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 Oct 3, 19, 8:44 am
  #1066  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,328
I just wonder if having multiple accounts is one of the reasons that gets people shut down?

In order to parse out this point, we need people who were shut down in any of the great wash out events to respond as to what their spend and use of cards was when they were shut down. Specifically, we need folks who had multiple accounts in either the same name, ss#, email address, or similar ID information to chime in and let us know if they were simply using the account(s) appropriately (i.e. no MS and minimal GC deposits) and were shut down anyway.

This would be quite informative for all.

As for me, nope. I was using only one card and flowing a lot of money (via GCs) through it. Got beheaded in the first great event several years ago. Now I have a single new account that basically is activated but almost dormant (a few dollars a month in spend, haven't loaded it in 4 months).
radonc1 is offline  
Old Oct 3, 19, 2:51 pm
  #1067  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 26
I am lucky to still have my 4 Serve Accounts.

However, since 12 hrs ago, I am no longer able to add any debit cards as funding source. I get an error that the card doesn't belong to me. I have tried 7 different debit cards from 4 different Bank & Credit Unions and 2 of my Serve accounts. I have verified and used these cards recently, and I was able to link and use 2 of these cards fine just 36 hrs ago.

CS and tech support claims that it is the Banks/Credit Unions that are not allowing the linking. I called 2 of the Credit Unions and they tell me that everything is fine with the debit cards and they cannot see any issues....

Has anyone else been successful in linking a previously used debit card to their Serve account in the last 12 hours (e.g. since 10/3/19 1 AM PST)?
viking123 is offline  
Old Oct 3, 19, 5:36 pm
  #1068  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,328
Originally Posted by viking123 View Post
I am lucky to still have my 4 Serve Accounts.

However, since 12 hrs ago, I am no longer able to add any debit cards as funding source. I get an error that the card doesn't belong to me. I have tried 7 different debit cards from 4 different Bank & Credit Unions and 2 of my Serve accounts. I have verified and used these cards recently, and I was able to link and use 2 of these cards fine just 36 hrs ago.

CS and tech support claims that it is the Banks/Credit Unions that are not allowing the linking. I called 2 of the Credit Unions and they tell me that everything is fine with the debit cards and they cannot see any issues....

Has anyone else been successful in linking a previously used debit card to their Serve account in the last 12 hours (e.g. since 10/3/19 1 AM PST)?
May I simply suggest that you go to the store and try to add $20 in cash to your card. If you still get an error message,and cannot add money to your card, check your card's email for the infamous "irregular activity" email from Amex.

Please let us know what your outcome is. And if any of your other cards have been shut (assuming that you get bad news )
radonc1 is offline  
Old Oct 3, 19, 7:19 pm
  #1069  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
May I simply suggest that you go to the store and try to add $20 in cash to your card. If you still get an error message,and cannot add money to your card, check your card's email for the infamous "irregular activity" email from Amex.

Please let us know what your outcome is. And if any of your other cards have been shut (assuming that you get bad news )
There is nothing wrong with my Serve accounts. I was able to delete and add back my AmExp credit card and also add funds from the card.that way.
CS and APS confirmed that there are no restrictions on my Serve accounts.

Serve tells me that there is a problem with all my banks who rejects the linking. The banks state that there is nothing wrong with my cards. They now don't even get the request from Serve when I try to add the card (usually there is a $0.01 pre-authorization charge when adding back a previously used debit card).
viking123 is offline  
Old Oct 8, 19, 3:08 pm
  #1070  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by viking123 View Post
There is nothing wrong with my Serve accounts. I was able to delete and add back my AmExp credit card and also add funds from the card.that way.
CS and APS confirmed that there are no restrictions on my Serve accounts.

Serve tells me that there is a problem with all my banks who rejects the linking. The banks state that there is nothing wrong with my cards. They now don't even get the request from Serve when I try to add the card (usually there is a $0.01 pre-authorization charge when adding back a previously used debit card).
After a loot of calls with Serve and finally talking to FLOS, they admitted that there was a problem on their server that affected all Serve customers. No one could add a debit card.....Fixed late last night Friday 10/4/19
viking123 is offline  
Old Oct 8, 19, 11:46 pm
  #1071  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: LAX
Posts: 12
I requested 2 serve accounts. The first card works fine, I've been loading for months. For the 2nd card, I started receiving "monthly statement is available" emails, even though I never activated the card. Well I decided to start using the card. I activated it, proceeded to load the card at FD with split payments and ran into a "declined, do not honor message". 200, 200, and then declined on the 3rd card for 100. I also realized that I forgot to load cash to the card first, so I went ahead and did that. Cash loaded no problem.

So i tried to load the card for the second time on another day. First I loaded 200, 200, 100 (no split) to the card with continued success, and then got "declined, do not honor" on the second serve again. (Tried loading a 500 VGC). Is there something wrong with my second serve? Is there's a back to back load time frame that I need to wait for? Any insights?

[Loaded from FD]

Last edited by brokephibroke; Oct 9, 19 at 12:03 am Reason: forgot to mention where I'm loading from
brokephibroke is offline  
Old Oct 9, 19, 5:34 am
  #1072  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 316
Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
I just wonder if having multiple accounts is one of the reasons that gets people shut down?

In order to parse out this point, we need people who were shut down in any of the great wash out events to respond as to what their spend and use of cards was when they were shut down. Specifically, we need folks who had multiple accounts in either the same name, ss#, email address, or similar ID information to chime in and let us know if they were simply using the account(s) appropriately (i.e. no MS and minimal GC deposits) and were shut down anyway.

This would be quite informative for all.

As for me, nope. I was using only one card and flowing a lot of money (via GCs) through it. Got beheaded in the first great event several years ago. Now I have a single new account that basically is activated but almost dormant (a few dollars a month in spend, haven't loaded it in 4 months).
I think many MSers overthink the reasons for BB/Serve shutdowns. DPs aren't needed. Anyone who's done this for awhile knows when there's a shutdown wave, nearly all MSers get shut down. Period. Doesn't matter if you go heavy or light. If you do this ... or that. Loading as we do and unloading as we do is not how "a regular" consumer uses these products. What we're doing is easy to detect.
I can see for miles is offline  
Old Oct 9, 19, 6:34 am
  #1073  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,328
Originally Posted by I can see for miles View Post
I think many MSers overthink the reasons for BB/Serve shutdowns. DPs aren't needed. Anyone who's done this for awhile knows when there's a shutdown wave, nearly all MSers get shut down. Period. Doesn't matter if you go heavy or light. If you do this ... or that. Loading as we do and unloading as we do is not how "a regular" consumer uses these products. What we're doing is easy to detect.
Agreed with most but DPs are always helpful

Unfortunately, the customers who use BB appropriately are not the ones on this thread
radonc1 is offline  
Old Oct 9, 19, 2:17 pm
  #1074  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 26
Is there any status update on ACH transfers to bank delays? Previously it only took 2 days, now it has been 4 days and nothing.... How long does it take now?
viking123 is offline  
Old Oct 10, 19, 8:25 am
  #1075  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 244
Originally Posted by viking123 View Post
Is there any status update on ACH transfers to bank delays? Previously it only took 2 days, now it has been 4 days and nothing.... How long does it take now?
I'm seeing upwards of 5-7 on reddit.
luv2vacay is offline  
Old Oct 10, 19, 2:31 pm
  #1076  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by viking123 View Post
After a loot of calls with Serve and finally talking to FLOS, they admitted that there was a problem on their server that affected all Serve customers. No one could add a debit card.....Fixed late last night Friday 10/4/19
Arghhh.... All my accounts have now been locked and suspended; Serve Member Agreement, section 15d. The accounts cannot be reopened. They will send me 4 checks.

I wish that I hadn't called about the problem of adding debit cards. In particular, since it later turned out that the problem was on their server and affected all customers.

It seems that my issue was not only sent to tech support but also to compliance, They reviewed my accounts and saw multiple loads from different debit cards* and that seems to be in violation of the Serve Member Agreement. I had actually talked to AmExp Exec Office about this several years ago, and was then told that such activity was not in violation of the Serve Member Agreement....

Not sure if it would help to write to Incomm (who acquired the AmExp prepaid card business).

*) Needed to meet spend requirements
viking123 is offline  
Old Oct 10, 19, 7:43 pm
  #1077  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,197
Originally Posted by viking123 View Post
Arghhh.... All my accounts have now been locked and suspended; Serve Member Agreement, section 15d. The accounts cannot be reopened. They will send me 4 checks.

I wish that I hadn't called about the problem of adding debit cards. In particular, since it later turned out that the problem was on their server and affected all customers.

It seems that my issue was not only sent to tech support but also to compliance, They reviewed my accounts and saw multiple loads from different debit cards* and that seems to be in violation of the Serve Member Agreement. I had actually talked to AmExp Exec Office about this several years ago, and was then told that such activity was not in violation of the Serve Member Agreement....

Not sure if it would help to write to Incomm (who acquired the AmExp prepaid card business).

*) Needed to meet spend requirements
That sucks. It would be an interested data point if you wrote to Incomm to see if they can resolve your issue. You gave the Serve rep access to review all the Serve accounts instead of just limiting it to 1? I mean shouldn't the worst case have been that the 1 account you called in about got burned and not affecting all your accounts.
ericdabbs is offline  
Old Oct 11, 19, 8:36 am
  #1078  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,328
Originally Posted by viking123 View Post
Arghhh.... All my accounts have now been locked and suspended;

It seems that my issue was not only sent to tech support but also to compliance, They reviewed my accounts and saw multiple loads from different debit cards* and that seems to be in violation of the Serve Member Agreement.
Not sure if it would help to write to Incomm (who acquired the AmExp prepaid card business).
I agree that it would be an interesting DP if you called them. (and please let us know the outcome )

Unfortunately, from other DPs elsewhere, it is unlikely that they will change their mine, but it never hurts to try.

Your story is another example of why it is best not to contact a CC company or bank when faced with functional issues with your account. It only takes one set of Rat's eyes to upset the apple cart and get an account(s) shut down (especially when the account is doing MSing activities )
radonc1 is offline  
Old Oct 22, 19, 4:31 pm
  #1079  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 201
Has anyone tried to load at DG and the cashier side says “format error” and my pin pad says “declined”?

I tried two different MCGC (Meta). Said same on both. I checked the balance and both show the $500 coming off to DG. ��

do you think it’ll auto refund in a few days or is something else wrong?
alanisrox69 is offline  
Old Oct 22, 19, 4:40 pm
  #1080  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 58
Amex(Delta) as loading CC for Serve

Hi,

Do we still receive the MQD as total spending or not ?

Dong
ccna101 is offline  

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