How to Transfer Money To & From Your Bank Account with American Express Bluebird

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Bluebird Introduction

One of the best uses of American Express Bluebird is the ability to pay for transactions which can’t usually be made with a miles or points earning credit card. Transactions such as your rent, mortgage, car payment, credit card bill, tuition etc.

You load your Bluebird card (which you can order online) with a points earning debit card at Wal-Mart.  You can also reload Bluebird with Vanilla Reload cards which you can buy at CVS, Walgreen’s or other locations.  Alternate with other credit cards so that you’re not spending too much at buying Vanilla Reloads with any one credit card.

Here’s a post on other credit cards to use with Bluebird, so that you’re not maxing out on just 1 card.

You may also be able to pay for the Vanilla Reloads with a credit card at Walgreen’s, but this isn’t always the case and could be a bit of wild goose chase.

Here’s a post on what a Vanilla Reload looks like and  how to load a Vanilla Reload card to your Bluebird account.

Transfer from Bluebird To Bank Account

You can move money from your Bluebird account to your checking account.  This could be a great way to maximize earning miles and points because you could earn miles or points while funding your Bluebird account (either via a miles earning debit card or using a credit card to buy Vanilla Reloads), and then withdraw the money to your bank account!

The terms simply say:The Member may also return funds from the [Bluebird] Account to the Member’s Bank Account.

Many folks may not need to use this option because you can use Bluebird to pay bills which can’t be paid by credit card and for everyday transactions.  But this could be useful for some to hit minimum spending requirements or spending bonuses on credit cards.

However, I wouldn’t abuse this option and would make withdrawals to my bank account like an average person would.  Which means that I wouldn’t fund my account and immediately withdraw the entire amount to my bank account, but would mix it in with regular transactions, bill payments, and ATM withdrawals.

2 Business Days For Bluebird Bank Transfer

Emily transferred $50 from her Bluebird account to her Chase checking account on October 23, 2012 and the transaction posted to her account in 2 business days on October 25, 2012.  However, I’d add a few extra days just in case it takes longer.

Transfer from Bank Account to Bluebird

You can link your bank account to American Express Bluebird and use it to transfer money from your bank account to your Bluebird account.  At first glance, this may not seem particularly useful especially since you don’t earn miles and points when you fund your Bluebird account from your bank account.

However, this could be useful for folks who want to pay more than $5,000 per month.  While your Bluebird can hold up to $10,000, you can’t use a miles earning debit card or a credit card to buy Vanilla Reloads to fund more than $5,000 per month on your Bluebird account.

So you could transfer additional money from your bank account to your Bluebird account to pay large bills.  The advantage of this is that you don’t have to worry about splitting the payment of bills between your Bluebird account and your  bank account.

Bluebird says that “Funds loaded to Bluebird from your verified bank account will generally be available within 5 business days after the load is requested.”

How to transfer money from your bank account to Bluebird

You first have to link your bank account to American Express Bluebird.  See the section after this on how to do that.

Step 1 – Log in to your Bluebird account

Log into your Bluebird account online.

Step 2 – Click on “transfer money”

Click on the “transfer money” button which is on the right portion of the screen, below “My Account

Click on “transfer money”

Step 3 – Transfer Money

Click on the “transfer funds to your bank account” button and then click
transfer.

Transfer Money to Your Bank Account

Step 4 – Enter Amount

Enter the amount you want to transfer and select your bank account.

Then click “continue”

Enter Amount to be Transferred to Bank Account

Step 5 – Confirm transaction

Enter your PIN and click “confirm

Confirm Transaction With Your PIN

You get a confirmation message and a reminder that it could take 2 to 3 business days to complete the transfer.

Transfer Money Confirmation

How to Link a Bank Account to Bluebird

Step 1 – Log in to your Bluebird account

Log into your Bluebird account online.

Step 2 – Click on “deposit money”

Click on the “deposit money” button which is on the left of the screen.

Click on “deposit money”

Step 3 – Click on “add new funding source”

Click on “add new funding source” to the right.

Click on “add new funding source”

Step 4 –Link Bank Accounts

Click on “link acount” to the right.

Click on “link acount” to the right.

Step 5 –Enter bank information

Enter your bank routing number and account number.

Enter Bank Routing & Account Information

Step 6 –Verify Bank Account

You then get the option to verify your bank account by either entering your bank account user ID & password or by confirming 2 small deposits.

I chose to enter my user ID and password, but I wonder if the 2 small deposits will count towards the direct deposits for free ATMs?

Verify Your Bank Information

You then get confirmation that you bank account is verified and can now move money into and out of Bluebird.

Confirmation

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50 Responses to How to Transfer Money To & From Your Bank Account with American Express Bluebird

  1. I can link a prepaid credit card to my BB account. But I can’t figure out how to transfer cash from the card to my BBird account. Am I missing something?

  2. These articles are interesting and helpful. I’ve applied for my first Ink card (got a “pending”), and I know to call reconsideration if it’s turned down. My problem is my “business” is very much in start up mode (though I’m excited about it), so I’m not sure how that will all play out. I stopped by Office Depot yesterday and they’ve got plenty of Vanilla reloads, and it’s only a mile from my home, so that part has potential. My major expenditure that could benefit is my mom’s nursing home care. That’s so high that even maxing out on Vanilla/Bluebird activity wouldn’t take care of it all, but at least I’d get solid mileage benefits for whatever I handle that way, and the nursing home doesn’t mind split payments from more than one source. So if things fall together, my situation is one of strategically trying to maximize the miles while at the same time not going about it in a way that would get me in trouble with Chase or Amex. Anyway, I’ll keep reading. Thanks for the blog and all the aspects it’s covering.

  3. Since PayPal deposits count as direct deposits and Bluebird is a similar concept, I’m willing to bet that any transfers into your bank account via Bluebird would count. Nice find, Daraius! :)

  4. Are there fees associated with this service?

  5. Seems like the Bird is here to stay. Amex working hard to make it a legit card. Gone are the days of GreenDot and Netspend dominating this space.

  6. anyone else having a hard time registering? Fields won’t populate.

  7. @Ron – There’s a fee for doing that with a debit card online, which usually isn’t worth it.

    @DaveS – Be prepared to give details on your business – how long it has operated (they like to see history), previous years sales and revenues, future projections, what you will purchase with the card etc. You can always spread the payments over different Ink cards or other credit cards.

    @Debbie Schroeder – It would be really neat if that works, because you could set them up automatically!

    @Giovanna - No fees for this.

    @MileageUpdate – I agree, though there are a lot of other players.

    @Donna C – Try logging out and trying again.

  8. I got very exited about it around 6 month ago. Did my extensive research and here is my conclusion.
    This thing will work only for 20-30% if not less of all of us. The reason is that Office Depot, the only seller of the Vanilla card, starts to either ban them or do not accept credit cards as a payment. In my case it’s NYC, all the stores around here never have them and on top of it they stopped accepting credit cards to buy the Vanilla.
    Another point is using debit cards at Walmart to refill Bluebird. There is absolutely no point of doing this!!! First of all, one earns much less points by using debit cards instead of credit cards. The max one gets is 1 points from Delta debit card (let alone americanair and Alaska Air).
    Second one’s account will most likely be banned for doing the loophole of paying credit card with the bluebird (and again it’s in case if and only if you can find Office Depot with Vanilla) !!!!

  9. How do you abuse a program that has a $5k hard cap monthly? Cant really get into too much trouble paying rent/mortgage, some utility bills and a CC or two.

  10. @DaveS my wife applied for an ink plus a few weeks ago and just received the card in the mail over the weekend. It’s best to call the reconsideration line, but we waited paitiently thinking they must be declining the request.. We had other minimum spending requirements to meet so there was no rush.

  11. Right now, through the united shopping portal you get 2 pts/1$ at Office Depot online.

    I’m confused about the perks of “registering” your United MileagePlus explorer card with the shopping portal. If your card is registered with the portal do you get 2 pts/1$ from cartera at an actual office Depot Store, plus the 1 pt/1$ on your monthly statement? So, if I were to buy a $500 vanilla reload would I get 1500 points? Basically, my question is, are the points promotions on the online shopping portal the same if using your card “in store” if your card is registered?

  12. @bajkonyr – I agree that this isn’t for everyone, but I don’t see why paying credit card bills is a loophole. It is a legitimate use of their Bill Pay system.

    @MileageUpdate - I agree.

    @Ryan - My understanding is that you earn the additional miles only for purchases made via the online portal (but I could be wrong). The Chase United Explorer business version gives you 2 miles per $1 spent at Office Supply stores, so spending $25,000 on Vanilla Reloads at Office Depot will get you 60,000 United miles!

  13. Darius, i can’t help but analogize the vanilla/bluebird blog competition between you and FM to the eastcoast/westcoast rap feud in the 90′s. The rappers’ record sales during and after the feud skyrocketed, benefitting both their respective record companies millions per year – to this day.

    Perhaps this “feud” is just a marketing scheme ? From what I recall, you have a masters in marketing from a prestigious private university?

    however! caveat venditor… both rappers ended up 10 feet under !!

    thoughts?

  14. Do you know if Bluebird’s funding/spending limits are based on the calendar month or just within the last 30 days? I have used nearly $5000 in vanilla reloads to pay my mortgage and a few other bills this week, and I am wondering if I can get another $5000 beginning November 1st or if I need to wait for three more weeks.

  15. My chase ink card got closed by chase for office store VANILLA perk abuse. Everything has been running smooth for months.

  16. Unfortunately, a buddy of mine was unlucky with his ink card. First he was called about the purchase and passed the call test but the 3rd month. His card was shut down. I guess they had enough of him for being too unprofitable.

  17. I failed to login Chase online and found out they closed my IB. I only had the card for 3 months and was making $1000 a month from OD plus $500 from other purchase. I did make full payment every month. So be very careful!!! They are cracking down on OD purchase.

  18. If anyone is having a hard time getting vanilla reloads, let me know, have your friends or family bunch and mail them to you and you can activate them at your store. they have no value until activate so just take them.

    Question how long does it take to get your official bluebird card? I have temporary one and I cant do a damn thing with it according to Walmart, or in online account.

  19. @Old Guy – Very creative, but there’s no feud. In fact, we’re presenting a session together at the Frequent Traveler University in LA.

    @Rachel - The funding limits are by calendar month, so you should get another $5,000 in November.

    @jim @himesh @jason – Hmmm…3 comments with the same message within 1 hour?

    @Daniel – I got mine in 4 days, but it could take 7 to 8 days to get it.

  20. BlueHorseShoe

    Interesting start for me. Was able to locate an OD with Vanilla Reloads and picked up $1500 worth. Drove to WM and got the bluebird package, which I set up online. Then tried to reload the bluebird with the Vanilla Reload and got an error code 90. Tried it again 2x, both with the same result. So I called into the Vanilla card services, where I was told that bluebird does not accept Vanilla reloads. I protested and explained that, in fact, BlueBird’s website specifically states that they accept the Vanilla reloads. The CS rep tried it again, got the same failed message. She mentioned to me that her supervisors had passed around memos explaining that the BlueBird product was not going to accept the Vanilla reloads (but the ‘standard’ prepaid AmEx was still a viable option).

    Now I’m hoping that it’s just an issue with the temporary card (and that I can’t reload until I get the personal/permanent card). Does anyone know if that’s true? But if the CS rep was right, it appears that this game is up already. If that’s the case, what do I do with these reloads??

  21. BlueHorseShoe

    As a short follow-up, I am an idiot. Reading the back of the card, I see that it is clearly printed “Starter Card cannot be reloaded or used at ATMs.” So… that was my dumb moment for the day.

    Now on to the (more troubling) issue of the Vanilla CS rep who said they can’t be used to reload the BlueBird. Anyone hear anything about that?

  22. MRQUESTIONGUY

    OK SO I FOUND A WALGREENS THAT WILL TAKE CC FOR A VANILLA RELOAD.. QUESTION HERE IS, COULD I BUY A PREPAID CARD AT OFFICE DEPOT WITH MY INK AND PAY WITH THE PREPAID AT WALGREENS TO BUY A RELOAD? IS IT WORTH PAYIG THE 2 FEES JUST TO GET THE 5X POINTS? ARE THE PREPAID CARDS SEEN AS REGULAR CREDIT CARDS? THERE LIES A QUESTION AND GOOD EXPERIMENT I’M JUST NOT GOOD WITH MATH SO I NEED HELP TO SEE IF ITS WORTH IT TRYING AT ALL! THANX!!!

  23. MRQUESTIONGUY

    OD ARE NOT STOCKING VANILLA RELOADS IN THE DENVER AREA SO DON’T EVEN TRY… UNLESS THE 4 STORES I WENT TO PLAIN LIED TO ME IN MY FACE!! ANYWAY OF MAXIMIZING IN A SMART CONSERVATIVE AND NOT ABUSIVE WAY IS GOOD!

  24. MRQUESTIONGUY

    @DANIEL CAN U EXPLAIN ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE OFFERING PLEASE!

  25. @BlueHorseShoe – You can reload your permanent Bluebird with a Vanilla Reload card, so just wait for your permanent card.

    @MRQUESTIONGUY – It could be worth it, but the maximum you can put on a gift card is $500, so you’ll have to either use it for a total purchase of $500 at Walgreen’s or use a split tender transaction to use 2 forms of payments at Walgreen’s. You can also use the AMEX Hilton card for 6X points at Walgreens or the Simply Cash which gets you 5% cash back up to the 1st $12K in purchases.

  26. Do we have confirmation that Paypal transfers or bank transfers to BB count as direct deposits? I want to get ATM privileges with BB but don’t want to establish DD with my employer pay checks.

  27. @mrquestionguy First, lose the all caps, its annoying…What I’m suggesting is get a hold of someone you know who lives somewhere else and have them take the blanks from their store and mail them to you. You can the activate them at your store. My other question is, is the UPC code on ones from Family Dollar be rung up at Walgreens.

  28. @Dave - I’m still working on that.

    @Daniel – You can’t use the ones from Family Dollar at Walgreen’s/

  29. Pingback: Vanilla Reload Cards | Million Mile Secrets

  30. Pingback: American Express Bluebird | Million Mile Secrets

  31. How do you move from BB to your checking account? Is this a feature on the BB site or a feature of your bank accoount?

  32. @awg – It is a feature of Bluebird. See the steps in the section titled “How to transfer money from your bank account to Bluebird”

  33. Can you load money/deposit money from my paypal account onto the blue bird card. I have already registered the card but do not see anything that says you can use paypal as I was told by several store clerks. Fingers crossed this is just some oversight on my part. I would be so happy if this is true.

  34. @Andrea H. – I believe you can transfer money from Pay Pal to your Bluebird account using the routing/checking account number.

  35. Attempted my first transfer from Bluebird to my (Chase) checking account and it is taking forever. Initiated the transfer to an (already linked) account on Wednesday 11/28. Bluebird website shows the transaction was completed on Monday 12/3 and as of 12/6 nothing is in my checking account. The Bluebird customer service indicates transfers out of Bluebird to checking can take an additional 5-10 days after the Bluebird website shows the transaction is complete. Moral of the story – give yourself PLENTY of time if you are transferring into an account.

  36. @Tim - Very strange and thanks for the update! Good point to always leave enough time between transfers.

  37. @Tim, I am having the exact same issue. Bluebird states that my withdrawal to my linked checking account was completed 3 days ago, on December 4, but as of today, the 7th, I still see nothing in my BofA account. I was starting to panic a bit, but your comment reassures me a bit. Still, this is incredibly annoying/slow.

  38. Transfered money from my bluebird to my checking tue dec 4 and here it is dec 8 and nothing. I called and a rep and she told me that I transferred the money at 930pm so it could take 4 business days. Problem is that I actually transferred the money at 230pm. Lesson learned…do all transfers on Monday morning. That 2-3 day transfer time is wishful thinking, and probably not the norm.

  39. Stay away from bluebird, they have awful customer service. My account is on hold with deposit coming in any day and I can’t get a hold of a real person. I’ve spent an average of two hours a day for the last five days trying to get to talk to an actual person to help me with my problem. Day 6… still on hold. Left messages, nothing. Horrible, almost the worst customer service I have ever experienced.

  40. Anyone get their Bluebird card in less than 7-10 business days? I ordered mine last Friday and am hoping it arrives soon because I’m leaving the country this Sunday :-/

  41. Nm, got my card in the mail today :-D

  42. Hey team! I have a dilemma.. You guys seem just like the guys that can help.

    I had 2k on my bb card. I got $500 cash out at the ATM, and then went to Walmart to withdraw 500 more, and they advised me that the walmart withdrawal limits are in conjunction with the ATM withdrawal limits. I am trying to purchase a car where the dealer doesn’t take Amex. Is there anything I can do other than trying to buy vanilla visas off my bb card? I’ve already tried to purchase money orders and I was declined.. After waiting on hold for 20 min today for cc, they were extremely rude and unhelpful. Any loophole insight? Thanks all!

  43. @Jbrando - The aTM limit is $500 per day, but it is $2K per month, so you could get the full $2K out eventually.

  44. Update: The transfer from my BB to my checking account FINALLY hit on 12/14. It took 16 days from the time I requested the transfer until it posted to my checking account.

  45. DON’T USE BLUEBIRD AT ALL!!!! RIGHT NOW I AM BROKE BECAUSE OF THOSE DUMB ASSES. I TRANSFERRED 600 DOLLARS AND IT STILL HAS NOT POSTED TO MY ACCOUNT IT HAS BEEN 7 DAYS!!!!!! DON’T USE BLUEBIRD!!!!! TRUST ME!!!!!!! AND DON’T THINK ABOUT PAYING BILLS WITH THIS CARD. I COULND’T PAY MY DAMN RENT BECAUSE I CAN ONLY TAKE OUT 500 A DAY AND IF YOU GO OVER 2000 A MONTH YOU ARE SHORT FOR THAT WHOLE MONTH!!!!! DON’T USE BLUEBIRD!!!!!!!!!

  46. any news on whether the paypal deposits count as direct deposits for free ATM use?

  47. Went to my CVS in Vegas to buy Vanilla card using CC. They won’t accept CC anymore.
    My friend in Newark CA has the same problem. We had no problem 2 weeks ago. Is CVS changing the policy on Vanilla Card purchase using CC.

  48. @TY - Worked for us today!

  49. Hi, I opened a BB account on Mon. I’m still waiting for the confirmation email … Looks that this online banking is super slow.
    I have another question, how long usually takes to clear a written check for monthly rent, for example?
    I do also want to put my monthly rent to accumulate miles.

  50. @Manuel – I don’t know about a manual check, but I use electronic bill pay and it is cleared within a few days.

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