• Report: #977858

Complaint Review: BLUEBIRD AMERICAN EXPRESS

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  • Submitted: Tue, December 04, 2012
  • Updated: Fri, April 18, 2014

  • Reported By: Judy S — Tamarac Florida United States of America
BLUEBIRD AMERICAN EXPRESS
Internet United States of America

BLUEBIRD AMERICAN EXPRESS BLUEBIRD WALMART CARD WHAT IS AMERICAN EXPRESS DOING? TRYING TO HOLD ON TO OUR $$$ Internet

*Consumer Comment: Prepaid CC Companies Take Advantage of America's Poor Banking Regulations

*General Comment: Yes they hold your money, making money off your money

*General Comment: Try reading the fine print, or doing research on Something to avoid looking like an uneducated idiot.

*General Comment: Foreign vs. Domestic

*General Comment: Completely Satisfied Consumer

*Consumer Comment: Smarter than what you're working with.

*General Comment: Holds are normal

*Consumer Comment: I love this Card

*Consumer Comment: THIS CARD IS NONSENSE

*Consumer Comment: Bluebird is the worse card in the world

*Consumer Comment: Amex Bluebird and Gas Purchases

*Consumer Comment: Bluebird is the devil

*Consumer Comment: Nonsense

*Consumer Comment: This has nothing to do with Bluebird

*Consumer Comment: Customer service

*Consumer Comment: Multiple Gas Pumps

*Consumer Comment: American Express hate American workers.

*Consumer Comment: You are not alone

*Consumer Comment: Yes, they do.

*Consumer Comment: Not All Debit Cards Work That Way

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: this card is a joke

*Consumer Comment: Not necessarily an AMEX issue.

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THEY HOLD ON TO YOUR FUNDS!!!! WATCH OUT!!!

I purchased the Bluebird Card from Walmart to try it out. After creating an account and receiving the new card in the mail, I put $450 on the card. I was planning a road trip, so thought it would be a good idea to use it to buy gas and food while travelling. It worked fine for the first four transactions. After that the card declined at the next gas station. How ridiculous! I have more than $200 balance and it would not go through. Luckily I had cash and credit cards to use.

After getting back home, I tried to call them for 2 days at the 877-486-5990 number, and due to the high volume of calls, no one was available, and the phone hang up. Went online it shows a total balance of $211.00, but $0.00 available. Tried calling them again, same thing. Went online the next day, then all the funds are available. Not sure what their tactics are, but for American Express to be such a large company, this service is horrible! This is the year 2012, you do not need 3 days to process debit transactions. My bank knows my balance and what's available immediately! PLEASE GET A CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BLUEBIRD CUSTOMERS.

I would not recommend Bluebird to anyone and will close out this account. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/04/2012 11:59 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/BLUEBIRD-AMERICAN-EXPRESS/internet/BLUEBIRD-AMERICAN-EXPRESS-BLUEBIRD-WALMART-CARD-WHAT-IS-AMERICAN-EXPRESS-DOING-TRYING-TO-977858. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Prepaid CC Companies Take Advantage of America's Poor Banking Regulations

AUTHOR: FinanceGuy2008 - ()

As a former employee of a large credit card company, I have seen first hand the abuses and liberties taken by these unethical corporations to pry money from the hands of honest consumers.  The worst part about it is they do it using loopholes and unregulated areas of the U.S. government's banking legislation.  This government is not run by the people, for the people, or of the people... it has been taken over by corporations through legalized bribary called lobbying. 

Due to loose regulations, credit card companies and banks place holds on electronic transfers that are actually conducted in REAL TIME.  So technically speaking, the entire process could be completed in a matter of seconds - HOLDS ARE RARELY NECESSARY.  Unfortunately, the scumbags running these credit card companies have paid off the government to allow the holding of a consumer's funds, giving reasons such as "it takes 7 - 10 days for authorizations to fall off your account..".  This is absolute thievery, as the technology can process the transaction and drop the authorization in a matter of minutes, but they are not required BY LAW to do so.  They would rather leave you stranded on the side of the road during a snowstorm than release an $80 authorization. 

Unfortunately, Bluebird isn't the only credit card doing this.  Most of the prepaid card companies allow this to occur, and state it in their policies.  Just remember, they are not your friends, and all they want to do is make money off your money... and the law is in their favor.  Yes, it is unethical, but it is legal.  It makes me want to PUKE.  I use the card ONLY for person to person transactions and the occasional online transaction, but I leave the rest of my money in my wallet as cash, or put it in my savings account. 

These companies are out to make money, and yes, they will SCREW you when it comes to certain issues.  My advice as a former credit card company employee is the following:

1) NEVER USE YOUR CARD TO PAY AT THE GAS PUMP -  ALWAYS PRE-PAY INSIDE BEFORE PUMPING GAS

2) DON'T USE YOUR CARD TO PURCHASE ANYTHING YOU MAY HAVE TO RETURN TO THE STORE!  It can take up to two weeks to get a refund placed on your card, so unless you're willing to part with your money for half a month, go to the ATM and pay CASH for any item that you suspect may possibly need to be returned. 

3) DON'T USE THE CARD FOR IDENTIFICATION VERIFICATION PURPOSES which require an authorization be placed on your card.  It will take a while for that authorization to drop off.  They won't drop the authorization until they approach their legal deadline to do so. 

4)  NEVER, NEVER RELY ON A PREPAID CARD FOR CROSS COUNTRY TRAVEL!!!  NEVER!!!  IF you travel, use cash or travellers checks instead.  If you use a PREPAID CARD, it is very likely that something will happen, and you will be unable to access your money due to a hold or "TECHNICAL PROBLEMS"...   Trust me, it has happened to me!

I know this is disappointing, but I hope this will help you to avoid a lot of pain and headaches in the future.  It is very sad that Corporate America is full of greed-crazy, unethical scumbags... but it's been that way for many decades, and it's only getting worse.  Don't expect them to be your friends.  They will do everything they legally can to part you from your money.  This I can guarantee. 

Good Luck.

 

copy and paste the following link to watch a helpful video on prepaid Debit cards:

http://youtu.be/tDooptBGdqI?t=3m31s

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#2 General Comment

Yes they hold your money, making money off your money

AUTHOR: Consumer - ()

 Those people insulting or defending BlueBird are obviously Wal-Mart or AMEX employees. 

As someone with an excellent credit score over 730, let me thell you what is really going on.

"BlueBird" may not be "holding" you money but someone is (Wal-Mart or AMEX).  Why? because they are using the same finaicial sceam that PayPal uses.  They are delaying your transaction while they make money off your money.  Oh right, looking on the BlueBird website shows they transaction went through, they can claim they are not holding it but someone is.  Its the same old scam, they claim it was sent, the payee claims they didn;t get it and your stuck in the middle.  The consumer gets the screws as usual.

It's got nothing to do with the fine print as these jerks claim and try and make you sound stupid.  As consumers we know using any other credit or debit card is nearly real-time transactions.  There is no excuse for a 12 day hold etc.  They are simply delaying your transaction while they make money off your money, just like PayPal does.   

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#3 General Comment

Try reading the fine print, or doing research on Something to avoid looking like an uneducated idiot.

AUTHOR: Lauren Anne - ()

 so let me get this straight. You got a bluebird card. that means one of two things. #1You're too cheap to get a bank card #2 You have absolutely horrid credit and aren't even allowed to open a bank account. Now prior to using the card, you should have read the little piece of paper they send you with the card explaining all the protocol. IF you had read it, you would have found that the company does NOT hold.money. in fact, When you purchase gas at a gas station,and you swipe at the pump... MOST stations put a hold on $100+ until about 2 days later. (not bluebird policy, but gas station policy) You're also complaining that it's outsourcing the calls to India... well obviously. many places including government customer service hotlines are outsourcing calls to different countries. most lazy Americans don't want to be customer service reps because it's tedious work. AND they have to listen to assholes all day long who don't know what they're talking about. next, let's get on the whole "I had to wait 8 days" to have money credited to your account. AGAIN... most likely not bluebirds fault. probably the company you bought Something from that did that. as for bill pay transfer... it says it in black and white that it could take up to 12 business days to do the bill pay. so instead of complaining about bluebird and their policies, GO PAY IT WITH A MONEY ORDER. If you took 20 minutes to actually read the information about the card, you would understand why this stuff is happening. last but not least... you're saying amex is a crap company because no one takes it right? Did you know that it's actually extremely expensive to take ANY credit cards as payment?? The company charges the business a percentage of each and every transaction. amex is more expensive than the other cards, which is why most places don't accept it. those places are too cheap to pay the extra dollar to take amex. MAYBE YOU SHOULD RESEARCH SOMETHING BEFORE YOU USE IT!! AND START READING THE FINE PRINT!!

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#4 General Comment

Foreign vs. Domestic

AUTHOR: iam8worthy - ()

I read most of the reports regarding outsourcing BlueBird to India.  But, do you know that even your credit reports are outsourced to India?  Do your research.  Most calling centers are in India.  EVER SEEN THE SHOW "OUTSOURCED?" Ever called the 800 number to any of the 3 credit reporting agencies?  Have you ever noticed on your credit report there are duplications for the same account? This may be due to the fact of just a simple misspelling of your name thereby thinking it's a new account.  These days, companies are checking their bottom line and the best thing to do is OUTSOURCE to foreign countries to handle DOMESTIC financial matters.  Go figure.

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#5 General Comment

Completely Satisfied Consumer

AUTHOR: Don - ()

I have had nothing but a positive experience with my Bluebird account. Yes, the customer service is located in India, but what call center isn't? I've needed to speak with customer service a handful of times and have never had to wait more than 3 or 4 minutes to be connected with a live person.  

As far as putting holds on ones account-  All credit/debit cards do this at gas pumps.  In fact this is very clearly mentioned in the Bluebird FAQ. Before I blew my credit rating, I had a VISA debit card which would put the gas pump hold on my account way back in the mid 90's.

The account, transactions, even the first couple hundred checks were totally free.

No other consumer non-credit checked debit card comes close to the value of Bluebird.

Sure, if I hadn't of exploded my credit rating to the point of chex systems black-balling me at every bank known to man, I would have chosen a debit card from a local bank, and would have preferred it being Visa or Mastercard, since Amex isn't well supported by online merchants.  But for being totally free of any fees whatsoever, it sure beats those awful prepaid cards that charge for every deposit you make. Total nonsense. They charge you for handing over your money to them. But, that would be the subject of another ripoff report.

All in all I find Bluebird to be the most socially responsible "alternative" debit/checking account by far.

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#6 Consumer Comment

Smarter than what you're working with.

AUTHOR: shopgirlpicks - ()

If you don't understand how the card works then you shouldn't use the card. Billpay isn't a wire transfer, you are shown what date payment will be received before you complete the transaction. If you pay at the pump your entire balance will be held for several days. These and many other situations/questions are addressed on the Bluebird website, READ THEM!  And if you still don't understand, read them again. 

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#7 General Comment

Holds are normal

AUTHOR: bfranklin825 - ()

When I fill up using my credit card at certain gas stations my credit card will get a hold on it of $125, even though I only pumped $40 in gas. This is a common occurrance and has nothing to do with the card company. It is the gas station putting that hold on because it doesn't know how much gas you actually pumped until it is submitted later on... If you filled up a few times than the gas stations you stopped at probably authorized your card for more than your purchase to make sure you have enough to cover the bill. This is "NORMAL". You should plan accordingly when working with a pre-paid card.

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#8 Consumer Comment

I love this Card

AUTHOR: Sgtkeebler - ()

For a prepaid card there are zero fees!!! Other cards I have looked at charge you a maintmence fee, a fee to put money on the card, they charge you everytime you swipe your card. Not Bluebird!!! Bluebird is not kidding when they say zero fees!! I love Bluebird i was reading all these complaints and just thinking wow I have never had any problems with this card and when I did customer service fixed it instantly. I think people who are complaining about bad customer service treat the people badly because some of them are foriengers. Whenever i talk to customer service I use my pleases, thank you's, yes mam, yes sir, and they fix my problem instantly. 

Dont let these bad reports lead you away from this card or get the wrong ideal. Because this card has been the best banking alternative I have ever had, and I never want to go back to a bank after I started with BlueBird. I ordered myself some checks I can pay bills using checks, or their free bill pay. With BlueBird it is impossible to overdraft your card if you have a bad habit of doing that, which makes it 0 overdraft fees. 

I have a feeling these people who are complaining about this card are the type of people to throw a fit if their  1$ cheeseburger was wrong at mcdonalds, so dont listen to them. This is the best pre-paid card you could ever ask for with 0 fees, and it acts like a checking account, and the most friendly customer service ever. I mean if you treat anybodys coustmer service with zero respect your not going to get anywhere as seen in these complaints.

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#9 Consumer Comment

THIS CARD IS NONSENSE

AUTHOR: krisi - ()

Consider yourself lucky for not [yet] having experienced any of the issues these consumers have spoken about.  One thing that generally tends to validate claims, making one begin to believe they are factual, rather than just angry rants by a disgruntalled customer, is CONSISTENCY. 

It is true that when you call the customer service #, you are calling another country, as American (HA) Express HAS out-sourced this contract-this becomes obvious because any time you call, you are stuck speaking with someone with a thick, Indian accent.  Multiple times I have had to ask to be transferred because either I cannot understand the customer service rep, or, because it becomes obvious that they are not able to understand what it is that I am asking.

Here was why I closed my account:

Back in June, I paid three bills with my bluebird card.  Two were on autopay, and had been for at least 6 months [my cell phone and internet bills]. The third was a new auto insurance policy that I purchased online with my bluebird card.

All three bills totaled less than $200, and, at the time, I had about $1300 in the account.

After 5 days, my phone was shut off for nonpayment.  They stated that bluebird had returned the payment request.  When I called the phone company, I had my blubird account pulled up online to verify that the money was actually in the account.  As I was talking to them, they ran the payment request again.  It was for $49.95.  It immediately appeared as a deduction on my bluebird account, yet the phone company said that yet again, they received a 'declined' message from bluebird!?

Then, 10 days after purchasing a new auto policy, receiving a new card, signing the papers, etc...I received a cancelation notice!  Apparently, bluebird confirmed the purchase initially, but then refused to pay, stating something like that the account was inactive!  When I called them, they were unable to even remotely answer my questions.  They hadn't a clue.  But due to their errors, incompetency and lack of integrity, I was faced with having no car insurance, and no phone!

My suggestion---GET YOUR MONEY OUT AND DON'T TRUST THEM!!!!!!!

Oh, and don't assume that because this didn't happen to you that its not true.  It's a big world.

 

 

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#10 Consumer Comment

Bluebird is the worse card in the world

AUTHOR: worst card ever - ()

warning!!!!!! blue bird holds on to your money with out consent. i deposited money on to my new bb card.. they kept switching my ballance with out me making any purchases... india has no answers they told me they were having tec issues... ive been calling for 5 days.. they wont credit the money back. what bank just takes money out of your account and makes you wait till they feel like giving it back....... i hate this company and only been with them for a week.....im reading reports and this isan issue they been having since 2011... if they see the error why cant they credit the funds? 

this card is dangerous. what if you need gas, pampers or what is you get stuck somewere and they pull this bs... something to think about when choosing this card..

I am highly upset because i missed work and it wasnt my fault. i hope someone takes legal,action agaist theu guys..

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#11 Consumer Comment

Amex Bluebird and Gas Purchases

AUTHOR: Red - ()

I've noticed that gas stations are posting signs, or notices, to customers that they (gas compaines) will freeze an equivlent (or greater) amount relative to your credit or debit card purchase. So it's probably not Amex Bluebird entirely, if at all, on the funds being frozen for 'x' amount of time. A cash advance prior to travel might help... 

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#12 Consumer Comment

Bluebird is the devil

AUTHOR: Cameron1977 - ()

This card is an absolute rip off!!!! Let’s do a why bluebird/Amax sucks list shall we:

#1) when signing up for blue bird they fail to realize that you can only withdraw $2000 a month in cash?!?! It’s my cash I should be able to withdraw it all if I see fit!!!!

#2) My card was charged accidently for $130.81. When the company that charged the funds voided the transaction (one hour later) it to 8 days for them to return my money to me…. 8 freaking days to get my money back, but they are quick to take my money from me.

#3) I live in WA. State and nobody in the county or state offices except American express (that should have been my first sign). As a matter of fact 6-10 places I go do not except this crappy card.

#4) The wire transfers are not wire transfers. For example I tried to pay my rent through wire transfer with the card, and what happened? They mailed them a check for my rent…. 8 days later!!!! 8 DAYS!!!!!!

#5) Not one American works for the company. As a matter of fact it’s in India!!!

#6) Was turned away in a grocery line…. Twice for card being denied, and had to walk away empty handed and embarrassed. When I called India/American express they apologized and told me they card companies server was down (and was for 4 days).

 Look I can go on and on, but the point is save yourself money, time, headache, embarrassment, and general hatred of this company, and go with a real card company… believe me WHATEVER fee’s they will charge you will be well worth it!!! Can’t say enough about how much you will hate this card!!!

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#13 Consumer Comment

Nonsense

AUTHOR: Dal - ()

All of you who are bashing the card simply don't have an idea of the value of what's offered.  The hold on funds at a gas pump is something done on EVERY type of credit card when you pay at the pump.  It has nothing to do with AMEX or the card but the cycle time for the gas station to batch their payments for settlement.  Get off your lazy * and go inside to prepay.  Problem solved.  

I personally haven't had a problem with the customer service and suspect some of those complaining are simply people who don't like foreigners.  

The good about this card far outweigh the bad.  I could tell some industry insider info on credit card vs debit card but anyone interested in finding the merits and value of the card should research on their own.  I only wish they offered this card for small businesses.  

 

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#14 Consumer Comment

This has nothing to do with Bluebird

AUTHOR: wildcat1100 - ()

First of all, what fee did you pay to load that $450 to your account? (The answer is $0.00, as opposed to every other pre-paid debit card in the world today.)

You obviously used the card out at the pump, and were too lazy to go inside and pay. Had you gone inside, this would not have been an issue. The hold on your funds has nothing to do with Bluebird. Why would Bluebird want to hold your funds? It's the gas station. Some gas stations do this to make sure you don't have $5 on the card, and then go on to buy $70 worth of gas. Think about it. Between the gas station and Bluebird, who stands to lose money when someone pays with a pre-paid card at the pump? It's the gas station. Some gas stations still don't hold your funds, which is why - for some people - this has not been an issue with paying at the pump. Had you used any other card, the same thing would have happened. Bluebird has no control over this.
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#15 Consumer Comment

Customer service

AUTHOR: misplacedtexan - (United States of America)

I spent over 1 1/2 hrs. on the phone with a bunch of idiots in India trying to find out why they could not confirm my information. Ended up telling them to refund my money,and was told it would be 7-10 days,and they would not refund the $5 it cost me at Walmart to purchase and add funds to this piece of crap debit card! Nothing but a ripoff,they should change the name from American Express to India hurry up and wait! Really now,American Express outsourced to India??? Never again,AE has gone the way of most corporations in this country! At one time this country was self sufficient, didn't need or want other countries goods,we did it ourselves! Selling the United States...it's a shame!We as Americans need to get back to our roots,to hell with everybody else!Take care of our own first and foremost!  
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#16 Consumer Comment

Multiple Gas Pumps

AUTHOR: Miss_Huntress - (United States of America)

I have used my Mastercard debit card as well as a previous Visa debit card at multiple different gas stations in different states and never had this problem. I travel quite often and use my debit card for the reason I don't have to have cash on me. I used my card on vacation and never had this problem either. It may be the company that issued your card but as I said not all cards are like this.
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#17 Consumer Comment

American Express hate American workers.

AUTHOR: Timothy - (United States of America)

If the American Express blue bird people didn't hate American workers, they'd hire Americans to man their service centers. Blue Bird service centers are in PI and India. So, American Express can kiss my big brown behind, and I'll do business with company's that hire Americans, in America, too service Americans.

 The big money corporations don't want to hire Americans, they don't want to pay a living wage, they are greedy, and Americans are not taking it any more. Beware of the American consumer might. If we get in it our minds to boycott greedy corporations, they can sell their junk where they have it made.

Sincerely,
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#18 Consumer Comment

You are not alone

AUTHOR: hylifavrd - (United States of America)

This same thing happened to me! But it is not BlueBird as much as i cant stand this card!! It is the gas station! Everytime you use the credit option at any gas station the gas station will retain funds up the 3times the amount of the cost of your gas just to insure they get their money!! This is also true when using a regular bank visa/mastercard debit card as credit. It is ALWAYS best to use the card as debit inside the gas station.
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#19 Consumer Comment

Yes, they do.

AUTHOR: Flynrider - (USA)

"  I  use it all the time for gas and pay at the pump. I have never had a problem with it posting an amount and taking 3-5 days for it to clear.  "

   If the particular gas station you are using does not process a hold (it's up the the merchant), then it's possible that you would not have this issue.   I posted because a large percentage of 'pay at the pump' transactions will involve a hold.  There have been many similar complaints posted to this site over the years from people who did not understand why this happens.

 I purchase gas while out shopping and most days by the time I get home it has already cleared my account. "

   If your debit card is of the common Visa/Mastercard type, they all use the same system.  There are merchant processors and clearinghouses involved in posting the final transaction and it does take 3-5 days.   If you see something on your account the same day, you are looking at a hold (sometimes called 'pending') transaction.    It is not possible for a debit transaction to post and clear your account the same day that you make it.    They system does not work that way.

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#20 Consumer Comment

Not All Debit Cards Work That Way

AUTHOR: Miss_Huntress - (United States of America)

I've had a debit card on my checking account for 12 years now. I  use it all the time for gas and pay at the pump. I have never had a problem with it posting an amount and taking 3-5 days for it to clear. I purchase gas while out shopping and most days by the time I get home it has already cleared my account. I'm not sure what card you have, but not all are that bad.

To the Original Poster:
The next trip you need to take you might consider using your regular debit card. If you need to keep track of expenses, in the past I have opened a separate account at my regular bank and been issued a debit card. I just deposit the money I need for my trip and use my card. I've never had the problem you describe. I really hope you can get it resolved soon. Best of luck to you!
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#21 REBUTTAL Owner of company

this card is a joke

AUTHOR: stef - (United States of America)

I have had the american express bluebird card for a couple months and use it on a regular basis, I set up a portion of my paycheck to be directly deposited onto my card and the first direct deposit went fine was able to makes purchases use the atm my second direct deposit was sent back to my employer they said I had never activated my card so the direct deposit wouldn't go thru even thought he could see my transactions that i had just used my card the day before, I know have to wait for my money to go back to my employers bank, it was a huge inconvenience and have since cancelled my card. Don't even waste your money on this card, the person on the phone at customer service didn't speak much english so besides the fact I had no money from my direct deposit I couldnt understand most of what he said, so frustrating!
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#22 Consumer Comment

Not necessarily an AMEX issue.

AUTHOR: Flynrider - (USA)

While there is no excuse for the lousy customer service support, what you experienced is common to all debit type cards.

When debit cards are used at a self service pump, the gas station sends a "hold" transaction which can be anywhere from $1 to $100 (it's up to the station).    The hold is generated on the initial swipe, before the gas is pumped.   They do this because they do not know how much gas you are going to pump and they want to be sure you have enough funds to cover the purchase.    The hold remains on your account and ties up that amount of your available balance until the actual transaction amount posts to your account.  It usually takes between 3 and 5 days for a transaction to post.   

To avoid this issue, its best not to use a debit type card at a self serve pump.   If you pay with the card inside, after you've pumped your gas, then the hold is only applied for the actual amount of the transaction. 

"  This is the year 2012, you do not need 3 days to process debit transactions. My bank knows my balance and what's available immediately! "

 Actually, it does take 3 days or so for a credit or debit transaction to post to an account (which is different from the authorization that happens when a card is initially swiped).    A merchant sends all of its transactions in a daily batch to its card servicing company.  That company then sends the transactions to a clearing house where the transactions are then sent to the cardholders bank for final posting.    
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