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UPDATE: Free Amex Bluebird checks are available until April 1, 2014.
By now, I am sure most of you are aware of American Express Bluebird Accounts. You’ve probably either read about it on this blog, another blog or have seen the numerous commercials. But essentially, it is a checking and debit card where you can make direct deposits, pay bills online, and take money out of an ATM.
The main purpose for the points and miles readers is that you can load Vanilla Reload cards to Bluebird and then use the pay bill feature online for a variety of bills (credit card bills, pay friends, mortgage, rent, etc.). Up until a month or so ago the only way to write a check to someone was through the online portal. While I never had any issues paying my rent this way, there have been some reports of checks getting lost through the system and huge hassles. Luckily though, American Express has added physical checks and through tomorrow, Tuesday May 21st you can order up to 100 checks for FREE. After that, you can still order checks, but they will cost you – 50 checks = $19.94 + $5.94 shipping/handling; and 100 checks = $26.94 + $6.94 shipping/handing. Ordering checks is definitely not cheap, so order yours today. 100 checks should last you some time, so it is definitely worth it.
To utilize the paper checks, you must pre-authorize the check every time. The amount that you authorize the check to be written for will be deducted from your Bluebird Available Funds immediately. Once you get the pre-authorization, you will need to write the 8-digit code provided on the front of the check. If you do not do this and the payee goes to deposit/cash the check, it will be declined! Additionally, if you are looking to write a check for more than $2,000, the pre-authorization processes will take 1-2 business days, so plan ahead.
I personally love that Bluebird added this on as a feature. It makes me feel much more comfortable handing someone a check or putting it in the mail myself instead of doing it online and not really knowing whether or not the check actually made it.
To order your free checks, sign onto your Bluebird account, click on the “My Account” drop down tab at the top, and select “Order Bluebird checks”. The checks will probably take about a week to arrive.