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 23, 19, 4:57 pm
  #1006  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by flyertalkfrank View Post
I think you will have to use a different email as that is the login to the account. It took a while for me to build up the number of cards, although the shut down closed them quickly
Originally Posted by royallyflushed View Post
Yeah I thought I read somewhere that the email for each account has to be unique, or the system just tells you that you have an account linked to that email already, then asks you to log in or click forgot password.
It asks you for a username and email when applying. Only the username has to be unique. I have 5 Serve and 5 BB cards registered to the same email address. The username is different for each. If your username for the first card is JohnDoe, make the next JohnDoe2 and keep going up one number each time.
I use a different variation for Serve than BB. IE: JohnDoe for BB and JohnnyDoe for Serve. It makes it very easy to remember which card goes to which account because I just write the number on the signature panel.
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Old Aug 23, 19, 6:05 pm
  #1007  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 106
They have velocity limits which not only apply to you but generally also to P2 or P3 residing with you. After I got a few for me and P2 I was blocked for P3 for a few weeks.
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Old Aug 23, 19, 6:49 pm
  #1008  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by SideShowBob View Post
They have velocity limits which not only apply to you but generally also to P2 or P3 residing with you. After I got a few for me and P2 I was blocked for P3 for a few weeks.
Makes sense.
I forgot to add that I spaced out my applications. 2 Serve, 1 BB. Then 1 Serve 2 BB a couple weeks later. Then 1/1 maybe a week apart to get to 5.
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Old Aug 23, 19, 8:21 pm
  #1009  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 46
Originally Posted by DBFL View Post

Makes sense.
I forgot to add that I spaced out my applications. 2 Serve, 1 BB. Then 1 Serve 2 BB a couple weeks later. Then 1/1 maybe a week apart to get to 5.
Did you keep them all dormant until you got to 5 of each?
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Old Aug 23, 19, 8:39 pm
  #1010  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by royallyflushed View Post
Did you keep them all dormant until you got to 5 of each?
Nope. Activated two of each as soon as they arrived. That’s all I need to max them out each month.
I’ll probably activate 1 more of each and leave the rest dormant. Then when the next shutdown wave hits I’ll immediately close one of each of my currently active cards and apply for a new one of each. I figure that’ll give me the best chance of keeping something alive. At the very least, it’ll give enough different DPs to see what works to avoid shutdown.
I’ve got P2-6 lined up as a backup in case my SSN gets blocked and everything gets closed.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 6:05 am
  #1011  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,371
Originally Posted by DBFL View Post
Iíve got P2-6 lined up as a backup in case my SSN gets blocked and everything gets closed.
What is P2-6 mean?
Are those other cards on a different SS#? I presume that once your SS# is tagged, all of your accounts are closed, both dormant and active as long as they are under the same SS#. Or do they just ban the account that was caught

Unfortunately, my SS# was banned in the 2015 debacle and I just, in May, managed to sneak in a new BB card during the latest turmoil. I have not been able to sign up for anything else since then.

So I am surprised that you would think that if you were banned for "unusual activity" that all of your cards under the same SS# (active or dormant) would not be banned as well.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 1:26 pm
  #1012  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
What is P2-6 mean?
Are those other cards on a different SS#? I presume that once your SS# is tagged, all of your accounts are closed, both dormant and active as long as they are under the same SS#. Or do they just ban the account that was caught

Unfortunately, my SS# was banned in the 2015 debacle and I just, in May, managed to sneak in a new BB card during the latest turmoil. I have not been able to sign up for anything else since then.

So I am surprised that you would think that if you were banned for "unusual activity" that all of your cards under the same SS# (active or dormant) would not be banned as well.
There are some random DPs of people that had some cards shutdown and some cards that survived during the last shutdown wave. Iím sure my SSN will be banned during the next wave of shutdowns. But I only need 2 of each card active for liquidation. So the rest will help give more concrete DPs when there is a massive shutdown again.
P2-6 are family/friends that are willing to signup if my SSN gets banned. So I can keep this going for at least 5 rounds of shutdowns.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 1:53 pm
  #1013  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 46
Most of the survived DP's are unactivated "dormant" cards so I wanted to build up 5 of each before starting. It seems it's nearly impossible to sign up again after a shutdown wave (successful DP's cite 1 new card at the most) so this is the best chance to get a few accounts to slip through the cracks.
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Old Aug 24, 19, 2:25 pm
  #1014  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by royallyflushed View Post
Most of the survived DP's are unactivated "dormant" cards so I wanted to build up 5 of each before starting. It seems it's nearly impossible to sign up again after a shutdown wave (successful DP's cite 1 new card at the most) so this is the best chance to get a few accounts to slip through the cracks.
Exactly why I have five when I only need two.
But you donít need to wait for all five before activating and using the first card. Spread the applications out over about 5 weeks and youíll avoid a denial for velocity limits. Unless youíre unlucky enough for a shutdown wave to hit during those five weeks youíll be fine.
How many cards do you already have (including any that are approved but not yet delivered), and how long since you last applied for one?
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Old Aug 25, 19, 11:34 am
  #1015  
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 25
Recently my local grocery store stopped carrying visa gc by Metabank. They do still have MC tho. I e never used a MC, so those still work for adding to your serve?
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Old Aug 25, 19, 4:44 pm
  #1016  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 46
Originally Posted by DBFL View Post

Exactly why I have five when I only need two.
But you donít need to wait for all five before activating and using the first card. Spread the applications out over about 5 weeks and youíll avoid a denial for velocity limits. Unless youíre unlucky enough for a shutdown wave to hit during those five weeks youíll be fine.
How many cards do you already have (including any that are approved but not yet delivered), and how long since you last applied for one?
Thanks for your advice! I currently have 3 Serves and 1 BB. I have 2 of the Serve cards in hand and the other one + BB haven't been delivered yet. My last approved app was like 5 days ago. I was originally worried about getting unlucky and shut down before I can get approved for 5 each, since I only have a P2 (no P3 onward unfortunately) who lives in the same household. I think I read that ppl in the same household also have difficulty signing up after ban but not sure. Should I be signing up weekly for P2 as well?
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Old Aug 25, 19, 10:43 pm
  #1017  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 104
Originally Posted by royallyflushed View Post
Should I be signing up weekly for P2 as well?
That all depends on the volume you do. If youíre not exceeding the monthly limit per SSN, Iíd say no. Thereís no need to burn P2ís SSN for no reason.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 10:22 am
  #1018  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 46
Originally Posted by DBFL View Post

That all depends on the volume you do. If youíre not exceeding the monthly limit per SSN, Iíd say no. Thereís no need to burn P2ís SSN for no reason.
Update: 8 days after my last successful app Iím still not able to sign up. Iíll try again in a few weeks. Also another weird thing is my mom tried to sign up and was also denied. She doesnít live in the same address as me and never had a Serve/BB. She does have 2 active Amex charge cards but I doubt thatís relevant. Iím wondering if itís a system issue at this point.
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Old Aug 30, 19, 7:12 pm
  #1019  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,371
Originally Posted by royallyflushed View Post


Update: 8 days after my last successful app Iím still not able to sign up. Iíll try again in a few weeks. Also another weird thing is my mom tried to sign up and was also denied. She doesnít live in the same address as me and never had a Serve/BB. She does have 2 active Amex charge cards but I doubt thatís relevant. Iím wondering if itís a system issue at this point.
For you, it sounds like a SS# ban, especially if you canít sign up for Serve or BB.

You may be correct about a system glitch or perhaps someone hijacked you momís SS#and got it banned.
A call to BB may be in order.


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Old Aug 30, 19, 10:12 pm
  #1020  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 46
Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post

For you, it sounds like a SS# ban, especially if you canít sign up for Serve or BB.

You may be correct about a system glitch or perhaps someone hijacked you momís SS#and got it banned.
A call to BB may be in order.
I haven't used or even activated any of my existing Serves or BB. Hopefully they're not starting to ban "inactive" ppl now too.
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