I’ve written lots about American Express Bluebird and how you can use it to pay bills you can’t normally pay with a credit card, send money to other Bluebird users, or write checks for regular expenses.
By loading your Bluebird account with Vanilla Reloads or pre-paid gift cards you’ve bought with a credit card, you can earn lots of miles and points on expenses you would have otherwise paid cash for. However, it’s become much harder to buy Vanilla Reloads with a credit card because CVS will no longer sell them with a credit card! But perhaps you stocked up!
Bluebird was going to start charging for check orders after April 1, 2014. But you can now order Bluebird checks for free until June 1, 2014!
This is a good deal, because Bluebird normally charges ~$26 for 50 checks, or ~$33 for 100 checks.
How Do You Order Checks?
1. Log in to Your Bluebird Account
Enter your username and password as you normally would to log in to your Bluebird account.
If you don’t have a Bluebird account, read my post about how to sign-up for Bluebird. You can also read my posts on how to load Bluebird with a credit card by buying Vanilla Reloads or pre-paid gift cards with a PIN.
Note: Starting April 4, 2014, CVS stopped accepting credit cards for Vanilla Reload purchases. But if you managed to buy Vanilla Reloads before the change, you can still load them to Bluebird and write checks or pay bills to liquidate them.
2. Find the “Order Checks” Link
First open the settings window by clicking “Settings” in the upper right hand corner. Then click “Order Checks.”
3. Choose the Number of Checks You Want
You can order 50 or 100 checks. Either way, they’re free, so you might as well order 100! Then click “Review.”
4. Place Your Order
Click “Place Order” to order your checks. They should arrive in ~2 weeks.
What If You’ve Ordered Free Checks Before?
I tried to order more checks, even though I’d gotten 100 free checks when Bluebird 1st started offering them. I got an error message.
I called American Express to double check, and
you only get free checks once per account. I’m glad I ordered 100 the 1st time!
How Do You Use Bluebird Checks?
You can use Bluebird checks to pay for most things you would use a regular check for.
It’s best to pay for things that can’t be paid by credit card. For example:
- Mortgage payments
- Income taxes (you can use a credit card but will get charged a fee)
- Property taxes
- Tuition and school fees
- Handymen, contractors, snow removal, yardwork
- Day care expenses
- Babysitters, music teachers, pet sitters
- Swimming or dance lessons, sign-up fees for sports teams
- Paying back friends or family
Remember that Bluebird also has a bill payment function, so if it’s a payment that can be mailed or done electronically, it usually makes more sense to use bill payment rather than write a check.
Emily and I use Bluebird checks to pay expenses like our plumber, cat sitter for Joelle, and salsa dancing lessons!
Here’s how to write a Bluebird check. You’ll need to have the check in front of you.
Note: You must have enough money in your Bluebird account to cover the check. The funds will be deducted immediately, not when the check is cashed!
1. Log in to Your Bluebird Account Then Click “Pay & Transfer”
Once you click “Pay & Transfer,” a dropdown menu will appear. Click on “Write a Check.”
2. Fill in Check Details and Enter PIN
Enter the check number from the front of your check, the amount, and a memo if you wish. Then click “Review.”
Then enter your PIN and click “Submit.”
3. Write Pre-Authorization Code on Your Check
Bluebird will confirm the check and give you an 8-digit pre-authorization code.
You must write the confirmation code on the front of the check for the check to be valid.
You’ll get an email from Bluebird when the check has been cashed. Remember, the money has already been taken out of your account!
You can still order free checks from American Express Bluebird. The deadline to order is extended until June 1, 2014.
Log in to your Bluebird account to order your checks (shipping is free, too). You can only order free checks once per account.
Bluebird checks can be used for almost anything. They’re great for paying for things you can’t normally use a credit card for, like handymen, babysitters, and lessons. Even the salsa dancing kind! 😉
What have you used a Bluebird check to pay for?