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.

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 - Appears to no longer be working with any brand of VCG.

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.

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:
Received when I used a card I thought I had activated but hadn't.

Received when the card's monthly load limit had been reached.

Card was incorrectly read, or wrong PIN entered.

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 21, 19, 5:35 pm
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 76
BB, 2 Green S3rves and 2 S3rve OneV1P closed. Got lazy and stopped close/reopen operation 8 months ago. Have one “sleeper” green - wonder if it will work. Any DPs? Was doing 10K loads for the past 7-8 months.
zmicer88 is offline  
Old May 21, 19, 5:35 pm
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: BOS / BWI
Programs: AA, UA, Marriott, HHonors, Avis et al.
Posts: 224
I came here to post about my troubles, but looks like I'm not the only one. Both BB and Serve shutdown, same emails as others above. Only about $1k per two weeks on Serve and BB via VGC loads and WM. Working my way towards Cap1 Spark Min spend, don't think I'm going to make it

Well, now I am stuck with $3k of VGC that I need to find another way to liquidate. Any ideas? Please PM me if you don't want to share widely, I would really appreciate it!
c2d is offline  
Old May 21, 19, 5:55 pm
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 5
AmEx Serve Shutdown

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. We’ve made this change in accordance with Section 15.d of our Consumer User Agreement, which you can view here.

Maybe it was churning almost $10k this month between my 2 cards. I only received one email though. I wonder if they nuked both cards?
VilniusSchoolmaster is offline  
Old May 21, 19, 5:56 pm
Join Date: Nov 2017
Programs: none
Posts: 76
Me and my p2 BB and serve cards got shut down email, I closed per their request since all has zero balance.
mySimon411 is offline  
Old May 21, 19, 7:18 pm
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Northeastern United States
Posts: 401
Lost 4 Serve and 2 BBs between myself and P2. Same emails for all accounts. Have been loading $5K per month on each card for over a year. Going to pick up a new Serve at CVS in the AM and see if I can open a new account as others are reporting success in doing so even after being previously shut down in the past.
Prometheus77 is offline  
Old May 21, 19, 7:45 pm
Hyatt 5+ BadgeMarriott 5+ Badge
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 2,730
Report back to see anyone able to re-open new card after shut-downs....
RedSun is online now  
Old May 21, 19, 8:04 pm
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 7
Both of my serve accounts were shut down. I closed the accounts per the email, and then went to Walmart, bought 2 temp serve cards, registered them with all of the same information and email address I used before.
Prometheus77 likes this.
David Lin is offline  
Old May 21, 19, 8:04 pm
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 18
Serve 1, did about 2k in April, 4k in May. Shutdown.
Serve 2, did 1k in May (thought I hit the 5k limit on the other account), no apparent shut down yet. Will need to check more when at home, currently on vacation. Don't have cards. No BB at all.
Serve 3, unused (not even activated), no shut down.

Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
Report back to see anyone able to re-open new card after shut-downs....
Reports from Reddit are saying that you're able to make a new account after the shut down, so it doesn't appear SSN related, but nobody has received a card yet to know if it they can activate it.
yaji is offline  
Old May 22, 19, 12:35 pm
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 394
Arg! Got my shutdown email. I know I can re-apply, but they're not approving the OneVIP card anymore.,

I guess there's a bright side. I've always been a bit timid, worrying that if I press the limits I might get shut down. Especially worried about doing the load money then withdraw/ACH transfer, so must of my spend has been real organic spend from the account (never to a CC). Won't be worried about that next time around.
Klemhuzzah is offline  
Old May 22, 19, 12:41 pm
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 208
I had some organic spend and did mainly $200 loads (officemax/staples VGCs), one per day at Dollar General and a few at Family Dollar. Funnily, I loaded at Family Dollar, 3rd time ever, yesterday, $200, then I got the shutdown email an hour or so later. doubt that had anything to do with it. I am starting to wonder if this really had anything to do with the GCM 'hack/breach' and Von's/Safeway fraud going on.
alanisrox69 is offline  
Old May 22, 19, 12:52 pm
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 61
All of the cards I had used were shut down, 3 BB and 2 Serve over P1 and P2. Still have 2 Serve unused.
flyertalkfrank is offline  
Old May 22, 19, 2:18 pm
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 711
Originally Posted by David Lin View Post
Both of my serve accounts were shut down. I closed the accounts per the email, and then went to Walmart, bought 2 temp serve cards, registered them with all of the same information and email address I used before.
david, if u or any folks can activate the new accts after receiving the perm cards, will appreciate an update, TIA

Last edited by danhouston; May 22, 19 at 2:23 pm
danhouston is offline  
Old May 23, 19, 10:02 am
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 216
No shut down email, but I'm unable to add funds to my cards now.
rjs11 is offline  
Old May 23, 19, 1:45 pm
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 490
I got the shutdown email Tuesday. Re-signed up for a new Serve and BB that night. Tried for another Serve today, no-go. Wonder if the ones from Tuesday will get processed. Used different emails for all the accounts.
shadow520 is offline  
Old May 23, 19, 4:40 pm
Hyatt 5+ BadgeMarriott 5+ Badge
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 2,730
Today I used a previously dormant Serve card to load. After $1k load, it said I exceed the loading limit. Anyone seeing the same?
RedSun is online now  

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