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 Feb 8, 19, 8:24 am
  #736  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 699
Originally Posted by NYCroots View Post
There was one comment about WM not allowing VGC to be used on Serve/BB, and even that user wrote that two out of the three WMs still let him load, but limited him to one swipe.
Huh, I see more than one:

"
Just left my extremely friendly WM and multiple CSRs said they were told by Corp to no longer accept VGC for MO or BB/Serve loads...time to drive up the road and see what they say.Edit: just left another WM and cashier that let me split payment before said all transactions need to be on 1 swipe. Only let me load 500....onto WM #3.Edit#2: WM #3 a no go for splits. Never seen this CSR before. Will swing by friendly WM in the AM before work and see what different CSR says."

and

"The three extremely MS friendly WM in my area also started cracking down GCs. WM1 last fall, then WMN December, then WM2 last week. Even my best buddy at WMN wouldn’t do it. Loading prepaid cards at cashier lanes without asking to split still works, but that just slows things down by 5000%. "

and

"Also went to WM today in SE michigan and got the same message. 1 swipe only and no GCs "

and
" I had the same issue at a local one tonight I’ve been using quite a bit. None of my friendly CSRs were there and it was all yellow vests at the money center. One asked to see the card and I showed it and he said they cannot do those anymore. "
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Old Feb 8, 19, 4:03 pm
  #737  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,676
When you do split or multiple swipes, you are telling WM that you are using GC, not bank debit card.... MSing is to lay low, low and lower.... What else do I need to day?
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Old Feb 8, 19, 5:15 pm
  #738  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: SAN
Posts: 26
"I'd like to lad $xxxx to Serve. I need so split by $xxx."

Straightforward. The two WM are pretty chill and know I'm using a debit.
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Old Feb 9, 19, 3:34 pm
  #739  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,676
Originally Posted by fishfly View Post
"I'd like to lad $xxxx to Serve. I need so split by $xxx."

Straightforward. The two WM are pretty chill and know I'm using a debit.
Whatever you do. YMMV. WM employees are not highly trained and well paid. Some are not confident with anything beyond basis stuff. You never want to get attention of the CSM or yellow jacket. If yellow jackets see something they do not like, they can make rules and make that WM not MS friendly. This is how WMs are shut down more and more. Some are entirely due to the foolishness of the MSers.

But keep doing whatever you feel comfortable. Good luck to all.
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Old Feb 9, 19, 4:32 pm
  #740  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: NY
Posts: 445
Originally Posted by hurnik View Post
There's a rash of reports in the last 24 hours on reddit of various WM no longer allowing VGC loading of Serve. I'll have to tempt fate tomorrow and see what happens.
It's not hard coded, but it's true. Some strict WM's ask to see the card you're loading with.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 4:06 pm
  #741  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,676
Originally Posted by FrankMS View Post
It's not hard coded, but it's true. Some strict WM's ask to see the card you're loading with.
Nothing new with this. A lot WMs are doing this. And I expect more will do it. Some people definitely will push to get to the end sooner. We'll see.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 7:07 am
  #742  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Programs: United, AA, BA, AF
Posts: 19
Just got into the Serve game, and I'm seeing a ton of conflicting information about the best way to liquidate to avoid shutdown (thankfully I've had 0 problems loading so far). Still ramping up as I test out different gift cards and locations so my numbers are small, but currently just doing Bill Pay to my auto loan and the CC I'm hitting MSR on. I'm not using it for category spend...yet. Are there any patterns or things I should avoid to stay under the radar?
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:14 am
  #743  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 1,676
Originally Posted by GlasedDonut View Post
Just got into the Serve game, and I'm seeing a ton of conflicting information about the best way to liquidate to avoid shutdown (thankfully I've had 0 problems loading so far). Still ramping up as I test out different gift cards and locations so my numbers are small, but currently just doing Bill Pay to my auto loan and the CC I'm hitting MSR on. I'm not using it for category spend...yet. Are there any patterns or things I should avoid to stay under the radar?
Keep doing whatever is working. Do not be tempted to be greedy.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 10:58 am
  #744  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 32
Apologies if I missed discussion of this--looked back a few pages and didn't see it. But I remember back in 2017 there was an announcement that AMEX was selling Serve, BB, etc. to Incomm and speculation that there might be a possibility that those of us who were shut down could regain access (either on existing shut-down accounts we never closed or by signing up for a new card with the same SSN).

The sale was expected to close in 2018. Found an article from last April saying the sale went through.

But here we are in 2019 and I'm not sure what, if anything, changed. Obviously the Serve and BB products appear to still be around, people are using them, etc. But did anyone who was banned get unbanned in the process? I guess my hunch says no or I'd be finding reports saying as much. But figured I would ask anyway to satisfy my curiosity.
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Old Feb 14, 19, 5:43 pm
  #745  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 2
Just got the PenFed Pathfinder AMEX. Any data points on if loading it to Serve online will count toward minimum spend? This worked with Propel World from WFargo.
Also, can I add 1000 in a month from Propel, then switch cards and add 1000 more in the same month from PenFed Pathfinder?
Thanks.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 11:24 am
  #746  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Programs: Lowest-level minion
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by stanle View Post
Just got the PenFed Pathfinder AMEX. Any data points on if loading it to Serve online will count toward minimum spend? This worked with Propel World from WFargo.
Also, can I add 1000 in a month from Propel, then switch cards and add 1000 more in the same month from PenFed Pathfinder?
Thanks.
Testing the PenFed scenario now (I have successfully done it with WF and FNBO), but I wouldn't recommend waiting for me to report back - the banner on serve.com claims they're discontinuing AmEx CC loads after 3/31.

In the past you were limited to $1000 in CC loads per Serve card, not per SSN, so you could switch mid-month. IIRC you were indeed limited to the $1000/Serve

Edit: the sky might not be falling: AmEx CCs won't be available as a backup funding source, and I'm not sure if they'll be available for adding funds normally.

Last edited by gregorius; Feb 28, 19 at 7:44 am Reason: Clarifying what I misread
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Old Feb 26, 19, 10:01 am
  #747  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 2,985
Originally Posted by bookemdano View Post
Apologies if I missed discussion of this--looked back a few pages and didn't see it. But I remember back in 2017 there was an announcement that AMEX was selling Serve, BB, etc. to Incomm and speculation that there might be a possibility that those of us who were shut down could regain access (either on existing shut-down accounts we never closed or by signing up for a new card with the same SSN).

The sale was expected to close in 2018. Found an article from last April saying the sale went through.

But here we are in 2019 and I'm not sure what, if anything, changed. Obviously the Serve and BB products appear to still be around, people are using them, etc. But did anyone who was banned get unbanned in the process? I guess my hunch says no or I'd be finding reports saying as much. But figured I would ask anyway to satisfy my curiosity.
If you were part of the great massacree or otherwise tossed from either program, why don't you try and sign up? (It's easy to do on-line). And let us know your outcome. It would be appreciated.
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Old Feb 26, 19, 12:54 pm
  #748  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 21
Anyone know what US Bank Rewards Cards online purchases coded as for amex and chase?

Last edited by Semper0369; Feb 26, 19 at 11:06 pm
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Old Feb 26, 19, 10:13 pm
  #749  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 33
Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
If you were part of the great massacree or otherwise tossed from either program, why don't you try and sign up? (It's easy to do on-line). And let us know your outcome. It would be appreciated.
I try opening an account online every once in awhile. Last attempt was about a month ago and still no dice.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 7:00 am
  #750  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 2,985
Originally Posted by Darksun View Post
I try opening an account online every once in awhile. Last attempt was about a month ago and still no dice.
I have had the same results as you.
Perhaps Amex is biblical in function in that we have to wait 7 years for reinstatement
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