Note: As of October 13, 2015 the Target REDcard (REDbird) can only be loaded with cash in-store at Target. This means that neither debit cards nor gift cards can be used to load REDcard any longer. For more info about the changes and where to go from here, see: REDbird Postmortem: An MS Path Forward
American Express Prepaid Cards Compared
The other day Frequent Miler broke the news about a new prepaid sibling to Bluebird & Serve called the Target Prepaid REDcard. The REDcard which currently is only available in select Target stores across the country is very much like the Serve & Bluebird cards.
Since all three cards share the same backend system, each person can only have one of the three. Given that there are many similarities between the three, I thought I would put together a chart comparing them to make the decision on which to choose a little simpler.
Bluebird vs. Serve vs. REDcard
|Initial Fee||$0 online. $5 at Walmart.||$0 online. Up to $3.95 in store.||As disclosed on the temporary package. (Currently $0.)|
|Monthly Fee||$0||$1 (Waived w/direct deposit, Softcard, or a $500 monthly load.)||$0|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||$0||2.7%||$0|
|ATM Fee||$0 at MoneyPass ATMs and $2 at other ATMs. ($2.50 after 10/30/14).||$0 at MoneyPass ATMs and $2 at other ATMs. ($2.50 after 10/30/14).||$0 at US Target stores & Allpoint ATMs. Not possible elsewhere.|
|No-Fee Load Types||Direct deposit, checking/savings account, debit card, cash at Walmart, check deposits by mail & app.||Direct deposit, checking/savings account, debit card, credit card, cash at CVS, Family Dollar, Walmart & 7-11, check deposits by app.||Direct deposit, check/savings account, debit card online, cash only at U.S. Target stores.|
|Other reloads (Fees may apply.)||Vanilla Reloads||MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload, Reloadit.||None available.|
|Total Direct Deposit Loads||$100,000 per year.||$100,000 per year.||$100,000 per year.|
|Cash Load Limit||$2,500 per day and $5,000 per month.||$2,500 per day and $5,000 per month.||$2,500 per day and $5,000 per month. (Note: Debit cards are not allowed. Cash only in-store.)|
|Checking Or Savings Account Load Limits||$2,000 per month.||$2,000 per month.||$2,000 per month.|
|Check Load Limits||$2,000 per day and $10,000 per month.||$2,000 per day and $10,000 per month.||$2,000 per day and $10,000 per month.|
|Debit Card Load Limits||$200 per day and $1,000 per month.||$200 per day and $1,000 per month. ($500 per day, $1500 per month w/ Softcard version.)||$200 per day and $1,000 per month.|
|Credit Card Load Limits||Not available||$200 per day and $1,000 per month. ($500 per day, $1500 per month w/ Softcard version.)||Not available|
|Pay Bills Limit||$15,000 per month ($5,000 for unregistered payees.)||$15,000 per month ($5,000 for unregistered payees.)||$15,000 per month ($5,000 for unregistered payees.)|
|ATM Withdrawal Limit||$750 per day. $2,000 per month.||$750 per day. $2,000 per month.||$750 per day. $2,000 per month.|
|Merchant Transaction Limit||$15,000 per month.||$15,000 per month.||$15,000 per month.|
|Merchant Network||American Express||American Express||American Express|
|Unique Features||Paper checks. Walmart Bucks when used with Savings Catcher.||Increased limits with Softcard version. Credit card loads.||5% off all purchases at Target. Extended return period. Free shipping at Target.com.|
|More Information||Bluebird FAQ, Bluebird Fees & Limits||Serve FAQ, Fees & Limits||REDcard FAQ & Limits|
As you can see most of the limits and load types are the same for all three cards. Bluebird has the advantage of earning double Walmart Bucks with Savings Catcher, the REDcard gets 5% back at Target along with extended return periods & free shipping and Serve has credit card loads which can be very lucrative.
While the decision as to which is best is definitely a personal one, hopefully with all of the information presented in one place, you can begin to figure out which of these products works best for you. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you find any incorrected or omitted information on the chart!