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 Aug 3, 19, 12:57 pm
  #976  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: New Jersey
Programs: WN, AA, UA, DL, AC, CX, BA, AGR, IHG, HH, CC, UR, MR, TY
Posts: 121
Originally Posted by RedSun View Post
I have successfully loaded $1.5k to the same card at same time. But my last >$500 load failed. I do not want to spend time to figure out. Better safe than sorry.

With the periodic shut-downs and the high fees, Serve gets harder to keep.
The Green version does not have any load fees. The $6.95 monthly fee is waived in TX, NY, and VT. I used to use this one for no fees before it was shut down.

https://www.serve.com/cash-reload-prepaid-card/
gamzarme is offline  
Old Aug 3, 19, 10:40 pm
  #977  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Chicago Burbs
Programs: SPG Gold, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 227
Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
I was banned by BB in the first shut down but recently got a single BB card (finally). However, I cannot get any other cards, either BB or Serve. I just thought that this was due to my prior shut down.
Any trick to get approved for BB?

My wife and I were shut down in 2015 or 16. My wife canít get any cards now but I did.

I got 5 green serve and 1 BB a few weeks before the May 2019 shutdowns. I hadnít started using my cards until the end of May and my 1 serve and BB are still active.

I only started trying for my wifeís after June which could be the difference.
AzLarry is offline  
Old Aug 4, 19, 6:46 am
  #978  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,325
Originally Posted by AzLarry View Post


Any trick to get approved for BB?

My wife and I were shut down in 2015 or 16. My wife can’t get any cards now but I did.

I got 5 green serve and 1 BB a few weeks before the May 2019 shutdowns. I hadn’t started using my cards until the end of May and my 1 serve and BB are still active.

I only started trying for my wife’s after June which could be the difference.
I don't know of any tricks, to be honest. I was also shut down in '16 but I managed to sign up for a single BB card in May, '19.
I am unable to repeat the minimal success since then, either for BB or Serve.
They must have shut down the blocker when the great massacree of '19 was occurring, which enabled a few of us "blacklisters" to sneak in under the wire
radonc1 is offline  
Old Aug 6, 19, 12:45 am
  #979  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by DBFL View Post
I attempted to load $1k to my card at DG today. Iíve never tried there before. The wiki at the top of the thread says the daily limit is $1500.
The cashier had no clue how to load anything at all. So she called her supervisor. The supervisor said she thinks the limit is $200 per day loading via debit. But she didnít seem too sure about that. Neither ever even attempted the transaction on the register. I didnít want to push, so I said thanks and left.
So are the DG employees incorrect, or can I not load $1k? There are rarely any customers in the DG stores by me, so it would save a bit of time over WM if Iím actually able to load there. And then I can save WM for BB loads.
Update:
It appears that my problem was with DG employee knowledge, or a lack thereof.
I still donít know what the limit is per transaction, but itís at least $500 around here.
I went to another DG today and asked to load $500 to my card. Iíd have tried more, but I was down to my last card. Cashier had no problem completing the transaction. She had to swipe my Serve card on her machine, but then I used my gebit on the normal customer machine.
Iím debating if itís worth going back to the two close to my house and asking them to attempt the transaction. They seemed friendly enough, just not very knowledgeable.
DBFL is offline  
Old Aug 7, 19, 12:31 pm
  #980  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,197
Is a Serve card still worth getting given the monthly fee? It used to be $1 and now its like $6.95. Also it seems like draining to zero will just draw more scrutiny for shutdown. Wouldn't BB be a better option assuming you have access to WM?
ericdabbs is offline  
Old Aug 7, 19, 1:01 pm
  #981  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by ericdabbs View Post
Is a Serve card still worth getting given the monthly fee? It used to be $1 and now its like $6.95. Also it seems like draining to zero will just draw more scrutiny for shutdown. Wouldn't BB be a better option assuming you have access to WM?
Based on the DP from the last shutdown wave, there didn't seem to be a "safe" strategy to avoid. My surviving Serve cards provide a great way to liquidate until they are swept away also. Load for a day with no fees, withdraw all to attached bank account, repeat. When due for monthly fee, get a notice the fee was waived due to account sitting at $0.
flyertalkfrank is offline  
Old Aug 7, 19, 1:55 pm
  #982  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,325
Originally Posted by flyertalkfrank View Post
Based on the DP from the last shutdown wave, there didn't seem to be a "safe" strategy to avoid. My surviving Serve cards provide a great way to liquidate until they are swept away also. Load for a day with no fees, withdraw all to attached bank account, repeat. When due for monthly fee, get a notice the fee was waived due to account sitting at $0.
If I were to think of a sure fire strategy to get my account closed, the above would be right at the top of my list.

Move thousands of dollars through your Serve account, but have a zero balance when it was time to pay for it
It would not take too many months of such behavior to ensure a shut down.
radonc1 is offline  
Old Aug 7, 19, 2:15 pm
  #983  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 53
Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
If I were to think of a sure fire strategy to get my account closed, the above would be right at the top of my list.

Move thousands of dollars through your Serve account, but have a zero balance when it was time to pay for it
It would not take too many months of such behavior to ensure a shut down.
It didn't seem to matter on the last purge. Even those that only said they did minimal usage were closed as well as those that said they paid the monthly fee.
flyertalkfrank is offline  
Old Aug 7, 19, 2:20 pm
  #984  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,325
Originally Posted by flyertalkfrank View Post
It didn't seem to matter on the last purge. Even those that only said they did minimal usage were closed.
If you are saying that we don't know exactly what causes an account to be shuttered, I would agree 100% with you.

On the other hand, if you are asking what sort of behavior would almost assure you of getting the boot, doing what you posted earlier would be high on my list.

I am sure that loading BB or Serve with GCs probably has something to do with getting the axe. Amex certainly has the capability of knowing how these cards are being funded.
radonc1 is offline  
Old Aug 10, 19, 4:32 pm
  #985  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: BUF and JFK
Programs: UR and MR
Posts: 55
serve card arrived in mail and did my first load with VGC at DG. got hit with the 3.95 fee. I thought DG was "fee free" reloads?
ToastedSi is offline  
Old Aug 10, 19, 4:39 pm
  #986  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by ToastedSi View Post
serve card arrived in mail and did my first load with VGC at DG. got hit with the 3.95 fee. I thought DG was "fee free" reloads?
Which card did you get? There are three. Only the green card has free loads.
ToastedSi likes this.
DBFL is offline  
Old Aug 10, 19, 4:48 pm
  #987  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: BUF and JFK
Programs: UR and MR
Posts: 55
yikes. got the blue one. Thank you for the information. Lesson learned I guess and I will sign up for the green one now.
ToastedSi is offline  
Old Aug 10, 19, 10:10 pm
  #988  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 200
Originally Posted by DBFL View Post

Update:
It appears that my problem was with DG employee knowledge, or a lack thereof.
I still donít know what the limit is per transaction, but itís at least $500 around here.
I went to another DG today and asked to load $500 to my card. Iíd have tried more, but I was down to my last card. Cashier had no problem completing the transaction. She had to swipe my Serve card on her machine, but then I used my gebit on the normal customer machine.
Iím debating if itís worth going back to the two close to my house and asking them to attempt the transaction. They seemed friendly enough, just not very knowledgeable.
$500 per transaction is limit at DG
alanisrox69 is offline  
Old Aug 11, 19, 2:44 am
  #989  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by alanisrox69 View Post


$500 per transaction is limit at DG
Thanks. I ended up finding a location with a knowledgeable CSR. She let me do three $500 transactions. She asked to see the card I was using and my ID. Since the gebit was from GCM it had my name on it, so all was good.
DBFL is offline  
Old Aug 11, 19, 7:56 am
  #990  
Hyatt 5+ BadgeMarriott 5+ Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: EWR/PHL/BWI
Posts: 2,625
Originally Posted by DBFL View Post

Thanks. I ended up finding a location with a knowledgeable CSR. She let me do three $500 transactions. She asked to see the card I was using and my ID. Since the gebit was from GCM it had my name on it, so all was good.
This is the max I've tried quite a while ago. So $500 is not the daily limit. Not sure what the daily is since I did not want to push further.
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