AMEX Prepaid Twins: Bluebird and Blue Serve

There’s big money to be made in the transparent and low-fee prepaid card niche and American Express is going nuts in on this untapped market by partnering with WalMart on the newly revived Bluebird prepaid card:

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Oct. 8, 2012 – Walmart and American Express today announced the launch of Bluebird, an alternative to debit and checking accounts designed to help consumers better manage and control their everyday finances. Bluebird has been developed for the tens of millions of Americans who are looking for advanced capabilities such as deposits by smartphone and mobile bill pay, fee transparency, and no minimum balance, monthly, annual or overdraft fees. Bluebird puts the power back in the hands of consumers and will be available next week online at and in more than 4,000 Walmart stores.

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Paying Cash for Online Shopping

For the majority of the history of shopping, the way to get goods was to march your way over to the retailer (or in the case of door to door salesmen, have them march their way to you) and to exchange your cash for their goods. This eventually gave way to checks and even credit cards, which is less of a way to directly pay a merchant than to have an intermediate party pay the merchant on your behalf. All of this was turned on its head when stores began selling their merchandise online and you at no point had to have any interaction with human beings.

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Saying Goodbye to Wal-Mart Greeters

I am rather particular when it comes to a brick and mortar shopping experience. Specifically, I like for someone in the store to acknowledge that I am there and to ask me if they can help me with anything while I am there. This is the case even if I know exactly what I want to buy. I once went into a store, knowing exactly what I wanted to buy and walked around the store looking at things, all the time noticing that the store employee was just standing there doing what looked like absolutely nothing. At no point did he even give me a head nod. I would have happily taken my purchases in a sack or a bag if he had even tried a simple hello, but this was not to be.

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Courting the Ripple Crowd: Wal-Mart Wins the Wino

Wal-Mart recently announced they were going to start selling wine under their own branded name.

Now that may not seem like big news, but when you consider Wal-Mart plans to sell their wine for $2.00 USD a bottle, you quickly begin to see Wal-Mart senses a fault in human nature and a hole in core community values ripe for exploitation: Let’s Make it Affordable to Become a Wino!

Now those of us who know wine well know full-well Wal-Mart isn’t going after the upscale connoisseur wine market with the $2 bottle — and they aren’t going after the Trader Joe’s college crowd that buy the private label Trader Joe’s rotgut wine at $4.00 USD a bottle — no, Wal-Mart has its keen business eye set lower… lower down into the gutter… where Wal-Mart wants to win the Ripple crowd who buy wine in jugs.

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