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 Aug 30, 18, 7:14 am
  #526  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 72
Just got the dreaded message when trying to add money online with a debit card: "Due to technical difficulties we are unable to process your request at the moment. Please try again at a later time. We apologize for the inconvenience."
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Old Aug 31, 18, 10:51 pm
  #527  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 469
Originally Posted by ftlurker2 View Post
I MSd in 2017 for several months (initially VGCs>MO, but then only VGCs>Serve/BB because of the convenience factor), but stopped MSing 8-9 months ago because of life stuff. I was hit by the Serve ban wave at the end of October 2017. My cards are still packed away from my latest move, but according to my spreadsheet, I should have two activated OneVIP accounts/cards; a third OneVIP account whose card I received, but never activated; and two activated BB accounts/cards. I'm still kicking myself, but do Serve cards expire if they haven't been activated? Can they be activated after you've been banned? What's the latest fad for trying to keep accounts alive? I think I used to load just under the max limit for two accounts and then withdraw everything but a small balance (for the BB, I'd withdraw everything).
The only way to keep it alive is to use the card
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Old Sep 1, 18, 7:51 pm
  #528  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by skanchur View Post
Is anyone loading Serve online with Vanilla MCGC? or are you keeping it a secret?
It used to work but doesn't work anymore with new set of MC GCs which you register at prepaidgiftcardbalance.com
Hope this helps.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 3:48 am
  #529  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 39
Originally Posted by ShakuniMama View Post
It used to work but doesn't work anymore with new set of MC GCs which you register at prepaidgiftcardbalance.com
Hope this helps.
yep stopped working for me too. as well as the gdots. was doing it on bb.
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Old Sep 8, 18, 10:01 am
  #530  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 96
Thinking about dipping my feet in with Serve. Gonna get a GreenCard for free loads at FD/DG. The fee is fine since I don't live in one of the excluded states, it's basically the equivalent of buying a handful of MOs.

1. If I keep low volume low, like around $2-3k most per month, is there any reason to cycle through multiple Serve cards? It seems like there hasn't been much talk of shutdowns since Amex handed over Serve to another company?

2. I don't mind the monthly fee, but does it actually get waived if I balance to zero before each statement cuts? Seems like a great loophole to exploit, but I couldn't find anything on the official Serve page about waived fees.
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Old Sep 8, 18, 7:10 pm
  #531  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Northeastern United States
Posts: 328
Originally Posted by ne0ven0m View Post
Thinking about dipping my feet in with Serve. Gonna get a GreenCard for free loads at FD/DG. The fee is fine since I don't live in one of the excluded states, it's basically the equivalent of buying a handful of MOs.

1. If I keep low volume low, like around $2-3k most per month, is there any reason to cycle through multiple Serve cards? It seems like there hasn't been much talk of shutdowns since Amex handed over Serve to another company?

2. I don't mind the monthly fee, but does it actually get waived if I balance to zero before each statement cuts? Seems like a great loophole to exploit, but I couldn't find anything on the official Serve page about waived fees.
1. I have a Serve and a Bluebird that I have maxed out $5K a month for over two years now and haven't any problems with shut downs. I only Bill Pay the money out though. I never transfer it to a bank account or take it out at an ATM.

2. Yes the fee gets waived if you don't have a balance on the account. Some months I have a balance and the fee gets taken out, some months I don't. I've never tried to drain the account in order to save on the fee as I don't mind paying the fee for the convenience the product provides me and I make more than enough MSing to cover the costs.
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Old Sep 9, 18, 4:41 pm
  #532  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,689
Originally Posted by Prometheus77 View Post
Yes the fee gets waived if you don't have a balance on the account. Some months I have a balance and the fee gets taken out, some months I don't. I've never tried to drain the account in order to save on the fee as I don't mind paying the fee for the convenience the product provides me and I make more than enough MSing to cover the costs.
Right, you do not want to get greedy and give AmEx the reason to shut you down. If you get $500 from your activities, sure you can share $4.95 with AmEx....
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Old Sep 9, 18, 4:48 pm
  #533  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 266
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
Right, you do not want to get greedy and give AmEx the reason to shut you down. If you get $500 from your activities, sure you can share $4.95 with AmEx....
There's absolutely no evidence that prevents Serve shutdown.
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Old Sep 9, 18, 5:05 pm
  #534  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,689
Originally Posted by OssianBlue View Post
There's absolutely no evidence that prevents Serve shutdown.
Sure if you are correct. If you charge $5,000/month and leave $0 to AmEx, and I charge $3,500/month and pay the fee, who has a better chance to get shut down?? I would not say they are the same.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 7:43 am
  #535  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 146
Anyone have any luck with FD/DG allowing debit Serve loads in NYC? Tried a few FD and they didn't take debit, and DG nearest stated their debit system was down. Hopeful the DG issue was temporary, but it's a slog to make my way there so hesitant to try again if they won't take it.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 11:57 am
  #536  
bui
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 10
If I buy a Serve, will it count as a new account within the credit bureau or is this just like another debit card and doesn't go anywhere near the credit bureau? I am looking to get some Chase cards but am only limited to 5 within 24 months but dont want to waste one because I bought a Serve from Walmart.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 12:34 pm
  #537  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,689
Originally Posted by bui View Post
If I buy a Serve, will it count as a new account within the credit bureau or is this just like another debit card and doesn't go anywhere near the credit bureau? I am looking to get some Chase cards but am only limited to 5 within 24 months but dont want to waste one because I bought a Serve from Walmart.
Did you just ask about the same question with Bluebird?

Yesterday. #593
Bluebird master thread (2016 onwards)
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Old Sep 17, 18, 3:27 pm
  #538  
bui
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
Did you just ask about the same question with Bluebird?

Yesterday. #593
Bluebird master thread (2016 onwards)
They're 2 different cards so I wanted to make sure
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Old Sep 17, 18, 7:43 pm
  #539  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
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Originally Posted by bui View Post
They're 2 different cards so I wanted to make sure
Almost the same cards, same question, same answer....
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Old Sep 18, 18, 12:07 pm
  #540  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by yojimbo146 View Post


I wonder if deleting you bank acct off of your previous serve before closing previous serve will take care of this


Originally Posted by OssianBlue View Post
That's a good idea; I'll give it a try next cycle.
I forgot to remove my bank account from the Serve I just closed and got the same message. Any update on if you are able to connect to the account at a later date? Or if deleting the account prior to closing takes care of the issue?
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