Is Go Bank Better Than American Express Bluebird?

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Link:  Go Bank Application

Go Bank is a new checking account alternative which is very similar (and perhaps better?) than American Express Bluebird. 

Go Bank 10
Say Hello to Miles & Points!

You can:

The Go Bank debit card has the potential to turbo charge the way we earn miles and points.  You can pay rent, utilities college tuition, mortgages, and even credit card bills and potentially earn lots of miles and points!

Go Bank
My Go Bank Debit Card

For example, say you have to spend $3,000 within 3 months on a credit card.  You can buy Visa Gift Cards with a PIN with your credit card (from grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores etc.) and load them on your Go Bank debit card. You will pay a $5 to $6 fee for the gift card.

Even Better With a PIN!
Even Better With a PIN!

Buying the Gift Cards with a PIN with your credit card will count towards the spending requirement on your credit card and earn miles and points.  You then use your Go Bank card to pay your loans such as your mortgage, student loans, rent etc. or to get cash back which you can’t usually do with a credit card.

I prefer the Go Bank Bill Pay (you can set up recurring payments unlike with Bluebird and the monthly limit is higher) and customer support to that of American Express Bluebird.  The Go Bank interface seems much better designed than the American Express Bluebird interface.

But Go Bank is owned by GreenDot, which arbitrarily closes accounts, so please read the warning at the end of the post.  This isn’t for everyone!

Go Bank

Go Bank is run by Greendot (a prepaid card issuer) and is an FDIC insured on-line bank.  You can’t immediately open an account because Go Bank is limiting the number of sign-ups.  But I received my invitation in about 3 to 4 weeks after requesting an invitation.

Go Bank 1
Request a Go Bank Membership

You can request an invitation for a Go Bank account via this link.

My Experience

3 to 4 weeks after requesting an invite, I received an invite and signed up for a Go Bank card.  I deposited the $50 needed to order a debit card, but I could not order a custom debit card with one of our pictures from Hawaii!

I called customer service, and was almost immediately connected with a US based representative.  She explained that there was nothing which she could do, but that I’d be automatically sent a regular debit card because my custom image was not accepted.  About a week later, I received my Go Bank card.

Go Bank 3-001
My Go Bank Card
1.   Loading at Wal-Mart.   I took my Go Bank debit card to a regular cash register & to the Wal-Mart Money Center and was able to load it with a Vanilla Visa gift card with a PIN and with a US Bank issued gift card with a PIN which I had bought with a credit card.
Go Bank 4
Loading the Go Bank Card at Wal-Mart

The cashier was a little hesitant at first because she had never seen a Go Bank card, but I asked her if she could try and sure enough I was able to load it with my Visa gift card with no fees charged at Wal-Mart!

But my Go Bank balance, (printed on the receipt) didn’t increase with my 2nd and 3rd reload at Wal-Mart.  But I checked the online app and my Go Bank balance had increased.

What are the odds that I would bump into a Million Mile Secret reader loading his Bluebird card at Wal-Mart as well!

2.   ATM Withdrawal.   I withdrew $100 from a US Bank ATM which was one of the fee-free ATMs, and verified that I wasn’t charged a fee!
Go Bank 5
Withdrawing Money With the Go Bank Card
3.   Cash Back.   The Go Bank card is a debit card which means that you can use it to get cash back at stores.  I was able to get cash back from various stores using my Go Bank card!
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Groceries & Cash Back!
 4.   Money Orders.   You can buy Money Orders with the Go Bank card at places such as USPS post offices, Wal-Mart, Kroger-owned grocery and gas stations, and other locations. 5.  Bill Pay.   I made small test payments to see how the Bill Pay system works and will post in more detail soon!  I really liked being able to set recurring payments, so that I can schedule my rent and student loan payments and not have to worry about them!

However, the terms say that you can’t use the Bill Pay service to make tax payments.

Go Bank 7
Bill Pay With Go Bank

Go Bank Fees

Go Bank will make its money from interchange fees (the fee which shops pay to banks whenever a customer uses a card for a purchase) and interest in Go Bank accounts.  They also claim that customers will love their Go Bank account so much that they will voluntarily pay a fee of $0 to $9 per month!

There is NO fee for joining or using GoBank.  You can customize a debit card for a $9 one-time fee, but I wasn’t able to submit a picture for my debit card.

1.   ATM Fees.   There is no fee for withdrawing money from a network of 40,000 ATMs.  There is a $2.50 fee in addition to fees charged by the ATM owner if you use any other ATM.

You can find a free ATM via this page on the Go Bank website.  Or you can use their app to very easily find an ATM when you are out.

However there is a 3% foreign transaction fee (in addition to the $2.50 Go Bank fee and the fee charged by the ATM owner) for using an ATM outside the US.

2.   Foreign Transaction Fee.   Unfortunately, there is a 3%  foreign transaction fee for charges which are not in US dollars.  American Express Bluebird doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, so this is the one area where Bluebird could be better. 3.   Bill Pay Fees.   There is NO fee for making bill payments such as mortgage or loan payments, paying your rent, etc.

This means that you can buy a Visa gift card with a PIN at a grocery store or drug store or office supply store with a miles earning credit card.  You will earn miles or points for buying the gift card.

You can then load your Go Bank card at Wal-Mart with the gift card card and use Go Bank’s Bill Pay to pay your mortgage or other bills and earn miles and points!

4.   Monthly Fees.   Go Bank doesn’t charge a monthly fee, but gives you the option to pay from $0 to $9 per month.  If you like their service and product, you could consider sending them a few dollars each month!
Go Bank 8
How Much Do You Want to Pay?

GO Bank Limits

I haven’t personally verified the limits below.

1.   Daily Spending Limits.   You can spend up to $3,000 per day.  This includes the ATM withdrawal limit of $500 per day.

The limits reset at 12 midnight Pacific Standard Time.

2.   Daily Load Limits.   You can load up to $2,500 per day and the maximum load is $1,100 per transaction or load.

The limits reset at 12 midnight Pacific Standard Time.

3.   Bill Pay Limits.   There is a limit of $5,000 per bill pay transaction. 

But customer service said that I could send multiple payments in a day if my Go Bank balance was large enough.  This is very helpful for folks who want to pay down a large loan balance.

4.   Maximum Balance.   The maximum balance on your Go Bank card is $50,000.


Warning:  You should NOT experiment with the Go Bank debit card and reload card if you can’t afford to be without the money loaded in your Go Bank account.  Many people complain that Green Dot (which owns Go Bank) arbitrarily closes accounts and that it takes months to get your money back. – Do NOT fund Go Bank and then immediately withdraw money from an ATM or transfer money to your checking account.  That is very easy to detect.  Withdraw only as much money as an average person would – that is in the hundreds of dollars and NOT thousands of dollars per week. – Use Go Bank for lots of routine transactions as well.  If all you do with Go Bank is withdraw money from the ATM or to your bank account, you are likely to be shut down because you are unprofitable for GreenDot. – You WILL get shut down if you try to spend tens of thousands of dollars per month at any store with any one card. – I can’t give you an exact amount  and you’ve got to decide for yourself what is a reasonable limit. – Alternate with other credit cards so that you’re not buying too many gift cards with just one credit card.

Bottom Line

You can request a Go Bank card online at Go

Go Bank opens up a whole new world of point earning opportunities, but you have to go easy.  Otherwise you risk having your Go Bank account shut down.  I use my Bluebird and Go Bank to help meet credit card minimum spending requirements and to pay my loans and rent which otherwise wouldn’t earn miles and points.

Stay tuned for more posts on Go Bank!


Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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7 months ago

does this work w the simon mall visas, too? what about the vanilla visas?

7 months ago

does this work with vanilla visas?

9 months ago

0I have had a gobank card now since 2017. My personalized card stopped working at Point of Sales and ATM so I ordered a new one on November 13th 2019. My paycheck direct deposits to this account. When I ordered a new one account features like send money or the ability to send Western Union for disabled. They’re advertised this is a checking account but it’s actually just a glorified debit card because ACH transfers are not allowed and the feature that they still advertise under the terms and conditions or you can send to PayPal is no longer available as of November 13th well, imagine that. I’ve had four paychecks direct deposited now I have sent them 25 emails and called numerous times. The day before Thanksgiving I called crying and beg them to please help me figure out a way to get some money from my account and one of their customer service supervisors offered to have my card sent expedited delivery. I did not want to do this since it is already been 2 weeks, but the Friday after Thanksgiving I called back because my card still hadn’t came. I was then informed by a supervisor from customer service that my card has been cancelled but not ordered. Today is Thursday December 5th my personalized card has still not came. I have absolutely no cash, I also have children, and we have no food, no gas to even make it to work to earn more money, and go bank is not offering me any solutions. Do not bank with them. This is the worst experience I have ever had and the fact that no one there is able to offer me a remedy or even another number to call to ask for help is absolutely ridiculous. I feel like my money is being held hostage when I know that a bank has the capability of sending the money to me some way somehow.

10 months ago

Hi. I don’t get the idea of the gift cards. I usually pay my bills online. But my rent, I paid with a check. But it takes too long to withdraw from the account. So I will need to get am money order total of 1275.00. if my limit at store for cash is 500 per day. Then I will need to go several days in a row to get to that amount. ? It seems ridiculous to do that. Thank you.

10 months ago

Is Go Bank debit card free to get ? One has to get it online or can get it from WM? also any monthly fee to pay to have this card?

1 year ago

Its a great pleasure reading your post.
I’d really like to help appreciate it with the efforts you get with writing this post.

Andrew Wan
Reply to  Kennedy
1 year ago

Thanks, we are glad you enjoy it!

1 year ago

Also the disadvantage of Gobank and Walmart prepaid cards is they will block your card if you got a return refund back on the card if you did not make that purchase on the card.

For example

You purchased an item on your 1st debit card. Next you return the item and you used your gobank card instead of the original card you used (Your 1st debit card). They will have a right to block your card and submit receipts that you bought the item and returned it. Green Dot is strict on return fraud.

Overall GoBank is a good card to use. I would recommend you watch your card like a hawk and if you make online purchases to keep it to minimal since disputing transactions is a hassle and not as good as your regular bank.

1 year ago

If you want to avoid account closure do not spend any money outside of the US or in areas you never shop at. I would recommend that you open up an account with Chime since Chime is a real mobile online bank and is better than GoBank.

The disadvantage of Gobank and walmart money cards is spending limits and also spending habits. They will close your card if you make heavy purchases that are outside of your state. If you purchase a lot of online transactions through paypal and get hit with a international fee, do not use this card. They will close your card immediately and you have to call to get a check cut for you.

If you are looking for worry free, go with Chime Bank. Google it. The downside you have to use green dot reload paks or load the card through green dot if you want to load your card from cash. OTher than that the card never gets closed regardless of what you use.

If you need another alternative than GoBank go with Chime. They use Bancorp Bank

Reply to  David
10 months ago

They are shit don’t buy more then 3000 they are scammer and you don’t get back you money fuck