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]


5/21/2019 another round of Serve and Bluebird shutdowns.

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 May 10, 19, 9:47 am
  #826  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 6
did the monthly free for the Green card go to $6.95? Mine was $4.95 last month (and only signed up in April) but now website is saying something different:

Monthly fee$6.95
No fee for residents of NY, TX, or VT. No fee for residents of AR until you register your card.
If you signed up for American Express Serve® prior to February 1, 2019, the monthly fee is $4.95.
And yes, I know you can zero it out to avoid the fee
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Old May 16, 19, 1:43 pm
  #827  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 20
Something weird happened to me when I was trying to withdraw money from Serve to my bank account. When I tried to withdraw money it failed saying I didn't have any funds available which I did, but then when I checked transactions it showed that it had the withdrawal amount for how much I tried. I just assumed that it was just an error and that the withdrawal worked. It's been two days and I still don't see the amount in my bank account nor is it pending. When I log onto my serve account I now don't see the withdrawal in the transaction, but my money is still missing as well. It's like my money just disappeared. Should I wait a bit longer or should I call Serve to see what is going on?
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Old May 16, 19, 2:31 pm
  #828  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 1
newbie here. I've been reading the comments for few hours now. Just got my Serve card today. Time to reload it with VGC. I know CVS in now "cash only" . which stores I can use as of today to reload my Serve card with VGC. I'll appreciate your kind replies.
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Old May 16, 19, 9:03 pm
  #829  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Houston
Programs: HiltonH-Diamond, IHG-Plat, Hyatt-Diamond,SPG-newbie
Posts: 294
Originally Posted by jhangilp View Post
I am looking to create a serve account, but looking through the thread I see suggestions to open 5 serve accounts.
From what I understand this is for backup purposes, so does that mean I actively just use one and just keep the other 4 open.

Also is the Green Serve card what is mostly used? And is it the only card that is able to load at WM or are all the serve cards eligible? Thanks

same. Like to know the answer to these questions too. I was part of the the old serve user that was cancel out from serve. That was like 2-3 years ago. Just when online an open and requested a new account with serve. Looking to get back in on this but notice ALOT of changes.

additional question : ok Amex let u link one Amex card to load ok.

What other way way we can load with a chase card?
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Old May 18, 19, 3:32 pm
  #830  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Programs: MR, UR, RR
Posts: 4
I've been trying to find a definitive answer on this, but are you able to make the initial Serve card purchase (not reload) anywhere with a CC, like you can for VVGCs? I know CVS is out now (after having tried it directly), but am I able to do it at WM (or somewhere else that may not be community knowledge)?
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Old May 19, 19, 7:03 am
  #831  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 2,058
Just like to share my experience.

Yesterday at DG. Loaded one $500 VGC and it went through like usual. Then the 2nd $500 VGC was rejected. It says:

Card activation has failed. Customer is entitled to an immediate refund for the AmEx Serve reload.

The called the manager and the manager refunded the fund to the same VGC.

When I tried to use the same VGC about 1 hour later, the loading was rejected. But when I came home and checking the VGC online, it correctly shows the fund on the card.

Questions and comments:
1. What caused the "card activation failure?" It is related to Serve or VGC?
2. I think there may be some time delay to receive the refund. So the 2nd loading with the same card was not successful. But the fund is back to the card now.
3. I believe I loaded twice before and it was fine. I do not know if the card activation failure is a store (limit) thing or the Serve card thing.

Any experience such as this?
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Old May 19, 19, 1:47 pm
  #832  
Moderator, Manufactured Spending
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: TIJ/SAN
Programs: All of them.
Posts: 1,346
Originally Posted by tech4zz View Post
newbie here. I've been reading the comments for few hours now. Just got my Serve card today. Time to reload it with VGC. I know CVS in now "cash only" . which stores I can use as of today to reload my Serve card with VGC. I'll appreciate your kind replies.
Try your local walmart.
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Old May 19, 19, 5:11 pm
  #833  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 2,058
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
Just like to share my experience.

Yesterday at DG. Loaded one $500 VGC and it went through like usual. Then the 2nd $500 VGC was rejected. It says:

Card activation has failed. Customer is entitled to an immediate refund for the AmEx Serve reload.

The called the manager and the manager refunded the fund to the same VGC.

When I tried to use the same VGC about 1 hour later, the loading was rejected. But when I came home and checking the VGC online, it correctly shows the fund on the card.

Questions and comments:
1. What caused the "card activation failure?" It is related to Serve or VGC?
2. I think there may be some time delay to receive the refund. So the 2nd loading with the same card was not successful. But the fund is back to the card now.
3. I believe I loaded twice before and it was fine. I do not know if the card activation failure is a store (limit) thing or the Serve card thing.

Any experience such as this?
The balance still not available. Blackhawk shows a balance of $500, but it also shows the $500 withdraw. I'm not sure how much time the refund takes. I still get the two receipts of the loading and the refund.
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Old May 19, 19, 5:37 pm
  #834  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,679
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
The balance still not available. Blackhawk shows a balance of $500, but it also shows the $500 withdraw. I'm not sure how much time the refund takes. I still get the two receipts of the loading and the refund.
When my load failed manager said it would go back on card and could take up to a week depending on my bank even though receipt stated customer due immediate refund. I left my number in case their register was off and money was not showing on my card.

I was going to call next day to inquire as receipt said immediate refund, when store beat me to it. They called to tell me to come in as they had my money. Went in and they gave me $400 in cash.

Load failed I assume as I was over DG $500 daily limit.
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Old May 19, 19, 6:40 pm
  #835  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 2,058
Originally Posted by YoungBubbie View Post


When my load failed manager said it would go back on card and could take up to a week depending on my bank even though receipt stated customer due immediate refund. I left my number in case their register was off and money was not showing on my card.

I was going to call next day to inquire as receipt said immediate refund, when store beat me to it. They called to tell me to come in as they had my money. Went in and they gave me $400 in cash.

Load failed I assume as I was over DG $500 daily limit.
I still get the refund receipt. It says:

Return or Exchange
AmEx Serve Reload
Amt Due to Customer $500
Visa/Debit $500-
Swiped
Auth #
Refer #
Customer Copy

Both manger and I signed on store copy.
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Old May 21, 19, 1:04 pm
  #836  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 39
Is there a recommended load/billpay strategy with BB, or are people just loading the max of 5k and then BPing?
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Old May 21, 19, 3:38 pm
  #837  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by daddyo_daddyo View Post
Is there a recommended load/billpay strategy with BB, or are people just loading the max of 5k and then BPing?
I haven't been doing it that long but I have multiple BB and Serve accounts that I spread the loading out on then use a combination of BP and Bank Transfer.
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Old May 21, 19, 4:07 pm
  #838  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 76
So. Today I got a couple emails, one from BB one from serve. "We've noticed unusual usage patterns on your account". Great.
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Old May 21, 19, 4:11 pm
  #839  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 1
Yep, me too. One BB and one Serve. Lots of reports coming in on reddit as well.
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Old May 21, 19, 4:23 pm
  #840  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 167
I also got the "We've noticed unusual usage patterns". I just got the card from Dollar General on 1/18/19. I have only cycled thru a few thousand, always one swipe reloads and only 1 reload per day.

Hello,

We’ve noticed unusual usage patterns on your American Express Serve® Account and, because of this, you’ll no longer be able to add money to your Account, effective immediately.1 We’ve made this change in accordance with Section 15.d of our Consumer User Agreement, which you can view here.

Please know that you still have full access to the funds on your Account and can withdraw them at any time. Any applicable monthly fees continue to apply.

Once your balance reaches $0, please close your Account online via your Profile page, which you can access here. Scroll down to the Close Account section and click “Close Account.”

If you have any questions, please write to us at the following address:

Serve Customer Care
P.O. Box 826
Fortson, GA 31808


Thank you,
The American Express® Serve Team
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