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 Apr 26, 18, 3:31 pm
  #361  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 129
I've been loading vgc to serve in nova up till I went away early April and now I've been turned down at 2 wms because it's not a bank issued debit. Am I getting unlucky with cashiers or was there some recent training on this?
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Old Apr 26, 18, 5:10 pm
  #362  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 265
My previously chill WM has suddenly gotten aggressive about BB loads and it isn't just one yellow jacket either.
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Old Apr 27, 18, 3:11 pm
  #363  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,426
What are the triggers that would flag the Serve card to get shut down? I would assume it the amount of cash loading and transfer back to banks? What is considered excess? $5,000/month total?
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Old Apr 27, 18, 3:11 pm
  #364  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
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Originally Posted by sempervivum View Post
I've been loading vgc to serve in nova up till I went away early April and now I've been turned down at 2 wms because it's not a bank issued debit. Am I getting unlucky with cashiers or was there some recent training on this?
At individual cashiers? or at money center?
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Old Apr 27, 18, 9:57 pm
  #365  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 129
both. going to try a little farther out this weekend.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 2:45 am
  #366  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,082
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
What are the triggers that would flag the Serve card to get shut down? I would assume it the amount of cash loading and transfer back to banks? What is considered excess? $5,000/month total?
It is very easy to tell the type of activity that would trigger a shut down but usually they look at how the funds were loaded (ex: multiple entries of 300,600,400, etc). They could also look at the way the money is withdrawn for the account (ex: regular spend vs. bill pay). Of course most of us would just use the bill pay option but in Amex's eyes they want us to use for regular spending. In terms of the amount, who knows but i mean they know that we max out the $5K limit and empty the account pretty quickly.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 9:44 am
  #367  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,426
Originally Posted by ericdabbs View Post
It is very easy to tell the type of activity that would trigger a shut down but usually they look at how the funds were loaded (ex: multiple entries of 300,600,400, etc). They could also look at the way the money is withdrawn for the account (ex: regular spend vs. bill pay). Of course most of us would just use the bill pay option but in Amex's eyes they want us to use for regular spending. In terms of the amount, who knows but i mean they know that we max out the $5K limit and empty the account pretty quickly.
I was thinking transferring the $ back to bank would flag it. Bill pay would be the next level. Shopping would be perfectly acceptable.
The grey card has the 1% cash back, but it is on shopping only. It is useless since any CC would ear more than 1% cash. I think it makes sense to the people who do not have any CC.

Anyhow, I think a lot of high $ activities in a short time period would certainly flag the account for MS. A lot folks here are very aggressive. This is how most of the MS methods get axed. I would think if you just load the $1,500/quarter to the card, no one cares or notice. But not if you load $5k/month and WD the $$$ back to your bank in a couple days.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 9:47 am
  #368  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,426
I just set up my new Serve card. It takes AmEx forever to verify my Wells Fargo Propel card. Going to run to my local DG to try it out. Hope I get some time to use the card and try to avoid getting shut down.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 9:49 am
  #369  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: EWN/OAJ/RDU/ILM (Formerly BTV)
Programs: HH D i a m o n d !!!
Posts: 352
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
What are the triggers that would flag the Serve card to get shut down? I would assume it the amount of cash loading and transfer back to banks? What is considered excess? $5,000/month total?
There is no rhyme or reason to shutdowns. People have tried making legit purchases, doing billpays, loading different amounts, only loading a few hundred or 1-2k per month.... and still got shut down. Then others (myself included) simply load $5k per month and withdraw it all straight to bank account... and I avoided the last round of shutdowns.

If you're using Serve/BB for MS, just do $5k/month and enjoy it while it lasts.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 10:06 am
  #370  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 114
Originally Posted by perkunas View Post
There is no rhyme or reason to shutdowns. People have tried making legit purchases, doing billpays, loading different amounts, only loading a few hundred or 1-2k per month.... and still got shut down. Then others (myself included) simply load $5k per month and withdraw it all straight to bank account... and I avoided the last round of shutdowns.

If you're using Serve/BB for MS, just do $5k/month and enjoy it while it lasts.
Indeed, i had DD, used the card regularly at POS and to pay utility bills (not cc), still got shutdown.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 10:22 am
  #371  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 265
There's only one way, so far, that has no DPs for shutdowns--open, load, dump, and close before a second statement cuts following initial activity. Trying to guess what combination of activities won't look suspicious is fruitless.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 10:36 am
  #372  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,426
Originally Posted by OssianBlue View Post
There's only one way, so far, that has no DPs for shutdowns--open, load, dump, and close before a second statement cuts following initial activity. Trying to guess what combination of activities won't look suspicious is fruitless.
That is tons of work, driving around in several towns, trying to find the places that you can load, dealing with the cashiers, rejections+joy of success. Also try to find the places we can buy $500 GCs, get funding sources etc. And keep opening account after account..... Expect the fruits of labor to fall to us. Hope we all enjoy the rides.
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Old Apr 28, 18, 11:56 am
  #373  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,665
as others have said, there is NO rhyme or reason for getting shut down, it's not a question if we will get shut down but just a matter of when our account(s) get flagged and account is disallowed for more loads. it would be a tragedy to tiptoe and follow all their rules and still get the axe so why not go full steam? no harm in doing so since whatever is loaded can be completely drained once account is flagged. it's futile to control what others do, just myob and no remorse if you get the axe.

it is best to do what you're comfortable with depending on opportunities available to you (YOU DO YOU) ~ enjoy it to the fullest while it last and keep on looking for new gigs so you can keep going : )
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Old Apr 28, 18, 1:01 pm
  #374  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,426
When you load the GCs at DG or WM, do you pay the fees on the Green Serve at the store? If no $3.95 fees on the GCs with Green Serve, then better to use the Green, not the Blue.

Also, the Green card does not mention the free cash loads at DG. Is there a fee to load Green Serve at DG?

Last edited by RedSun; Apr 28, 18 at 1:34 pm
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Old Apr 30, 18, 8:12 pm
  #375  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 2
Visa unloading at Walmart

Originally Posted by bargainhunter3 View Post
It's been awhile since I've unloaded a MGC at WM, but you have to hit cancel right away after swiping it to prompt you to the debit/credit screen. If you don't hit cancel right away, it will immediately give you an error saying can not process credit. Again, it's been awhile since I've done this; I don't know if their machines have changed or not. There was a thread somewhere on here talking about unloading MCs
But what about VGC?
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