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 Oct 17, 18, 10:35 am
  #586  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,669
Originally Posted by cwh82 View Post
Seems Serve has been having issues lately. Several times this week I can't even log into my account, it would just time out. I loaded 3 X $500 VGC at an FD Monday without issues. Appears intermittent. Not sure about BB since I don't use it.
It is BSU at DG with OVVGC on Serve.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 3:31 pm
  #587  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by Hb1500 View Post


I also had this issue tonight at my usual WM and at my backup DG. Mine didn't go the cash/void route but something definitely up with serve loads tonight. I havent heard of your exact situation but it sounds like it should go back to the original card.

Me, too. At Walmart today. Tried two different VGCs. Each failed. Serve app show a load and instant reversal.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 4:18 pm
  #588  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: SFO
Posts: 8
Loaded a $500 metabank vgc to serve at WM today. Got the same error as others reported. Tried with a different metabank VGC and got the error again. My Serve account shows a load and then a reversal for each transaction. Going to try with my BB here in an hour.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 5:23 pm
  #589  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,669
Originally Posted by rtmf View Post
Loaded a $500 metabank vgc to serve at WM today. Got the same error as others reported. Tried with a different metabank VGC and got the error again. My Serve account shows a load and then a reversal for each transaction. Going to try with my BB here in an hour.
Really interesting. I had success with OVVGC on Serve (DG) and Metabank VGC on BB at WM. Do not know what is going on.
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Old Oct 17, 18, 8:37 pm
  #590  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 96
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
Really interesting. I had success with OVVGC on Serve (DG) and Metabank VGC on BB at WM. Do not know what is going on.
For DG, are these the Vanillas from CVS/Walgreens? I tend to buy those more often because of the cashback apps.
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Old Oct 18, 18, 6:47 am
  #591  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,669
Originally Posted by ne0ven0m View Post
For DG, are these the Vanillas from CVS/Walgreens? I tend to buy those more often because of the cashback apps.
The same OVVGC you can buy from CVS/WG or some grocery stores. They are in black package. Only one kind of OVVGC. I do not think there is any difference between OVVGC or regular VVGC.
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Old Oct 18, 18, 7:36 am
  #592  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: RDU
Posts: 262
I can't even get far at the two closest DGs to me.... "CASH ONLY".
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Old Oct 19, 18, 1:15 am
  #593  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: SFO
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by rtmf View Post
Loaded a $500 metabank vgc to serve at WM today. Got the same error as others reported. Tried with a different metabank VGC and got the error again. My Serve account shows a load and then a reversal for each transaction. Going to try with my BB here in an hour.
Tried the same VGCs with my BB at WM today. Worked fine. Didn't try my Serve card (the one that wasn't working yesterday) because I was out of VGCs.
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Old Oct 21, 18, 10:55 am
  #594  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 96
I realize the $200 daily and $1000 monthly cap for CC loads aren't great, but I was interested in doing so regularly with my WF Propel Word. I assume it doesn't count as cash advance? Otherwise the fees would be absurd. Any advice for anything I need to do with WF before loading my first $200?
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Old Oct 21, 18, 11:52 am
  #595  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,669
Originally Posted by ne0ven0m View Post
I realize the $200 daily and $1000 monthly cap for CC loads aren't great, but I was interested in doing so regularly with my WF Propel Word. I assume it doesn't count as cash advance? Otherwise the fees would be absurd. Any advice for anything I need to do with WF before loading my first $200?
If you use the card to top off your loading, it is fine. But I would not use CC as a regular funding source. This is clearly a cash advance type loading.
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Old Oct 21, 18, 1:36 pm
  #596  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 306
Originally Posted by ne0ven0m View Post
I realize the $200 daily and $1000 monthly cap for CC loads aren't great, but I was interested in doing so regularly with my WF Propel Word. I assume it doesn't count as cash advance? Otherwise the fees would be absurd. Any advice for anything I need to do with WF before loading my first $200?
I remember when I first tried a CC load, Serve wouldn't allow it. After a week a two, I got an email asking me to upload my driver's license. After that, no problem. You can probably upload your drivers license before trying a CC load if you want to avoid the wait.

Edit: I did it with a FNBO CC. It did not go through as a cash advance, but neither did I get any cashback for it.
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Old Oct 29, 18, 7:30 pm
  #597  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,669
Anyone knows if you can use PPBDMC to load to Serve as Debit to get 1%? I attempted and Serve says it is a credit card. I seem to recall that there is danger of getting shut down by PP if this card is used to load.

I mean to load online, not at store.

Last edited by RedSun; Oct 29, 18 at 7:40 pm
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Old Nov 5, 18, 9:32 am
  #598  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 699
OK, been reading for a few weeks, and hopefully I didn't miss this post/information somewhere:

1) One can get the green or blue Serve card and load funds onto it via certain gift cards--purchased on a CC-- (let's say Metabank VGC) at places such as WM or DG.

2) One can use the Serve card to bill pay the original credit card in #1 . Or can withdraw the balance to a bank.

3) Apparently nobody really knows for sure what will trigger a shutdown when doing #2 (that sounds bad--LOL).

4) Given #3 - does one wait for their card to be shutdown or proactively close it? I thought I saw something that proactively closing the card would cause issues? Given that you can only have 5 cards (per SSN?), it would seem that you only have a limited number of chances/months (1-2 month until shutdown?) if one is shutdown/blacklisted?
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Old Nov 9, 18, 11:12 pm
  #599  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: West Coast
Programs: AAA
Posts: 1
Hi, I have been reading this forum for some time and I am grateful for the wealth of knowledge. I hate to ask this but I got Permanently Suspended by Blue Bird from all user benefits mid churn and my BB card is frozen and I can not log in to the online account. The problem is I have a full load limit in the account and the only information BB provides me is an email saying I violated the member agreement see clause (?) and "write us a letter for further inquiries". I wrote the letter again and again and have been calling bluebird but they just refer me to the email and resend it to me.

Will I ever see my money again?

PM me for the actual agreement clause # if your interested (just in case BB team reads this)
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Old Nov 10, 18, 5:50 am
  #600  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
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Originally Posted by Processor View Post
Hi, I have been reading this forum for some time and I am grateful for the wealth of knowledge. I hate to ask this but I got Permanently Suspended by Blue Bird from all user benefits mid churn and my BB card is frozen and I can not log in to the online account. The problem is I have a full load limit in the account and the only information BB provides me is an email saying I violated the member agreement see clause (?) and "write us a letter for further inquiries". I wrote the letter again and again and have been calling bluebird but they just refer me to the email and resend it to me.

Will I ever see my money again?

PM me for the actual agreement clause # if your interested (just in case BB team reads this)
Your situation may be different, but when BB or Serve give you the axe, they simply suspend you from loading your account. You still have access to your money and can use the card to unload. Have you simply tried to move your money out of the account to a bank using your card? Take the card to a store and buy a candy bar. See if you can pay for it with BB.
If the answer is no, I would start by calling Serve and asking them to allow you to close the account and move your funds out. If that fails, you may need to start looking at Federal consumer protection sites for relief.
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