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 May 24, 18, 10:30 am
  #421  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 4,165
I just ask them to wait till I can enter my PIN to hit enter since it never works otherwise.
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Old May 27, 18, 10:20 pm
  #422  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 104
I received my first SERVE card today, activated it and then tried to fund it with $200 using my Wells Fargo Propel AmEx card but received a "website having problems" error. Everything else worked fine.
What gives?
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Old May 27, 18, 11:34 pm
  #423  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 291
I remember getting that same error when I got my Serve card and tried loading with my First Bank of Omaha Amex card earlier this year. It took several weeks before I stopped getting the error and could load money with my cc, and I think I might have received an email from them and had to upload a photo of my drivers license. Give it 3 weeks and watch your email.
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Old May 28, 18, 8:01 pm
  #424  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by Klemhuzzah View Post
I remember getting that same error when I got my Serve card and tried loading with my First Bank of Omaha Amex card earlier this year. It took several weeks before I stopped getting the error and could load money with my cc, and I think I might have received an email from them and had to upload a photo of my drivers license. Give it 3 weeks and watch your email.
You're right. Just got an email from them asking to upload a photo of my drivers license & Serve Card to verify my identity claiming that they noticed "unusual activity" on my serve account.
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Old May 28, 18, 11:01 pm
  #425  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 291
Well now I'm jealous. I tried every couple of days for weeks before I got the email.
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Old May 30, 18, 9:58 am
  #426  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Programs: Lowest-level minion
Posts: 11
Originally Posted by gregorius View Post
Anyone know if the $1k monthly CC load limit is per Serve card or per CC/SSN?
Enough time has passed that I can answer my own question - it's per Serve card.

Earlier this month I loaded a Serve with $1k from CC. Removed the CC and added it to a different Serve, but had to wait ~2 weeks before I got the "unusual activity" email and had to upload photos of the CC and ID. Given some other comments here, it seems like that was done in a wave?

Loading works fine now, and MSR is almost done.
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Old May 30, 18, 10:19 am
  #427  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 291
Originally Posted by gregorius View Post
Enough time has passed that I can answer my own question - it's per Serve card.
Thanks for posting the data point.
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Old May 31, 18, 6:31 pm
  #428  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 5
does it make sense to use AMEX card to reload 1k/mo + other funding sources to pay off car lease payments just to boost annual spending on the card?
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Old May 31, 18, 10:04 pm
  #429  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 104
Talking

Originally Posted by Klemhuzzah View Post
Well now I'm jealous. I tried every couple of days for weeks before I got the email.
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Old May 31, 18, 11:07 pm
  #430  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 265
Just tried rinse and repeat on a couple of Serve accounts (two different SSNs) and got denied with a new message "Your Serve Account Cannot Be Approved". Denial e-mails on both; never gotten this before when I was blocked from new accounts. Interesting thing is that there is a four number sequence for the end of a new account number for each in the e-mail.
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Old Jun 1, 18, 8:00 pm
  #431  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,423
Originally Posted by ShakuniMama View Post
You're right. Just got an email from them asking to upload a photo of my drivers license & Serve Card to verify my identity claiming that they noticed "unusual activity" on my serve account.
Not sure if it is worth doing this. I would not want to pick up some points and risk being shut down.
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Old Jun 1, 18, 8:03 pm
  #432  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,423
Originally Posted by bluesummer View Post
does it make sense to use AMEX card to reload 1k/mo + other funding sources to pay off car lease payments just to boost annual spending on the card?
No. You do not get anything funding with a real AmEx CC. Some 3rd party CCs give reward points. But I won't recommend it.
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Old Jun 2, 18, 8:22 am
  #433  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 1
I tried to load my serve with Visa gift card this morning, and went to two Family Dollar. Both of them can not pass the transaction when I swipe. There is no "bee" sound when I swipe, I think they didn't pass the transaction. I am pretty sure I am the first person to load serve since the store just open. Is there any hard-cord at these POS machines to stop VGC loading for Amex Serve since last week? Location NY
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Old Jun 2, 18, 11:14 am
  #434  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 291
I loaded yesterday in Ohio. I don't think it's a POS problem.
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Old Jun 6, 18, 11:59 am
  #435  
CDO
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 355
Originally Posted by Klemhuzzah View Post
I loaded yesterday in Ohio. I don't think it's a POS problem.
Loaded as well and all's good
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