Amex Serve master thread (2017 onwards)

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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 per card per day; $5,000 total per calendar month each card; $10,000 total each calendar month all Serve cards combined
  • 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 Sep 24, 17, 9:45 am
  #196  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 23
Can MoneyPak be used to reload onto Serve? I haven't tried to buy one with a CC yet but I have a WM near me with hostile CSR that don't like me using VGC so for when I don't want to drive very far this would be great.
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Old Sep 24, 17, 10:25 am
  #197  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,665
Originally Posted by Euler22 View Post
Can MoneyPak be used to reload onto Serve? I haven't tried to buy one with a CC yet but I have a WM near me with hostile CSR that don't like me using VGC so for when I don't want to drive very far this would be great.
afaik, the reloadable prepaid you can use MPs are the Walmart prepaid cards like the WM preferred money card which is NLA but I'm not sure if they have revised the terms. The only WM prepaid card they're pushing now are the 3-2-1 prepaid cards which is NOT recommended for MS purposes.

For AXP reloadable prepaids, I don't think they can be used to load online.
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Old Sep 25, 17, 9:05 am
  #198  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Does anyone know the "cooldown" time before getting a second (and third, fourth, fitfh) Serve accounts?

I was able to get a OneVIP and then a Blue Serve within 24 hrs of each other, however since that point I have been unable to sign up (about 36 hrs since last signup). I also grabbed a Green at my local WM and tried to register it with no luck.

Just getting into MS and I'd like to get all available Serves setup prior to starting in case of any bans.
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Old Sep 26, 17, 3:10 am
  #199  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by zkmetz1 View Post
Does anyone know the "cooldown" time before getting a second (and third, fourth, fitfh) Serve accounts?

I was able to get a OneVIP and then a Blue Serve within 24 hrs of each other, however since that point I have been unable to sign up (about 36 hrs since last signup). I also grabbed a Green at my local WM and tried to register it with no luck.

Just getting into MS and I'd like to get all available Serves setup prior to starting in case of any bans.
I would give it a week, but I think some have had success in a shorter amount of time.

Why would you get the blue serve?
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Old Sep 26, 17, 8:37 am
  #200  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by DrunkAmexChick View Post
I would give it a week, but I think some have had success in a shorter amount of time.

Why would you get the blue serve?
Because I accidentally hit that one and didn't realize it until I clicked submit... New baby has been keeping me real tired and I spaced that. I assume I can't change it to a Green or OneVIP so I may use it as a test for how long a closure takes.
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Old Sep 26, 17, 11:39 pm
  #201  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 114
Originally Posted by zkmetz1 View Post
Because I accidentally hit that one and didn't realize it until I clicked submit... New baby has been keeping me real tired and I spaced that. I assume I can't change it to a Green or OneVIP so I may use it as a test for how long a closure takes.
Call support to close the account (if they haven't shipped the new card yet), or manually do it from the website.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 1:55 pm
  #202  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 85
New to this whole thing here. I have some specific questions I hope someone can address:

I'm not really interested in MS or cycling, if I understand the terms right. All I want to do is pay bills like rent and earn some rewards (especially use that to meet minimum spending). Is Serve a good tool to use for this? Any reason this activity alone would anger Amex? I fail to see why it should. My approach would be:

Buy some variety of GC (not sure yet which) at CVS or elsewhere with a non-Amex card. This has nothing to do with Amex. If I use a Chase card for example, the only problem should be the fee paid for GC.

Load this onto a Serve (not sure which variety is best) at FD/DG/WM or elsewhere, with no human interaction, preferably. Potential areas of concern are fee to load and any monthly Serve fees. Why should Amex have a problem with my loading a debit-GC onto it if I am not trying to MS/earn rewards on any Amex card?

Use loaded Serve to billpay (through check for example) my rent.

Is there any reason Chase or Amex should dislike this process? Your answers are appreciated.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 2:31 pm
  #203  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: ATL
Programs: DL, Marriott
Posts: 728
Originally Posted by zkmetz1 View Post
Does anyone know the "cooldown" time before getting a second (and third, fourth, fitfh) Serve accounts?

I was able to get a OneVIP and then a Blue Serve within 24 hrs of each other, however since that point I have been unable to sign up (about 36 hrs since last signup). I also grabbed a Green at my local WM and tried to register it with no luck.

Just getting into MS and I'd like to get all available Serves setup prior to starting in case of any bans.
I'm slightly confused by this; I thought you could only have one product from the family per SSN? I had a OneVIP but then it got shutdown...am I able to create a new account now? And if I can, am I able to also create other versions too (like Green/Blue)?
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Old Sep 28, 17, 7:53 pm
  #204  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 11
Can't remember when but at one point you could get bluebird and the different flavors of serve at the same time on the same SSN. Still works currently as I have BB, green serve and OneVIP. Just recently closed the BB since its been 60 days, and currently cycling through to the other serve flavors now. But I'm not too sure if you can still apply for a new account since your oneVIP was shutdown. Couldn't hurt to try again since the company was bought over by a different party.

Originally Posted by pritomd View Post
I'm slightly confused by this; I thought you could only have one product from the family per SSN? I had a OneVIP but then it got shutdown...am I able to create a new account now? And if I can, am I able to also create other versions too (like Green/Blue)?
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Old Sep 29, 17, 5:40 pm
  #205  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 1
Been a lurker here for some time now. Have used serve for about 4 months. Today went to FD to reload and got the "invalid merchant" error. I just tried a load online and that went through.

Question:

Is the "invalid merchant" error coming from FD and not the serve account since I can load online?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Sep 30, 17, 8:31 am
  #206  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,665
Originally Posted by 87targa View Post
Been a lurker here for some time now. Have used serve for about 4 months. Today went to FD to reload and got the "invalid merchant" error. I just tried a load online and that went through.

Question:

Is the "invalid merchant" error coming from FD and not the serve account since I can load online?

Thanks in advance!
when that happened to me, I checked if I reached the daily or monthly in-store loads. When I found out I did, I just switched to another card and loaded it at DG.
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Old Oct 3, 17, 11:33 pm
  #207  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 57
is there a wait period before you can open a new BB account? I closed my wifes account last month and would like to open a new one for her but get the messge "Unable to open a serve account at this time"
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Old Oct 5, 17, 7:30 pm
  #208  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 6
I tried to load my serve account in walmart for $500 using Simon Visa debit but the transaction failed. The money was debited in my simon gift card. Walmart CSR told me to wait for 24 hrs to see if the Visa debit card gets back the $500. I called up Simon Customer care and they say the transaction went through but walmart says no. Anybody face similar issue?
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Old Oct 6, 17, 5:08 pm
  #209  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Programs: HHonors Gold, SPG Gold, Marriott Gold, WOH Globalist, Hertz PC, National Exec Elite
Posts: 66
Just tried loading today and got the "DEBIT NOT APPROVED" message even though I know I am under the limit. Anyone experienced this recently? The funds were also drained from the cards but nothing showing in the serve account.
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Old Oct 6, 17, 9:25 pm
  #210  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 81
Originally Posted by Davyboyo View Post
is there a wait period before you can open a new BB account? I closed my wifes account last month and would like to open a new one for her but get the messge "Unable to open a serve account at this time"
I used to open new accounts the day after closing one with no issue. I haven't used serve for a few months and tried to open another onevip yesterday but got that message. Not blacklisted though since I can still load the cards I already have so not sure what that message is about.
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