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 13, 18, 8:30 am
  #451  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 2,989
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
If you do not know, or not certain, why do you say that? Better to keep it shut and reprad. Or test it and be certain. That helps us all.
I have been following these threads for a period of time. I am just reporting what I may have read in the past, but since I am banned from Serve, I am not able to confirm or deny what I wrote. This is why I have asked for confirmation or denial of that information.

If you choose to either ignore or disbelieve my statement, go ahead and proceed without altering your behavior. My information is meant only as data with a flag, not as a means of persuading someone on how they should behave. Feel free to ignore what I wrote
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Old Jun 13, 18, 2:04 pm
  #452  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 306
Yesterday, I tried loading a $250 OneVanilla Mastercard (bought at Sam's Club) at Family Dollar. Got "invalid card number" error. Just doing the one card, no split payments or anything fancy. Tried twice, same error both times. When I got home, I looked it up, it's a good card, still has the $250 balance. Tried again today, but at a different Family Dollar, different OneVanilla Mastercard. Same error. I know I've loaded plenty of Vanilla Visas. I'm pretty sure I've loaded Mastercard that I bought from either Office Depot or Staples, but they wouldn't have been Vanilla.

Is anyone else having a similar problem loading OneVanilla Mastercards at Family Dollar?
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Old Jun 13, 18, 6:54 pm
  #453  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 2,989
Originally Posted by Klemhuzzah View Post
Yesterday, I tried loading a $250 OneVanilla Mastercard (bought at Sam's Club) at Family Dollar. Got "invalid card number" error. Just doing the one card, no split payments or anything fancy. Tried twice, same error both times. When I got home, I looked it up, it's a good card, still has the $250 balance. Tried again today, but at a different Family Dollar, different OneVanilla Mastercard. Same error. I know I've loaded plenty of Vanilla Visas. I'm pretty sure I've loaded Mastercard that I bought from either Office Depot or Staples, but they wouldn't have been Vanilla.

Is anyone else having a similar problem loading OneVanilla Mastercards at Family Dollar?
Are you certain that your Serve account is still functional? You can test this by trying to load money from a legitimate DC (Bank or CU) onto your Serve card. If you cannot do this on-line, then your Serve account has been "cooked".

If the above is the case, Amex may (or may not) have been nice enough to send you an email telling you that the account had been restricted.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 7:23 pm
  #454  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,684
Originally Posted by Klemhuzzah View Post
Yesterday, I tried loading a $250 OneVanilla Mastercard (bought at Sam's Club) at Family Dollar. Got "invalid card number" error. Just doing the one card, no split payments or anything fancy. Tried twice, same error both times. When I got home, I looked it up, it's a good card, still has the $250 balance. Tried again today, but at a different Family Dollar, different OneVanilla Mastercard. Same error. I know I've loaded plenty of Vanilla Visas. I'm pretty sure I've loaded Mastercard that I bought from either Office Depot or Staples, but they wouldn't have been Vanilla.

Is anyone else having a similar problem loading OneVanilla Mastercards at Family Dollar?
You know you are loading a new type of card. OneVanilla Visa card is known to work. The Vanilla MC may not be tested. I always try to avoid MC GCs.
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Old Jun 16, 18, 2:55 pm
  #455  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 306
Originally Posted by Klemhuzzah View Post
Yesterday, I tried loading a $250 OneVanilla Mastercard (bought at Sam's Club) at Family Dollar. Got "invalid card number" error. Just doing the one card, no split payments or anything fancy. Tried twice, same error both times. When I got home, I looked it up, it's a good card, still has the $250 balance. Tried again today, but at a different Family Dollar, different OneVanilla Mastercard. Same error. I know I've loaded plenty of Vanilla Visas. I'm pretty sure I've loaded Mastercard that I bought from either Office Depot or Staples, but they wouldn't have been Vanilla.

Is anyone else having a similar problem loading OneVanilla Mastercards at Family Dollar?
Followup: I loaded a USBank Visa to my Serve account, no problem. I wish others would chime in with more data points, but I'm pretty sure the problem is using an OV MC at Family Dollar. OTOH, the Monday before my woes, I successfully turned one into a money order at Kroger, but when I tried again at a different Kroger after the FD failure, it wouldn't work at Kroger. Maybe something changed in 6 days.
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Old Jun 28, 18, 10:41 am
  #456  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 116
Is the $1999.99 load limit for bluebird at Walmart per day or per store?

I know there's a $2.5k/day/bb, a $5k/month/bb, and a $10k/month for all bb limit.

Follow up, I know the serve limits are $2.5k/day/serve, $5k/month/serve, $9k/day for all serve, and $10k/month for all serve. Do those limits stack at all with bluebird accounts?
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Old Jun 28, 18, 11:00 am
  #457  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 473
yesterday, wanted to submit more bills pay after successfully submitting 1 on the same day, but got a msg that it can't process and request to call the toll-free #; anyone had the same issue? acct still has sufficient $ for more bill pay

called in but gave up after holding for more than 15 min;;; earlier today, resubmitted another bill pay & got the same msg to call in...calling again & still holding for a while now!
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Old Jun 28, 18, 10:59 pm
  #458  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 8
For the past few years I've been pushing $1 deposits from my Amazon Payments account each month to waive the monthly Serve fee. However, I'd like to add my Serve account as an external account to one of my main banking accounts so that I can push the monthly deposits from there instead (AP balance will run out eventually, and there's seemingly no way to reload it from another bank - I can only withdraw).

I've tried adding my Serve card/account to two different bank accounts (one of them is Chase). In both cases that bank successfully sent the trial deposits but couldn't withdraw them (presumably because the Serve account/routing numbers are for ACH deposits only). So I was unable to verify the Serve account in each case and the verifications failed.

This raises a peculiar issue - if the DD account and routing numbers are for deposits only, would that mean that Serve accounts can't be verified as an external accounts with any banks using trial deposits for the above mentioned reason?

I also tried linking the account to Ally Bank, hoping I could do an instant verification instead of trial deposits, but I receive this message:

According to our records, this account was previously suspended from the Funds Transfer Service therefore it cannot be added at this time. For information relating to this account, please contact a Ally Bank customer service representative.
Would this be due to the other two banks being unable to pull back the trial deposits, causing my Serve account # to somehow be flagged by the FTS?

I've used my Serve card mainly for AmEx offers or other small purchases, but I haven't been loading each month to churn for miles (I probably should have!). In other words I have no reason to think my Serve account itself has been limited in any way by AmEx - everything seems in good order in my account online.

So overall I'm a bit confused. Basically I'd like to be able to push deposits to my Serve card from other bank accounts. This seems impossible due to the limitation on ACH pulling in the verification process, unless I'm missing something. If anyone has any advice I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 8:48 pm
  #459  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,684
Found a friendly DG store on my way. It saves me some travel. Loaded $1k to my green Serve card. I can load the Bluebird, but there is a $3.95 fee at DG. It is free at WM.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 1:03 am
  #460  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: AA Plat; DL Silver; UA Silver; IHG Plat
Posts: 82
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
Found a friendly DG store on my way. It saves me some travel. Loaded $1k to my green Serve card. I can load the Bluebird, but there is a $3.95 fee at DG. It is free at WM.
which gift cards are u using to load your serve and bluebird cards? thanks
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Old Jul 10, 18, 7:21 pm
  #461  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,684
Originally Posted by homeone View Post
which gift cards are u using to load your serve and bluebird cards? thanks
FD and DG can take Metabank and Vanilla. WM won't take Vanilla. Those are the only GCs I tried. Do not want to test the MC GCs.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 11:32 pm
  #462  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: AA Plat; DL Silver; UA Silver; IHG Plat
Posts: 82
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
FD and DG can take Metabank and Vanilla. WM won't take Vanilla. Those are the only GCs I tried. Do not want to test the MC GCs.
thanks for info. so to load serve at walmart, i should only stick with metabank issued GC? any other variable gc safe to use? also where can i purchase metabank issued gc?
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Old Jul 11, 18, 12:24 am
  #463  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: AA Plat; DL Silver; UA Silver; IHG Plat
Posts: 82
so if online credit card loading ( for example spg amex fpr $200 a day) doesnt generate any spg points nor min spend for newly opened cards, why would anyone bother loading from amex CC directly then?
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Old Jul 11, 18, 5:56 am
  #464  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Programs: Lowest-level minion
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by homeone View Post
so if online credit card loading ( for example spg amex fpr $200 a day) doesnt generate any spg points nor min spend for newly opened cards, why would anyone bother loading from amex CC directly then?
American Express Bank FSB imposed that restriction on cards they've issued (SPG, Delta, the charge cards, etc). They're not the only bank to issue cards that run on the AmEx network.
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Old Jul 11, 18, 7:26 pm
  #465  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,684
Originally Posted by homeone View Post
so if online credit card loading ( for example spg amex fpr $200 a day) doesnt generate any spg points nor min spend for newly opened cards, why would anyone bother loading from amex CC directly then?
Some 3rd party AmEx CCs earn reward points loading with Serve. Certain card, like AmEx Delta, earns bonus points with spending. I'm not sure if AmEx Delta CC counts this as spending.
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