Amex Serve master thread (2017-2018)

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This thread is a continuation of the 2016 Serve master thread located at Amex Serve (2016) [Many shutdowns starting Jan 8, 2016]


10/25/17 another round of Serve and Bluebird shutdowns. Prior to this round, the most recent shutdowns were in January 2017.

On January 8, 2016, most Serve cards that were being used for MS were closed by Amex due to "unusual activity". Recurring waves of shutdowns have continued.

As of April 16, 2015 regular Serve cards will only accept American Express network cards for online credit card loads.
Softcard Serve accounts are apparently grandfathered in the old system and continue to work as before, being able to load Mastercard, Visa, and Discover (see below).

For additional information on using prepaid debit cards, see PIN available now for Visa/MC prepaid debit cards.

You cannot make an ACH pull from Serve. The direct deposit account and routing numbers are for deposits only.

https://www.serve.com/#/add-cash

If your card doesn't say "debit" on the front, it isn't a debit card.

Loads at 7-11 and CVS are cash only. Debit cards are NOT allowed.

Loads at Walmart have been confirmed with debit cards. Self checkout does not work for loading Serve. Many Walmart stores are enforcing a rule against the use of prepaid debit cards when loading, even though the register and the MCE do not enforce. Do not make your prepaid debit cards visible. Show them a bank debit card if asked, then discreetly use your prepaid card when asked to swipe. Otherwise, you may be asked by management to never visit the MC (Walmart Money Center) again to load.

Debit loading at Family Dollar appears to be limited to $500 per day per store total (not per person or per account). Whoever gets there first gets the load for the day. Troubleshooting loading problems at FD

Loads at Dollar General - Works with Vanilla VGC and Metabank VGC. Able to load $1,500 per card per day. Vanilla MC may work, not tested.

Regular Serve
  • Serve loading via VR/MP (Vanilla Reload/Moneypak) or WM/FD load: $2,500/day and $5,000 total per calendar month
  • Online Debit Card Load - $200/day and $1,000/month
    • Online Credit Card Load (AmEx only) - $200/day and $1,000/month
      • Checking/Savings Account - $2,000/month
        • Checks - $2,000/day and $10,000/month
          • ATM Withdrawals - $750/day and $2,000/month
You can combine the three methods above and load a total of $7k/month to a single Serve account for miles/points earning purposes, but beware that you're also subject to a $10,000/month add money limit which also includes check deposits, ACH transfers, and Serve transfers.

Softcard Serve
Softcard has shutdown and there is no longer any way to apply for this version.
  • Serve loading via VR/MP (Vanilla Reload/Moneypak) or WM/FD load: $2,500/day and $5,000 total per calendar month
    • Online Debit Card Load - $500/day and $1,500/month
      • Online Credit Card Load - $500/day and $1,500/month
        • Checking/Savings Account - $2,000/month
          • Checks - $2,000/day and $10,000/month
            • ATM Withdrawals - $750/day and $2,000/month


You can combine the three methods above and load a total of $8k/month to a single Serve account for miles/points earning purposes, but beware that you're also subject to a $10,000/month add money limit which also includes check deposits, ACH transfers, and Serve transfers.

Temp Serve
You can only load a maximum of $500/day, $1000/month on a temporary card. Once you get your permanent card, then you can load more. The initial $500 when you purchase the temp card doesn't count against the $5,000/month load limit.

OneVip Card: (Mucho gracias, AndrewTheMan)
This card is essentially just like the regular, fee-free, "old" serve. You may reload this card up to $2,500/day; $1,000/transaction at Walmart (not impacted by Blue Bird daily limit change). Have not tested FD or anywhere else. KATE takes this no problems..
You can use this to load the FIDO AMEX up to 1k a month.
Amex stopped taking applications for OneVip at the end of 2017. Cards acquired before then still work.

Limits for online debit card and credit card loads reset at 9 PM PST/12 AM EST

Online Credit Card Loads
Only one card can be linked at a time.

For online CC/DC loads, the name on the Serve account is supposed to match the name of the primary or joint cardholder. So using someone else's CC/DB card to load a Serve account is not allowed.

A few report no problems loading with an AU card in the Serve account holder's name. Increase your chances by making sure the AUs social security number is on file with the Credit Card.

When adding a new card you will usually need to call Serve Account security (1-800-555-4318) for verification of the new card on the second load try. This verification usually requires uploading of a photo of your ID and the credit card. You may pre-emptively avoid the error by going to the above website, logging in, and uploading a scan of a photo ID and the card you are trying to add. You may call back to expedite approval. One person with a Serve/Softcard account reported being sent to the main Serve number for this process.

https://www.serve.com/help/#add-money-5

Regular Serve Credit Card Loading

Regular Serve can only load from American Express network cards. In addition to those issued directly by American Express, this includes the following:
  • AAA Rewards AmEx
    • Alitalia AmEx
      • Bank of America Accelerated Rewards AmEx
        • Bank of Hawaii AmEx Card with MyBankoh Rewards
          • Bloomingdale's AmEx
            • Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select AmEx
              • Citi Dividend AmEx (not obtainable unless specifically requested)
                • Citi Thank You Preferred AmEx (not obtainable unless specifically requested)
                  • Dillard's AmEx
                    • FNBO AmEx
                      • FNBO Graphite AmEx
                        • FNBO Platinum AmEx
                          • Macy's AmEx
                            • Penfed Premium Travel Rewards AmEx
                              • SavingStar AmEx
                                • Travelocity AmEx
                                  • US Bank Flexperks AmEx
                                    • USAA Cash Rewards/Rewards Plus AmEx
                                      • Wells Fargo Propel World/365 AmEx


Softcard Serve Credit Card Loading

If you are fortunate enough to be grandfathered into a Softcard Serve Account, you can also load other credit cards beside American Express cards. Softcard Serve is not available to new applicants anymore so you'll need to get one of the other Serve options if you don't already have one. In general, Mastercard and American Express cards post as purchases. Visa cards transact as a cash advance and, therefore, require available CA limit; although most cards post as a purchase.

Treated as purchase, earns cashback/points/miles:
  • Bank of America (FIA) (MasterCard, American Express)
    • Barclaycard (Mastercard, Visa)
      • Capital One (Mastercard, Visa)
        • Chase (MasterCard, Visa)
          • Citi (MasterCard, American Express)
            • Discover
              • Wells Fargo Propel (American Express)
Treated as purchase, but doesn't earn points/miles:
  • American Express issued (Counts toward minimum spend -- see post #434) but does not earn points. Example: For the Delta Amex card, Serve counts towards min spend DL miles sign-up bonus, but that spend and subsequent trials of spend on Serve will not earn points. Don't do it, man!


Posts as a cash advance: The Chase Ink Bold is a charge card and has no cash advance ability.

A few report being unable to add the Chase IHG MC.

Online Debit Card Loads
For online debit load, only use of bank-issued cards is allowed. The use of pre-paid debit cards (Netspend, Paypower, Univision, Paypal, etc.) and VGC/MGC/AGCs is not allowed. While initial transactions may work, your account will eventually be flagged.

Switching to Serve
Helpful instruction post, latest. Thanks raeneye.

Also see this thread: Switching from Serve to BlueBird - 31 day wait???

Switching from BB to Serve
  1. Login to BB account, bring account balance to Zero, (By Bill Pay, Send money, etc..)
    • Call BB, tell them that you want to open a serve account and close your current BB account. after they check everything they will say something like: "Your account will be permanently closed after 31 days, you can reopen it within 31 day if you change your mind, and you can apply for your new Serve account now, just make sure use the exact same register info from BB."
      • at this point BB is closed. next morning, goto CVS and get a temporary Serve card (only with cash), load $500, ($2.95 waived, Yeah!!)
        • get back home, register temporary Serve online, First error: "phone number already registered, please try a different number" could be the my BB's ghost account still showing up on their system, could be my info is not match my BB's registration? i'm not really sure at this point. What I did is keep the same number but change from Cell phone to home phone. and registration went through
          • after the register and login, second error: "We're still processing your application. Please check your email for an update"
            • I have see people on the thread reported waiting for weeks for the same message, So, I pickup the phone and called them, ask them to speed up the process.
              • CSR, told me that my account went to "account security protection department" transfer me to them.
                • at account security protection department, they told me need to call back on my phone number which I registered to verify.
                  • after the call back of verification, CSR told me that my new Serve account is active now, email address verification will be send with in 5 minutes, permanent card will be received within 7-10 days.
                    • CSR also told me the I can load and spend on the temporary card, but not bill pay.


Switching from Redbird is presumably similar. See the RedCard thread for more information.

The number to call to approve your registration after closing Bluebird: Serve Account security 1-800-555-4318

Loading with debit card at Walmart register
Loads at register over $500 will sometimes trigger ID requirement. There is a limit of four swipes per transaction; this means your card plus three payments.

Training a WM cashier:
  • If the WM cashier doesn't know how to load the card, advise them to enter "70" then press "action code".
    • If you are using a temp card that doesn't have your name on it, you can swipe the card from your side of the terminal. The WM rep never has to touch any of your cards. The screen will say "enter account." That is your prompt to slide the card.
      • The terminal will ask the WM employee if you are loading in multiples of $2000. Advise them to enter "no."
        • Avoid saying gift card. Always refer to your card as a debit card.


Error Messages:
DEBIT NOT AVAILABLE
Received when I used a card I thought I had activated but hadn't.

DEBIT NOT APPROVED
Received when the card's monthly load limit had been reached.

TENDER NOT ALLOWED
Card was incorrectly read, or wrong PIN entered.

HOST TIMEOUT
Connection problems. The GC may be drained but the transaction should reverse itself, and funds will become available again. Try again later.

Using Serve
For online bill pay
  • You can pay the credit card that you used to buy VRs/GCs
    • Error 1302 means that you have 1 pending payment the same amount as the one you just submitted. For example, 1000 bill pay to sapphire preferred from Friday and then on Saturday you submit another bill pay for 1000 to sapphire preferred, you will get this error.
      • Tip: if using online bill pay to the same place multiple times, vary your amounts by $0.01 to make it easier to track since your confirmation number does not match the tracking number on your credit card statement


For bank transfers
Under Settings --> Funding & Transfers --> Bank & Cards --> U.S. Bank Account, you can add your bank info and transfer funds from your Serve card directly to your bank. The bank account must be verified, either by the standard "deposit 2 small sums into your account, such as $0.23 & $0.42" method, or doing an "instant verification" by actually logging into your bank account while still logged into Serve.
===

People with an apartment address can find helpful information quoted in post #7
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Old Jan 1, 17, 4:24 am
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 10
Amex Serve master thread (2017-2018)

Originally Posted by Mamibear View Post
For those having problems loading their cards getting a message Invalid Merchant, do NOT rely on ax CS for assistance. Doing a test load online is more reliable than calling a CSR to find out if your account is still active. If you attempt an online load and get the message that you can't load anymore, it means game over with or without an official email telling you about it.
It is so crazy that the CSRs don't know and can't explain this. I also spent (wasted) 30 minutes on the phone with multiple CSRs, who still didn't have an explanation for me. They said that my account looked fine multiple times. How is it possible that there isn't a flag or something similar to inform them that my account isn't "fine." Very frustrating - and a time an money waste for AmEx.
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Old Jan 1, 17, 4:25 am
  #2  
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Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by markr33 View Post
Check your junk mail folder, it's probably there.
I checked my junk folder and didn't find a message.

Is the wait time to open a new account still 30 days?
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Old Jan 1, 17, 6:19 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,512
Originally Posted by signofthefourwinds View Post

Is the wait time to open a new account still 30 days?
If you've been shut down, they'll likely ban your SSN, home Addy and other info. Even if you wait 30 days, they'll likely reject your application. I said likely because they may allow registration again of those they banned for 'unusual activities'. Read the archives on serve/bb what others did to go around the ban.
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Old Jan 1, 17, 6:43 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 134
Originally Posted by Mamibear View Post
If you've been shut down, they'll likely ban your SSN, home Addy and other info. Even if you wait 30 days, they'll likely reject your application. I said likely because they may allow registration again of those they banned for 'unusual activities'. Read the archives on serve/bb what others did to go around the ban.
Interesting.... I was not aware of any method to "go around the ban"
Please share hinds or links if we find any.
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Old Jan 1, 17, 7:25 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,512
the one that has worked for me is registration of friends and relatives' SSN who have no interest in Serve/BB. They sent me the card(s) soon as they received them.

I've read on reddit there are some who succeeded in getting un-banned and were allowed to sign up again after 1-8-16 shutdown. The first anniversary of the shutdown is coming up, maybe they'll allow registration of those they banned again? Hope springs eternal.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 6:45 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 516
Given that Serve is well aware of MS activity. Is any meaningful shuffling of money possible with serve anymore? I'm talking about at least $3-5K per month.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:12 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 119
Originally Posted by Gitangali View Post
Given that Serve is well aware of MS activity. Is any meaningful shuffling of money possible with serve anymore? I'm talking about at least $3-5K per month.
Sure. It is much easier now that my local KATE's aren't getting hammered.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:53 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,512
Originally Posted by David_ View Post
Sure. It is much easier now that my local KATE's aren't getting hammered.
it's good to know there are still WMs with surviving Kates. I've been to different states where they've been replaced by the much slimmer ATMs, I thought that'd be completed in all regions by now.

I surely miss Kate but I've gotten used to loading with friendly cashiers by now.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 3:48 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 37
Another OneVIP SERVE shut down email this afternoon ("...Section 15.d of our Consumer User Agreement"). Account was 10 weeks old; $6K MS. Anybody else get hit?
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Old Jan 3, 17, 5:53 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 7
I just got the email too.

Had One VIP Serve for around 3 months with very minimal loading ($500-1K pm) via gift cards. Didn't expect so soon
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Old Jan 3, 17, 5:56 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,512
Yikes! I dodged the shutdown on two cards, one is going to its 9th week and the other on its 5th. Soon as I saw posts on reddit, I quickly w/d remaining balance on each card and spent the few $ and cents remaining so I can close it tonight and then lay low for a week to re-register sometime later.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 7:20 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: ONT
Programs: AGR, UA, AA
Posts: 430
Got shutdown as well. I opened this account a couple of years ago (when Redbird shut down) and did minimal MS on it, with the most I did a month $2,500 and loading $500 from NW Buxx to avoid the monthly fee in the months I didn't feel like MSing. Only bill pays and no spending on the card though. This was my last Serve out of the three I was managing but I had given up on MS through Amex prepaids anyway about nine months ago.
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Old Jan 4, 17, 7:02 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Programs: Ink/Sapphire/Freedom/SPG
Posts: 249
last one i had shut down :-(
Should have worked on the points mentioned here.
closed it and reopened it
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Old Jan 4, 17, 7:52 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Originally Posted by David_ View Post
Sure. It is much easier now that my local KATE's aren't getting hammered.
You're lucky that your Kate hasn't been fired!
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Old Jan 4, 17, 11:00 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 134
Originally Posted by sumittalwar View Post
I just got the email too.

Had One VIP Serve for around 3 months with very minimal loading ($500-1K pm) via gift cards. Didn't expect so soon
Too bad. Where did you load? Can you load One VIP at Dollar General? It's not mentioned on their page like it is for the other versions of Serve.
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