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 29, 18, 2:15 pm
  #646  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,678
Originally Posted by hurnik View Post
Just loaded $475.00 from OneVanilla (issued by metabank) VGC to Serve (green one) at WM.
Went fine. Asked for PIN, entered, voila.

Oh, our local WM has stopped issuing MO all together. Not sure what the reason is, but they've had the sign up for a month now (Money orders not available at this time, apologize for the inconvenience).
Huh?
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Old Dec 7, 18, 6:01 pm
  #647  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 35
I'm new to amex serve, but I read the entire wiki and got a quick "training" session with a friend. However, I still have a question that need your help with (that my friend was not able to help me with) ----- for the BLUE amex serve card, it says that the fee for reloading the card is "up to 3.95" depending on the retailer. Does anyone have any datapoints about which retailers charge how much for each reload? I'm trying to decide if I should get the GREEN serve card instead of the BLUE because I would only do 1-2 loads a month.

Any help is much appreciated!
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Old Dec 7, 18, 6:47 pm
  #648  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,678
Originally Posted by jcnkc View Post
I'm new to amex serve, but I read the entire wiki and got a quick "training" session with a friend. However, I still have a question that need your help with (that my friend was not able to help me with) ----- for the BLUE amex serve card, it says that the fee for reloading the card is "up to 3.95" depending on the retailer. Does anyone have any datapoints about which retailers charge how much for each reload? I'm trying to decide if I should get the GREEN serve card instead of the BLUE because I would only do 1-2 loads a month.

Any help is much appreciated!
If you do mainly loading, get the Green. If you do mainly direct deposit, get the Blue.

Consider the loading fee is $3.95. I've not seen otherwise. Those stores charge the same rate, Serve or Bluebird....
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Old Dec 13, 18, 2:40 pm
  #649  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 699
Originally Posted by jcnkc View Post
I'm new to amex serve, but I read the entire wiki and got a quick "training" session with a friend. However, I still have a question that need your help with (that my friend was not able to help me with) ----- for the BLUE amex serve card, it says that the fee for reloading the card is "up to 3.95" depending on the retailer. Does anyone have any datapoints about which retailers charge how much for each reload? I'm trying to decide if I should get the GREEN serve card instead of the BLUE because I would only do 1-2 loads a month.

Any help is much appreciated!
My local WM charges $3.65 for the fee when loading on BLUE Serve.
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Old Dec 20, 18, 6:31 am
  #650  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 24
Family Dollar/Dollar General

Quick question: I have been loading $500 to Serve with VGC’s at Family Dollar and Dollar General for some time. I load $200 gift cards, so it takes me 3 SEPARATE transactions ($200, $200, $100) to load $500 (which is a pain when the stores are busy). Would it be possible to ask the cashier to load $500 on one transaction and then use three different VGC debit cards to load the $500 total in ONE transaction? Any difference in this between FD or DG?

Also, I attempted to to load one of the “Grocery Anywhere” VGC that are sold at OD/OM at DG. It loaded just fine. However, when I tried to load the same card at FD, it was denied. I looked up the Visa merchant codes for the two different stores and the merchant codes are the same. Thus, I’m just wondering if anyone knows how it is determined where these “Grocery Anywhere” cards can be loaded (if MCC’s are the same but can load at DG and not FD)?
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Old Dec 20, 18, 6:55 am
  #651  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,665
Originally Posted by jrgiddyup View Post
Quick question: I have been loading $500 to Serve with VGC’s at Family Dollar and Dollar General for some time. I load $200 gift cards, so it takes me 3 SEPARATE transactions ($200, $200, $100) to load $500 (which is a pain when the stores are busy). Would it be possible to ask the cashier to load $500 on one transaction and then use three different VGC debit cards to load the $500 total in ONE transaction? Any difference in this between FD or DG?
I hope you realize that AXP prepaid reloadables are very valuable tools for MS. Although we don't hear new shutdown reports, it doesn't mean there won't be any forthcoming. With that said, I'm treading carefully when loading them. At my DGs, I stick to one load this holiday season knowing the store is busy, doing three b2b transactions is a stretch, don't be surprise if cashiers get grumpy. As to difference between DG and FD, the former is a lot easier to use IME.
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Old Dec 20, 18, 11:59 am
  #652  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PDX
Programs: Don't think it matters...
Posts: 4,938
Transfering to bank account

Hello,
Is doing regular transfers to bank account safe from Serve? I don't want either the Serve account or the bank account to be closed as this is a good way to recycle the funds for MS. Not looking at more than $5k pm volumes for now.
thx
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Old Dec 20, 18, 12:45 pm
  #653  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 24
Originally Posted by Mamibear View Post
I hope you realize that AXP prepaid reloadables are very valuable tools for MS. Although we don't hear new shutdown reports, it doesn't mean there won't be any forthcoming. With that said, I'm treading carefully when loading them. At my DGs, I stick to one load this holiday season knowing the store is busy, doing three b2b transactions is a stretch, don't be surprise if cashiers get grumpy. As to difference between DG and FD, the former is a lot easier to use IME.
What I'm asking, though, is can you do a $500 load with 3 different VGC's ($200, $200, $100) in a SINGLE transaction?
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Old Dec 20, 18, 12:51 pm
  #654  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PDX
Programs: Don't think it matters...
Posts: 4,938
Originally Posted by jrgiddyup View Post
What I'm asking, though, is can you do a $500 load with 3 different VGC's ($200, $200, $100) in a SINGLE transaction?
yes, you can.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 10:03 am
  #655  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 96
The first page Wiki is... a little outdated to say the least. Please make sure my plan is reasonable:

WF Propel World (since it's Amex network, but not Amex issue): load Serve green, $200/day (someone told me a week, but Wiki said day), and $1000/month limit. Should get 1000 WF points for it a month. Nothing great, but $120 per year from the comfort of my computer? I'll take it.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 3:59 pm
  #656  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,678
Originally Posted by ne0ven0m View Post
The first page Wiki is... a little outdated to say the least. Please make sure my plan is reasonable:

WF Propel World (since it's Amex network, but not Amex issue): load Serve green, $200/day (someone told me a week, but Wiki said day), and $1000/month limit. Should get 1000 WF points for it a month. Nothing great, but $120 per year from the comfort of my computer? I'll take it.
You sure can do it. But I see CC loading is another thing to avoid with any potential shutdowns.
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Old Dec 22, 18, 1:36 pm
  #657  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 209
I'm unable to access my Serve account today. Is anyone else having issues? The system tells me my username and password are incorrect (not true). When I attempt to reset my password through either of the two methods I get the following error each time: "For your safety, your session has expired after 10 minutes of inactivity. Please try again." It's a random error message that keeps popping up and has nothing to do with inactivity.
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Old Dec 22, 18, 1:38 pm
  #658  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: New York City
Programs: SPG Plat75, Hyatt Explorist, DL Gold, AA Gold
Posts: 85
Originally Posted by rjs11 View Post
I'm unable to access my Serve account today. Is anyone else having issues? The system tells me my username and password are incorrect (not true). When I attempt to reset my password through either of the two methods I get the following error each time: "For your safety, your session has expired after 10 minutes of inactivity. Please try again." It's a random error message that keeps popping up and has nothing to do with inactivity.
Nope, just logged in without issues ~10 seconds ago.
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Old Dec 22, 18, 1:51 pm
  #659  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 209
Originally Posted by NYCroots View Post
Nope, just logged in without issues ~10 seconds ago.
Thanks for checking. I'm not sure what the issue us. For previous shutdown rounds related to loading VGCs you could still access your account with limited functionality. I can't even access my account right now...
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Old Dec 23, 18, 9:00 am
  #660  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 209
Originally Posted by rjs11 View Post
I'm unable to access my Serve account today. Is anyone else having issues? The system tells me my username and password are incorrect (not true). When I attempt to reset my password through either of the two methods I get the following error each time: "For your safety, your session has expired after 10 minutes of inactivity. Please try again." It's a random error message that keeps popping up and has nothing to do with inactivity.
So my account was indeed shut down. I'd be curious to know if this happened to anyone else or just me this weekend.

Now that Incomm acquired Serve it seems their approach is to complete delete your account and not release the remaining funds. Even after calling in I can't get them to confirm a timeframe and method for the remaining funds balance to be returned to the original payment method or via check.
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