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• The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart and American Express announced yesterday that they will roll out "a prepaid card that they say offers unique services designed to help shoppers manage and control their everyday finances."

The card, called Bluebird, is described as acting "like a checking account but without the fees that have increasingly frustrated shoppers. It will have no minimum balance and no monthly, annual or overdraft fees. They say the only fees that will be associated with the card will be transparent and within the user's control, such as out of network ATM withdrawals by consumers who don't use direct deposit.

"Instead, what Bluebird will be loaded with is a number of features, including the ability to deposit a check to one's Bluebird account by simply taking a picture with a smart phone. It will also offer the same fraud protections in an event the card is stolen or lost as other standard cards."

CNBC reports that Walmart "is expected to offer more details of plans to expand its small stores at its annual investor meeting Wednesday.

"As of the end of July, Wal-Mart had 10 'Express' stores and had ramped up its 'Neighborhood Market' concept to 217 locations." Analysts say that Walmart "is just beginning its small-format store drive, but the concept could help it increase its position inside city centers..."
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