,early the following month ( less than 30 days), and they charged me for the second withdrawal.

Dan
Guest

Do you need to use a PIN when making withdrawals?

David
Guest
David

What is the maximum amount that can be withdrawed?

Blue Skye
Guest
Blue Skye

yes, you need to have an PIN when making cash withdrawals at an ATM.

i had great success using BB for cash at an ATM in New Zealand last fall. i will be attempting to use it in Japan, next week. even with a $2 fee, the exchange rates seemed to be quite fair and exactly what XE had posted within minutes of my withdrawal last fall.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I never did a direct deposit and was charged $2 at the ATM

Grado
Guest
Grado

Where/ how do you get a bb pin?

frequent churner
Guest
frequent churner

@Grado – you set it up in your BB account online.

tscateh
Guest
tscateh

Anybody know the max you can withdraw from an ATM at once with BB? (Assuming no limits placed on the ATM form the bank)

Blue Skye
Guest
Blue Skye

when i was on the phone with them earlier today, they pretty much said it was up to the amount on your card, but depending on the limits the ATM being used had in place. vague enough IMO that one may have to fiddle with the withdrawal amounts until it gives you money. (had an issue with an ATM with another card, where it could only give me $160 instead of the $200 i asked for b/c it was running out of money. never seen that happen before.)

abigail
Guest
abigail

curious where you found a free ATM in BKK?!? what bank? i’ve spent a lot of time in BKK but never stumbled upon a free ATM…

as to bluebird MP ATM: same same- never charged even when i’ve missed my 30 day paypal ‘DD’

tundukvasya
Guest
tundukvasya

О трахнуть телку на природе и кончить ей в лицо а также молодой господин трахает старую служанку услишать не хоти те ли?

Boon
Guest
Boon

Identical experience for me as well.

Marshall
Guest
Marshall

@frequent churner:

Set up a Schwab account. Get their ATM card. They reimburse ANY fees associated with ATM withdrawal including foreign exchange transaction fees and differences in exchange rates so no cost to do withdrawal.

Kelvin
Guest
Kelvin

What bank’s ATM did you use in Bangkok that didn’t have a fee for using a foreign card? I always use my Schwab ATM card in Bangkok to get the fee reimbursed. The Thai ATMs always deducts a 150 baht fee, but Schwab pays that back at the end of the month.

Did you use an Aeon Bank ATM? That’s the only one I’ve seen in Thailand that doesn’t charge a fee on foreign cards.

FrequentMiler
Guest

I don’t remember the bank I used in Bangkok. It was the one that was right in front of me at the airport after I passed through the immigration line.

Lemma
Guest
Lemma

I’ve been transferring $1 every month from my checking account into Paypal, then from Paypal into Bluebird, which shows up as a direct deposit. It sounds like that is unnecessary although it is easy and costless.

unknown001
Guest
unknown001

Speaking of Aeon Bank, if you’ve used their ATMs in Thailand, Hong Kong, or other countries, don’t expect them to be the same in Japan; their Japanese ATMs only take Japanese cards and UnionPay cards.

Bob
Guest
Bob

When in Japan, look for a 7-ELEVEN store. They all have fee-free ATMS and take U.S. credit cards.

Martin
Guest
Martin

Can you find out if I can use the atm card in Myanmar? I would really appreciate it.