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 Oct 17, 17, 12:59 pm
  #226  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: ORF
Posts: 76
Hmm.
My OneVIP serve account was blocked from loading in early 2016, and closed by AMEX in May 2017.

"we cannot approve you for a serve account right now." Damn. Closed almost 6 mos, and unable to open a new one.

Suggestions, or just abandon serve and buy MOs?

Yes - I've been a little out of the loop - heart surgery. I'm better now, thanks!
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Old Oct 17, 17, 1:37 pm
  #227  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 19
Originally Posted by kciflyer View Post
Have you been opening and closing BB and Serve accounts? If so, how often?
I am opening and closing the bluebird every two months but not serve.

I can't find a VGC that loads to serve online.
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Old Oct 19, 17, 1:13 pm
  #228  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 89
Originally Posted by jnjustice94 View Post
I am opening and closing the bluebird every two months but not serve.

I can't find a VGC that loads to serve online.
Just tried opening another BB account (had tried opening a Serve Green account previously) and was unable to do so (got the same message others are getting). So it looks like for the time being, I will have to keep my current ServeOne VIP account and BB account open and hope they don't get shut down any time soon.
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Old Oct 20, 17, 12:18 pm
  #229  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: ATL
Programs: DL, Marriott
Posts: 728
So maybe a year or two ago (shortly after Redbird died), I opened OneVIP. I had just this single account, and loaded only to this one account. Worked fine for a bit, but got shut down in their first wave of shut downs.

I've read the last few pages, and it seems like the Serve strategy has changed a bit. Is it true that A) I should have multiple cards open to spread the loading (i.e. OneVIP, BB, etc.) and then B) I should close them after a month or two and open new accounts?

Thanks in advance! I've just started MOs and it's a bit of a hassle since I don't have a bank that takes them via app and I don't like waiting for mail deposits.
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Old Oct 20, 17, 1:06 pm
  #230  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 89
Originally Posted by pritomd View Post
So maybe a year or two ago (shortly after Redbird died), I opened OneVIP. I had just this single account, and loaded only to this one account. Worked fine for a bit, but got shut down in their first wave of shut downs.

I've read the last few pages, and it seems like the Serve strategy has changed a bit. Is it true that A) I should have multiple cards open to spread the loading (i.e. OneVIP, BB, etc.) and then B) I should close them after a month or two and open new accounts?

Thanks in advance! I've just started MOs and it's a bit of a hassle since I don't have a bank that takes them via app and I don't like waiting for mail deposits.
The first issue is whether you can get new Serve or BB cards in light of your prior shutdown. You probably won't be able to do so under your SSN, but may be able to do so if you have a SO or someone else who can apply for the cards.

Regardless of whether you decide to open and close them every couple of months, IMO you should get multiple cards to get the most out of them for however long you can keep them open. In my experience, once you get shutdown, you're shutdown on all Serve/BB cards in your name under your SSN. So why not get the most out of multiple cards rather than just one, before you get shutdown.

I think the jury is still out on whether opening and closing cards every few months staves off shutdown. I have been doing it this year, and haven't been shut down yet, but there hasn't been a big wave of shutdowns since January of 2017 to my knowledge. The fact that I haven't been able to open any new accounts lately, but can still load on the two cards I still have, suggests that maybe AmEx won't let some people open new accounts if they have opened and closed several over the last few months under the same name and SSN. That's why I'm now keeping the two I have open unless and until I know I can get approved for a new card. I don't want to close them voluntarily and then not be able to open any new accounts.
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Old Oct 25, 17, 9:54 am
  #231  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 4
My OneVIP just got axed this morning. I wonder if there is a new surge of shut down?
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Old Oct 25, 17, 10:00 am
  #232  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: NY
Programs: MR, UR, UA
Posts: 179
Originally Posted by vinhtantran View Post
My OneVIP just got axed this morning. I wonder if there is a new surge of shut down?
Same thing here. Cleaning house before getting rid of their prepaid business altogether..?
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Old Oct 25, 17, 10:59 am
  #233  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NRT
Programs: UA gold
Posts: 121
I smell another wave of shut down incoming. I got axed just now as well.
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Old Oct 25, 17, 12:07 pm
  #234  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 81
Also got the axe email today, haven't been able to open any new cards for weeks now though anyway.
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Old Oct 25, 17, 2:48 pm
  #235  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 65
Originally Posted by sponge_gto View Post
Same thing here. Cleaning house before getting rid of their prepaid business altogether..?
Very surprised that I thought Amex wouldn't care about MSer as the biz has been sold.
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Old Oct 25, 17, 3:12 pm
  #236  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: LAX/ONT
Posts: 154
axed on BB today.
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Old Oct 26, 17, 11:53 am
  #237  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Programs: UR, Marriott, AA, WN, Chick Fil A Red
Posts: 146
OneVIP axed. 1 other and green still work.
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Old Nov 1, 17, 2:24 pm
  #238  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 1
DP: I have a Softcard Serv that I had been successfully loading with a Chase Visa, coded for Chase as "recreation." It no longer works, Chase tells me it is coding as a cash advance and getting (thankfully) rejected.
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Old Nov 1, 17, 6:02 pm
  #239  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: EWN/OAJ/RDU/ILM (Formerly BTV)
Programs: HH D i a m o n d !!!
Posts: 352
Has anyone (who avoided shutdown) successfully re-opened a Serve card in the past week? Seems like people have reported being unable to open new Serves even though they were not actually shutdown.

I'm trying to figure out if I should proactively close mine or just let 'em ride. Somehow I dodged the shutdown even though I've been loading the max on 2 cards each month and closing them down. I had 2 open/active accounts last week when the shutdowns happened yet came out alive.
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Old Nov 2, 17, 9:34 am
  #240  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 89
Originally Posted by perkunas View Post
Has anyone (who avoided shutdown) successfully re-opened a Serve card in the past week? Seems like people have reported being unable to open new Serves even though they were not actually shutdown.

I'm trying to figure out if I should proactively close mine or just let 'em ride. Somehow I dodged the shutdown even though I've been loading the max on 2 cards each month and closing them down. I had 2 open/active accounts last week when the shutdowns happened yet came out alive.
I am in the same boat you are. I have an open Bluebird and an open ServeOne account that both have escaped being closed so far. But for the past 3-4 weeks I have not been able to open up any more Serve/BB accounts. Until I can open a new account, I'm going to just going to let them ride. I'm afraid that if I close down the 2 accounts I have, I won't be able to open any new ones (which would be worse than just letting them ride and using them in the meantime). I'm hoping that there won't be anymore shutdowns before AmEx transfers the cards to the new issuer and then we'll see how the new issuer handles existing accounts and applications for new ones.
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