One of my recent posts explores the differences between the American Express Bluebird and Redbird (Target Prepaid Redcard) cards for points/miles-earning strategy. I made the case that Bluebird is actually the better option for people looking to earn large amounts of points/miles, even despite the increased cost of this method. If you haven’t read that post, I encourage you to.
Over the last week, however, I’ve found that 3 of my 7 Bluebird accounts had been locked. I had already loaded money on to them, but was unable to access the accounts online to withdraw funds or pay bills. One account actually allowed me to log in but showed a balance of $0, which gave me a bit of a panic attack since it should have had $2.5K on it. I didn’t know it was locked until I logged in to the “My Bluebird” mobile application, where I received the following screen.
I had my friends/family (the one’s whose names appear on the cards) call to see what the issue was. While I’m not entirely sure what happened, it appears that there was some kind of audit done on certain accounts and some were locked for no particular reason. There was no suspicious activity or anything unusual on any of the cards, and each of them allowed me to load money without an issue.
What I’m unsure of, however, is whether the accounts were locked before or after I loaded the money onto them (I didn’t try to log in before loading). In the end, two of my accounts were fixed without issue and I had access to my money immediately. The third had a small complication because the account owner’s email address and physical address had changed, so verification needs to be faxed before the account can be reset. I can still withdraw money from an ATM up to $2K per month, and I doubt it’ll take longer than that to get reset and have electronic access to the rest of my money.
I initially tweeted that I was having difficulty with some accounts, and over the next few days I received messages from several people saying something similar had happened to them. A couple of people even mentioned it happening to their Redbird account as well. My recommendation is for you to log in to each of your Bluebird/Serve/Redbird accounts to ensure everything looks as it should. If not, hopefully it’s just a matter of a simple phone call from the card-holder to resolve.