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 Nov 10, 18, 7:22 am
  #601  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 266
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)
More details on what happened would be helpful.
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Old Nov 10, 18, 9:29 am
  #602  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,665
@Processor, how long have you had BB? Did you load a full $5K for this month which is now frozen? Do you also have Serve account(s)? If you do, and have been shut down by BB, your Serve may be next so plan accordingly. I wonder if another wave of shutdown is coming up? I hope not.

@radonc1 gave good suggestions, best way to check if your card is active is to buy something at the store. If that succeeds and you know your remaining balance, you can start withdrawing at the ATM even if you can't do it in one day because of limits. If you're not able to use it at the store nor ATM, you have to prepare for discussions over the phone with a rep from overseas.Be polite but firm and ask for a supervisor and let them know that you understand the company can suspend your ability to load the card but you should be able to access your available balance until you use them all. If this explanation does not work, best to write a complaint to CFPB and see what the company says. For now, try using your BB card first and if that fails, and you've given up in calling them, your last lifeline is CFPB. Good luck!
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Old Nov 11, 18, 3:00 pm
  #603  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Pittsburgh
Programs: Whoever Has the Best Bonus
Posts: 4,885
I used a Green Serve to load the MB VGC from Staples (free this week, you can get some cash back via RMN) at Walmart, no problem. The back of the card says last 4 as PIN and it worked as advertised. BC MCGC loaded without PIN later.

Last edited by pitflyer; Nov 14, 18 at 9:19 pm
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Old Nov 11, 18, 7:33 pm
  #604  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Programs: Hyatt, American, Marriott, Hilton, MGM
Posts: 16
Are Walmarts allowing multiple swipes for load onto Serve?
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Old Nov 11, 18, 7:49 pm
  #605  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,669
The best at WM is to do one shot. I've had more instances that when I attempted to load the 2nd time at the same cashier/counter, they were alerted and asked to see the cards....
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Old Nov 11, 18, 9:21 pm
  #606  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Programs: Hyatt, American, Marriott, Hilton, MGM
Posts: 16
Sorry for this new question: I have seen lots of posts about cycling cards and opening up multiple cards (up to 5X). How does one achieve that? I believe this is different than adding sub-accounts right?

Last edited by lavidaesbella; Nov 13, 18 at 8:21 pm
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Old Nov 12, 18, 3:15 pm
  #607  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 4
Sounds like people are able to load Serve @ WM without issues again?
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Old Nov 12, 18, 3:19 pm
  #608  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,669
Originally Posted by LAtrotter View Post
Sounds like people are able to load Serve @ WM without issues again?
I never get a single issue with Serve at WM.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 8:12 am
  #609  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Salt Lake City
Programs: AS MVP, DL DM, UA 1K, AA EXP, Hilton DM, Hyatt Glob, Marriott Titnmn, IHG IC, Hertz PC, National EE
Posts: 1,440
Does anyone know how to call and get a human at customer service? I recently tried to apply, realized I have an old card that probably gone, and wanted to see if they could close it and get another... the automated system can't find my SSN, so don't know how to speak with someone....
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Old Nov 14, 18, 8:29 am
  #610  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,665
Originally Posted by lavidaesbella View Post
Are Walmarts allowing multiple swipes for load onto Serve?
YES, but as always, YMMV since there are those limiting to just one swipe.

When loading Serve, the most common mistake I read is people trying to swipe 4 VGCs to load their card that always results in failure. When loading prepaids, the max limit of swipes is FOUR with the prepaid card considered as 1st swipe, thereby leaving only 3 swipes left.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 10:02 am
  #611  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,669
Originally Posted by Mamibear View Post
YES, but as always, YMMV since there are those limiting to just one swipe.

When loading Serve, the most common mistake I read is people trying to swipe 4 VGCs to load their card that always results in failure. When loading prepaids, the max limit of swipes is FOUR with the prepaid card considered as 1st swipe, thereby leaving only 3 swipes left.
More and more WMs tighten the rules on using GC to load and to buy MO. More swipes always draw attentions. YMMV.
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Old Nov 14, 18, 6:28 pm
  #612  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Programs: Hyatt, American, Marriott, Hilton, MGM
Posts: 16
I'm new to this, but had three different WM's request to see the debit the instant I asked for split tender and then turn me away once they saw the GC's. I was not comfortable showing a real debit and then using a GC to swipe seeing as they were paying close attention. Seems at this point loading one at a time to serve is the best option. Still have a pending question of how to get multiple serve cards under one SSN? Is it just applying five times to the same SSN?
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Old Nov 14, 18, 6:43 pm
  #613  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,669
Originally Posted by lavidaesbella View Post
I'm new to this, but had three different WM's request to see the debit the instant I asked for split tender and then turn me away once they saw the GC's. I was not comfortable showing a real debit and then using a GC to swipe seeing as they were paying close attention. Seems at this point loading one at a time to serve is the best option. Still have a pending question of how to get multiple serve cards under one SSN? Is it just applying five times to the same SSN?
Just hope you are not in my area. I think you just damaged yourself at those 3 WMs. You just showed your face with those GCs in your hand.

Loading BB or Serve is almost dead, or walking dead. Most of the heavy hitters are already banned and moved to MO game. But the damages stayed.
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Old Nov 15, 18, 3:59 am
  #614  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 2
Hello

Hi , I have been reading a lot of ms things for the past few days , just trying to think of my own strategy.

So here is my plan , please correct me if I am wrong.

​​​​I am thinking to get serve card and only load vgc online , 1k per month should be enough . If not , can I get another serve card do another 1k. Since the nearest Walmart is too far away from me , I may only do less 3k per month ,so 3 serve should be enough for me .

Will this work ? I don't see a lot of discussion about loading vgc online... So just trying to confirm this.

Another question : I don't understand why people withdraw the money to the bank .. instead of just use serve bill pay to pay off the credit card .Is there a reason for it ?

Appreciate your answer , thank you
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Old Nov 15, 18, 7:43 am
  #615  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,665
Originally Posted by gy_zero View Post

​​​​I am thinking to get serve card and only load vgc online , 1k per month should be enough . If not , can I get another serve card do another 1k. Since the nearest Walmart is too far away from me , I may only do less 3k per month ,so 3 serve should be enough for me .

Will this work ? I don't see a lot of discussion about loading vgc online... So just trying to confirm this.

Another question : I don't understand why people withdraw the money to the bank .. instead of just use serve bill pay to pay off the credit card .Is there a reason for it ?
Your plan won't work, you'll get flagged after a while loading VGCs online. I suggest you look for the nearest Dollar Gen or Family Dollar to load your Serve card(s) with VGCs. Although some would say they got away with loading their VGCs to AXP prepaids online, this activity won't last long and will cause your account to be suspended from further loading. Start to make back up plans on how to liquidate your VGCs BEFORE you purchase them.

As to people withdrawing $ to their bank, I'd say to each his own since I pay bills with my balance and/or withdraw at the ATM. Overall, NO strategy is safe, it's just the nature of this activity and you just have to be prepared and roll with the punches.
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