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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- American Express announced a new retailer participant in its reloadable prepaid service network, American Express Serve. With the addition of 4,100 Walmart stores across the United States, customers can now add cash to their Serve accounts for free at 19,500 7-Eleven, Walmart and CVS/pharmacy locations.
The addition of the Walmart stores to the American Express Serve and InComm free cash reload network makes it the largest such network in the U.S., according to Aite Group.
"By offering American Express Serve alongside Bluebird [by American Express] at Walmart, we're expanding our portfolio of products to meet the needs of more Walmart shoppers," said Dan Schulman, group president of enterprise growth at American Express. "Bluebird is a great option for the 'unhappily banked' who are looking for a true alternative to the fees and hidden charges often associated with debit and checking. With Serve, our full-service reloadable prepaid account, we can now provide the nearly 70 million Americans who are unbanked or underbanked a simple and affordable way to move and manage their money."
For a $1 monthly fee, American Express Serve offers customers the ability to direct deposit their paycheck for free, pay bills online for free, add checks to their account using mobile check capture, and get free ATM withdrawals at more than 24,000 ATMs nationwide. The monthly fee is waived if customers use direct deposit to add money to their account or add $500 or more to their account during a monthly statement period.
Once a customer adds cash to an American Express Serve account at the register, the money is immediately available to spend in-store or online where American Express cards are accepted. Customers can also use these funds to pay bills or transfer money from their balance available for everyday spending into a linked reserve to set aside money for future purchases like a vacation, big event or for emergency funds. Customers can add as much as $500 or as little as $20 in cash for free at the register.
Serve will be sold for an initial purchase price of $1.95 in Walmart stores in the prepaid section of checkout lanes and at Walmart MoneyCenters. Bluebird by American Express will continue to be available for Walmart customers seeking an alternative to a checking or debit account.
"We're proud to work with Walmart to expand our free cash reload network and add Serve to the retail aisles of its stores," said Stefan Happ, general manager of U.S. payment options at New York-based American Express. "We want to give our customers more options where they already shop."
To raise awareness, American Express is promoting Serve with a new television advertising campaign that showcases a selection of personal stories of Americans that are poorly served or excluded from the traditional financial system. The ads will begin airing this week and can be viewed on the American Express YouTube channel.
Complementary content as part of the integrated media campaign will appear across Serve channels and include an in-store radio integration with CVS/pharmacy. The new marketing campaign was developed in partnership with documentary filmmaker, Todd Krolczyk of Arts & Sciences Productions.