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 Jan 20, 19, 1:24 am
  #706  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
You can get away with it to have a $0 before statement closing several times. But it is very bad taste and AmEx has all reasons to shut you down. If you get benefits from it, better pay it up. Can you make up the $4.95 fee?
I can. I should but just starting out so trying to see the avenues I have available.
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Old Jan 20, 19, 8:48 am
  #707  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 265
Originally Posted by rebelinside View Post
Hello,
Just starting up on this bandwagon. I have read the Wiki and skimmed through all the comments as best as I can. The target is to use it for MS, but nothing crazy - maybe $500-$1k/month to meet minimums in combination with organic spends.
Quick questions
1) Green Serve since it allows loading VGCs? Avoid fees by keeping balance 0 at statement close?
2) Buy VGCs on the card that needs the spend and load to serve at WM, FD, GD. I know Staples had a no fee VGC week but thats too late for me. Any other way to avoid VGC fee?
3) Best practices for taking money out of serve? Bill pay and ATMs? or Bank withdrawal?

Thanks
Yes, Yes, ACH out.

Sign up for 5 to keep four as backup. Don'y listen to the guy above me--zero reason to pay Amex a monthly fee on the Green.
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Old Jan 20, 19, 1:52 pm
  #708  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 4
Originally Posted by OssianBlue View Post
Yes, Yes, ACH out.

Sign up for 5 to keep four as backup. Don'y listen to the guy above me--zero reason to pay Amex a monthly fee on the Green.
Okay - and any guide on which VGCs are easy to load? I saw that people like to do split tenders? Is it to avoid any fees - or whats the benefit of that?
I am guessing I would only liquidate 1 VGC card a day to Serve at max anyways since I don't really want to do the heavy hitting like the others.
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Old Jan 20, 19, 3:49 pm
  #709  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 87
did anyone do the recent Dollar General buy a new Serve green card, get $15 bonus added? the promo goes thru 2/10/19 according to receipt

this is my first Serve card, registered the temp card, and they said they were sending me an official card 7-10 days. Purchased 1/18, now its 1/20 and I still don't see the $15 bonus. Did they kill this promo already?
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Old Jan 20, 19, 4:37 pm
  #710  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Programs: none
Posts: 18
Originally Posted by alanisrox69 View Post
did anyone do the recent Dollar General buy a new Serve green card, get $15 bonus added? the promo goes thru 2/10/19 according to receipt

this is my first Serve card, registered the temp card, and they said they were sending me an official card 7-10 days. Purchased 1/18, now its 1/20 and I still don't see the $15 bonus. Did they kill this promo already?
looks like either they killed it or delayed until 30 days later per terms, my GF got instant 15 bonus on the 1/14, but i did exact same thing 2 days ago and nothing extra today when i checked, i may have to close the acct after 30 days due to the monthly fee issues. I do plan to contact amex after 30 days since this is my 1st and only green serve card.

Last edited by mySimon411; Jan 20, 19 at 4:38 pm Reason: error
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Old Jan 21, 19, 2:17 pm
  #711  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 69
Originally Posted by OssianBlue View Post
Yes, Yes, ACH out.

Sign up for 5 to keep four as backup. Don'y listen to the guy above me--zero reason to pay Amex a monthly fee on the Green.
Is there any reason not to sign up for all 5 at basically the same time?
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Old Jan 22, 19, 5:43 am
  #712  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: Southwest, SPG, Marriott, UR & Amex
Posts: 76
for those that have P2 serve/bb loads, do you transfer to your bank account or does P2 have their own bank account for transfers?

any issues with having P2 funds transfer to my account?
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Old Jan 22, 19, 7:24 am
  #713  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,429
Originally Posted by ramonortiz55 View Post
for those that have P2 serve/bb loads, do you transfer to your bank account or does P2 have their own bank account for transfers?

any issues with having P2 funds transfer to my account?
It is better not to transfer to bank at all. The main purpose of having the prepaid cards is to replace regular banking. You are supposed to load it and spend the $$.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 7:56 am
  #714  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 265
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
It is better not to transfer to bank at all. The main purpose of having the prepaid cards is to replace regular banking. You are supposed to load it and spend the $$.
Completely wrong.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 8:49 am
  #715  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: Southwest, SPG, Marriott, UR & Amex
Posts: 76
Originally Posted by tygran37 View Post
Is there any reason not to sign up for all 5 at basically the same time?
You will get hit with a velocity limit.

Do 2 at a time every few weeks.
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Old Jan 25, 19, 11:44 am
  #716  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 87
Originally Posted by mySimon411 View Post
looks like either they killed it or delayed until 30 days later per terms, my GF got instant 15 bonus on the 1/14, but i did exact same thing 2 days ago and nothing extra today when i checked, i may have to close the acct after 30 days due to the monthly fee issues. I do plan to contact amex after 30 days since this is my 1st and only green serve card.
got real card in mail today, activated it. Still no $15 bonus 🙄
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Old Jan 25, 19, 7:01 pm
  #717  
formerly willbbiddy
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 74
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
...

There is no merchant here. You can load Serve with AmEx Hilton CC. But you won't receive any Hilton points. Nor this qualify for any welcome bonus spending. So there is no point of loading with any CCs issued by AmEx...
I've searched but not found any solid DP's

Does loading serve count toward a status or reward? (HH night or SPG Plat).
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Old Jan 27, 19, 9:14 pm
  #718  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Programs: AA EXP, SPG Plat, HH GLD (thanks Citi), former DL silver
Posts: 2,926
I recently got a 3rd party Amex credit card recently, and tried to add funds online. Apparently I can add small amounts (e.g. $20) but not large amounts ($100+). Is that normal?
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Old Jan 28, 19, 1:08 am
  #719  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 293
Originally Posted by nall View Post
I recently got a 3rd party Amex credit card recently, and tried to add funds online. Apparently I can add small amounts (e.g. $20) but not large amounts ($100+). Is that normal?
No, it's not normal. You should be able to add $200/day. Before I could load from a CC, I had to upload my driver's license, but I never tried small amounts. If you haven't uploaded your DL, try that, wait for the email confirmation, and try large amounts again. Good luck!
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Old Jan 28, 19, 11:35 pm
  #720  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: SAN
Posts: 298
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Last edited by Traveler Dave; Jan 28, 19 at 11:58 pm
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