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 Jun 6, 18, 8:14 pm
  #436  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,425
Walmart stores vary so much. The previous store only allow $500 per load and its customer center won't allow debit/GC load. But the one I use now allows like $3,000 loading at customer service and I loaded 2 x $500 at cashier.

I just do not want to over-do it and speed up the shut-downs.
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Old Jun 6, 18, 9:17 pm
  #437  
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Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
Walmart stores vary so much. The previous store only allow $500 per load and its customer center won't allow debit/GC load. But the one I use now allows like $3,000 loading at customer service and I loaded 2 x $500 at cashier.

I just do not want to over-do it and speed up the shut-downs.
For me its cashier dependent and some will flat out be nasty about it
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Old Jun 8, 18, 6:52 am
  #438  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Trying to confirm: the limit of 4 swipes at WM includes swiping the Serve card, correct? So the best-case scenario is loading 3 VGCs in a single transaction?

I was trying to load 4 VGCs yesterday and initiated a transaction and then realized the potential error after swiping my first VGC. Fortunately I had a true debit card with me so I swiped 2x VGC then used my debit card to complete the transaction.
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Old Jun 8, 18, 9:20 am
  #439  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 4,165
Originally Posted by perkunas View Post
Trying to confirm: the limit of 4 swipes at WM includes swiping the Serve card, correct? So the best-case scenario is loading 3 VGCs in a single transaction?

I was trying to load 4 VGCs yesterday and initiated a transaction and then realized the potential error after swiping my first VGC. Fortunately I had a true debit card with me so I swiped 2x VGC then used my debit card to complete the transaction.
Yes, swiping the Serve card counts as a swipe, so you can load 3 VGCs max.
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Old Jun 8, 18, 6:57 pm
  #440  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
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Originally Posted by perkunas View Post
Trying to confirm: the limit of 4 swipes at WM includes swiping the Serve card, correct? So the best-case scenario is loading 3 VGCs in a single transaction?

I was trying to load 4 VGCs yesterday and initiated a transaction and then realized the potential error after swiping my first VGC. Fortunately I had a true debit card with me so I swiped 2x VGC then used my debit card to complete the transaction.
What are the benefits of multiple swipes? I normally buy $500 GCs and do not do multiple. I can just ask the same cashier to do it twice.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 2:38 pm
  #441  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 11
Almost had a close call today. Went to my regular Walmart Supercenter and usually hit up both the customer service center to load and then to money center right after. I told the CSR at the customer service center I was loading my serve card, she asked how much, I said $500. She told me to swipe my serve card at the terminal and I tried but it didn't read the card, I tried again but no luck. She took my card and swiped it on her side and it worked. I confirmed the amount and tried to swipe my Simon VGC but once again the terminal didn't read, she asked for the card and saw it was a gift card, a yellow jacket was standing right behind her and she asked "can he load his card with this?" the yellow jacket guy was like "yeah if there's a pin it should be fine". I told her there was a pin, I entered it and boom all done. Gotta remember to avoid this Walmart til they fix the card terminal, nice yellow jacket manager tho.

Located in the middle of the US where the weather is always bipolar.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 3:00 pm
  #442  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NY
Posts: 440
Originally Posted by Americanoo View Post
Almost had a close call today. Went to my regular Walmart Supercenter and usually hit up both the customer service center to load and then to money center right after. I told the CSR at the customer service center I was loading my serve card, she asked how much, I said $500. She told me to swipe my serve card at the terminal and I tried but it didn't read the card, I tried again but no luck. She took my card and swiped it on her side and it worked. I confirmed the amount and tried to swipe my Simon VGC but once again the terminal didn't read, she asked for the card and saw it was a gift card, a yellow jacket was standing right behind her and she asked "can he load his card with this?" the yellow jacket guy was like "yeah if there's a pin it should be fine". I told her there was a pin, I entered it and boom all done. Gotta remember to avoid this Walmart til they fix the card terminal, nice yellow jacket manager tho.

Located in the middle of the US where the weather is always bipolar.
At least your CSR was good enough to ask. Other CSR's may have made a decision on their own to shut you down-despite any store policy stating otherwise.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 3:37 pm
  #443  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,425
Originally Posted by Americanoo View Post
Almost had a close call today. Went to my regular Walmart Supercenter and usually hit up both the customer service center to load and then to money center right after. I told the CSR at the customer service center I was loading my serve card, she asked how much, I said $500. She told me to swipe my serve card at the terminal and I tried but it didn't read the card, I tried again but no luck. She took my card and swiped it on her side and it worked. I confirmed the amount and tried to swipe my Simon VGC but once again the terminal didn't read, she asked for the card and saw it was a gift card, a yellow jacket was standing right behind her and she asked "can he load his card with this?" the yellow jacket guy was like "yeah if there's a pin it should be fine". I told her there was a pin, I entered it and boom all done. Gotta remember to avoid this Walmart til they fix the card terminal, nice yellow jacket manager tho.

Located in the middle of the US where the weather is always bipolar.
At all the places where I load my Serve and Bluebird, the CSR swipes the Serve/Bluebird card and I swipe the GCs. I have never had a single problem. But good DP to remember.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 11:45 pm
  #444  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by FK47 View Post
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
In LA, everytime I have tried to load at a brand new FD, it hasnít worked, FWIW. This has happened at three different brand new stores.
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Old Jun 11, 18, 11:46 pm
  #445  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 292
What are good ways to move money out of Serve? Particularly interested in low-risk ways that won't lead to shut-down. Any ways I should avoid? I don't want to use Serve to pay off my Chase or Amex cards because the thread suggests that is high-risk, but Chase is where most of my MS happens. I don't have very much in the way of organic spend. I can pay Discover, but that's only $1500-$2000 every quarter. If I have them make out a check to me, is there a good/bad amount? TIA.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 6:31 am
  #446  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Originally Posted by Klemhuzzah View Post
What are good ways to move money out of Serve? Particularly interested in low-risk ways that won't lead to shut-down. Any ways I should avoid? I don't want to use Serve to pay off my Chase or Amex cards because the thread suggests that is high-risk, but Chase is where most of my MS happens. I don't have very much in the way of organic spend. I can pay Discover, but that's only $1500-$2000 every quarter. If I have them make out a check to me, is there a good/bad amount? TIA.
I find this amusing.
Look at the typical "Serve" customer that this account is meant for. He/she deposits into it a paycheck of about $500 to $1500 every 2 weeks and pays about 4-5 bills out of it (rent, utilities, car payment maybe, partial payment on 1 credit card and maybe something else). Usually at the end of the period, there is close to nothing left until the next deposit.

Now look at Klemhuzzah's account. He deposits the max dollars allowed each month using several different large deposits of thousands of dollars each. He then pays credit cards only thousands of dollars each month and takes the account to zero numerous times before revitalizing it with new thousand dollar deposits. Somewhat different than the first scenario, no?
Bottom line...there is no "safe". Do it until you get caught and when you do, realize that the jig is up.

And we wonder why we stand out like bonfires in the night
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Old Jun 12, 18, 10:39 am
  #447  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
Do it until you get caught and when you do, realize that the jig is up.
I was afraid this would be the answer.
FWIW, I still small potatoes. I haven't deposited anywhere near the max each month. Instead I have lots of usually $200 deposits, about 3-5 a week. Still stands out like a sore thumb. But I still imagine that some ways are lower risk than others.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 2:45 pm
  #448  
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 1
Hello, long time lurker first time poster.
I've just started using BB and Serve to liquidate VGC's at my local WM. Have done a lot of reading here and on the Reddit page about avoiding shutdown.

What do you put in the box asking why you are closing your account?

And in response to the taking money out question,
I just pull cash out of moneypass ATMs.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 9:52 pm
  #449  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Originally Posted by Eddbot View Post
Hello, long time lurker first time poster.
I've just started using BB and Serve to liquidate VGC's at my local WM. Have done a lot of reading here and on the Reddit page about avoiding shutdown.

What do you put in the box asking why you are closing your account?

And in response to the taking money out question,
I just pull cash out of moneypass ATMs.
Cannot confirm myself, but only have read this from previous posters.
If your intent is to open a Serve account, abuse it for about a month and then close it (a la Mamibear), be forewarned that apparently Amex has prevented people from reopening new accounts after they have closed their account more than 2 times. So this means to me that you are effectively banning yourself from Serve if you try that technique.
I could be completely wrong on this. It would be helpful if someone who knows better either confirms or denies the above.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 10:21 pm
  #450  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
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Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
Cannot confirm myself, but only have read this from previous posters.
If your intent is to open a Serve account, abuse it for about a month and then close it (a la Mamibear), be forewarned that apparently Amex has prevented people from reopening new accounts after they have closed their account more than 2 times. So this means to me that you are effectively banning yourself from Serve if you try that technique.
I could be completely wrong on this. It would be helpful if someone who knows better either confirms or denies the above.
If you do not know, or not certain, why do you say that? Better to keep it shut and read. Or test it and be certain. That helps us all.
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