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 - 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.

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 Jun 24, 19, 11:28 am
  #901  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 711
Originally Posted by luv2vacay View Post
Depends on the message. Some walmart machines got a POS update a few months back that can somehow distinguish between a Meta VGC and a "real" debit card. Unfortunately one of mine got hit, so my WM is no longer good for loading onto Serve with Meta VGC. Haven't tried BlueBird.
what msg did it show / print?
danhouston is offline  
Old Jun 24, 19, 12:11 pm
  #902  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: LAX
Posts: 12
Originally Posted by perkunas View Post
You shouldn't have any issue loading w meta VGC. If it "didn't go through" the printer usually spits out some sort of error message which gives you an idea of what went wrong.
Thanks. The CSR likely aborted the transaction when they noticed that I swiped the card. No receipt was printed out; they had to call the supervisor to reset the register. The VGC loaded without any problems at another WM though.
brokephibroke is offline  
Old Jun 24, 19, 1:15 pm
  #903  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 268
Originally Posted by danhouston View Post
what msg did it show / print?
Invalid Tender or Invalid Card
There was a big thread on reddit about this a while back. It seems some WM MC terminals (not all the terminals in the same WM) got an "update". We're still not sure if it's JUST Metabank VGC and ONLY with Serve (there were some DP suggesting BB still worked). Same WM MC, the POS also prevented using Metabank VGC for money orders.

But another WM a few miles away worked.
luv2vacay is offline  
Old Jun 27, 19, 1:30 pm
  #904  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,699
I just noticed the email sent June 21 regarding statement for unactivated S approved on May 21. Received this card end of May and did not activate. Just came from vacation so I compared it my other sleepers that remained unactivated (these were approved way before the May 21 shutdown) that did NOT receive any statements. I decided to activate this card so that I can load it to the max until the next wave comes. I intend to load the full amount for this month until Sunday.
Mamibear is offline  
Old Jun 27, 19, 2:02 pm
  #905  
Hyatt 5+ BadgeMarriott 5+ Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
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Originally Posted by Mamibear View Post
I just noticed the email sent June 21 regarding statement for unactivated S approved on May 21. Received this card end of May and did not activate. Just came from vacation so I compared it my other sleepers that remained unactivated (these were approved way before the May 21 shutdown) that did NOT receive any statements. I decided to activate this card so that I can load it to the max until the next wave comes. I intend to load the full amount for this month until Sunday.
This is odd that statement was generated for un-activated card. I had a card not activated, then received notice (email?) stating that if I do not activate the new card, the new card would be closed.

Going forward, I'll just keep 2-3 cards active. BB/Serve is very labor intensive for MS. I'll only use them when I get stuck with some cards that I can't easily get rid off.
RedSun is offline  
Old Jun 27, 19, 2:36 pm
  #906  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,447
Originally Posted by Mamibear View Post
I just noticed the email sent June 21 regarding statement for unactivated S approved on May 21. Received this card end of May and did not activate. Just came from vacation so I compared it my other sleepers that remained unactivated (these were approved way before the May 21 shutdown) that did NOT receive any statements. I decided to activate this card so that I can load it to the max until the next wave comes. I intend to load the full amount for this month until Sunday.
Are you loading and then closing the following month prior to the card being axed?
Or are you just loading and then repeating until the card is beheaded?
radonc1 is online now  
Old Jun 27, 19, 5:51 pm
  #907  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,699
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
This is odd that statement was generated for un-activated card.
Odd, indeed! This card was approved the same day of shutdown and I'm puzzled why I got the statement when it is (was) in sleep mode while all the other derivative cards from early this year does NOT generate statements while on sleep mode. I decided to maximize use just in case it gets are axed even with zero/minimal load. I'll still let the other cards sleep to serve as back ups.

Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
Are you loading and then closing the following month prior to the card being axed?
Or are you just loading and then repeating until the card is beheaded?
I don't max out 2 months then close acct based on reports of blanket SSN ban; I have different use for axp cards now so I activate only 1 at a time, load the max each month until the next ax falls. Hopefully, the next one will be over a year from now.
Mamibear is offline  
Old Jun 27, 19, 6:44 pm
  #908  
Hyatt 5+ BadgeMarriott 5+ Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 2,703
The old trick of "cut and wash" is no good. Even you MS with just one card, your SSN will still be banned. You are just left with the cards AmEx does not catch. A one year inactive card can still be banned.

I expect the next ax cycle going to be another 1.5 to 2 years away.
RedSun is offline  
Old Jun 28, 19, 2:13 pm
  #909  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 711
Originally Posted by Mamibear View Post
I just noticed the email sent June 21 regarding statement for unactivated S approved on May 21. Received this card end of May and did not activate. Just came from vacation so I compared it my other sleepers that remained unactivated (these were approved way before the May 21 shutdown) that did NOT receive any statements. I decided to activate this card so that I can load it to the max until the next wave comes. I intend to load the full amount for this month until Sunday.
a friend's BB & S inactivated accts i helped open last month got the stmts as well, although no warning email that accts will be closed if not activated or such...
danhouston is offline  
Old Jul 2, 19, 7:27 pm
  #910  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Atlanta
Programs: Delta Diamond; HHonors Diamond
Posts: 647
I got banned back in the first ever bluebird purge. Since then, I haven't had time to engage in or research other manufactured spending options. At the risk of offending those who more religiously follow this thread, is there a reasonable chance that I might be able to open a Serve account now despite getting banned back at the time of the first purge?
GatorBlues is offline  
Old Jul 2, 19, 8:23 pm
  #911  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 711
Originally Posted by GatorBlues View Post
I got banned back in the first ever bluebird purge. Since then, I haven't had time to engage in or research other manufactured spending options. At the risk of offending those who more religiously follow this thread, is there a reasonable chance that I might be able to open a Serve account now despite getting banned back at the time of the first purge?
u can try... won't hurt; if still banned, will get the msg like 'unable to open...'
danhouston is offline  
Old Jul 3, 19, 9:14 am
  #912  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 3
I'm very new to MS and bought a Vanilla VGC from WM. I've found a hard time liquidating it since WM in Dallas does not accept debit for money order and many online billpay sites do not accept Vanilla. Does anyone know if I can load Serve with a Vanilla VGC? In the future I'll be avoiding these and focusing on non Vanilla VGC.
j_d_p is offline  
Old Jul 3, 19, 10:28 am
  #913  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 711
Originally Posted by j_d_p View Post
I'm very new to MS and bought a Vanilla VGC from WM. I've found a hard time liquidating it since WM in Dallas does not accept debit for money order and many online billpay sites do not accept Vanilla. Does anyone know if I can load Serve with a Vanilla VGC? In the future I'll be avoiding these and focusing on non Vanilla VGC.
test & see; worked in the past may still work now or no longer

Last edited by danhouston; Jul 3, 19 at 2:40 pm
danhouston is offline  
Old Jul 3, 19, 12:39 pm
  #914  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 208
Originally Posted by j_d_p View Post
I'm very new to MS and bought a Vanilla VGC from WM. I've found a hard time liquidating it since WM in Dallas does not accept debit for money order and many online billpay sites do not accept Vanilla. Does anyone know if I can load Serve with a Vanilla VGC? In the future I'll be avoiding these and focusing on non Vanilla VGC.
I suggest you do LOTS of reading. Vanilla does not work at WM as debit. Registers are hardcoded. Other Visa/MC brands work fine at WM as debit.
alanisrox69 is online now  
Old Jul 3, 19, 12:40 pm
  #915  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by alanisrox69 View Post
I suggest you do LOTS of reading. Vanilla does not work at WM as debit. Registers are hardcoded. Other Visa/MC brands work fine at WM as debit.
Yeah I thought I had done a lot of reading, but learning that I didn't quite do enough. Vanilla is now my enemy.

Thanks for the help, definitely going to be taking it slow.
j_d_p is offline  

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