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 Nov 19, 19, 3:08 pm
  #1126  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 283
Originally Posted by milesjjcc View Post
Any luck with loading mcgc with serve at Walmart?
Yes
Matt4200 is offline  
Old Nov 19, 19, 3:11 pm
  #1127  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 283
Got this message this morning,

Ē
During a recent review of your American Express Serve Account we noticed activity that was in violation of the Serve Member Agreement, section:
15d.


Due to the violation your Account has been locked and your Account privileges have been suspended.


If you have any questions, please call Account Protection Services at 1‑800-660-2454.

Thanks,

The American Express Serve TeamĒ


I currently have 3 open Serve accounts, including the one this email is in reference to, are all impacted or just the one with the account number listed? I feel like if I login to the others it might trigger AMEX to ban them too compared to if I let them sit.
Matt4200 is offline  
Old Nov 19, 19, 3:21 pm
  #1128  
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 25
Originally Posted by Matt4200 View Post
Got this message this morning,

Ē
During a recent review of your American Express Serve Account we noticed activity that was in violation of the Serve Member Agreement, section:
15d.


Due to the violation your Account has been locked and your Account privileges have been suspended.


If you have any questions, please call Account Protection Services at 1‑800-660-2454.

Thanks,


The American Express Serve TeamĒ


I currently have 3 open Serve accounts, including the one this email is in reference to, are all impacted or just the one with the account number listed? I feel like if I login to the others it might trigger AMEX to ban them too compared to if I let them sit.
what was your monthly average?
Taxiback is offline  
Old Nov 19, 19, 3:29 pm
  #1129  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 283
Originally Posted by Taxiback View Post
what was your monthly average?
On the card that got shutdown 5k.

Iíve had the card for a couple years but havenít used it too much until the last 3 months. A WM associate filed an SAR on me and got me banned from buying 1k+ so I switched to doing (1) MO a day and loading Serve. Hoping the ban is lifted over time or thereís a way to appeal it, but so far found nothing.
Matt4200 is offline  
Old Nov 21, 19, 3:24 pm
  #1130  
Moderator, Manufactured Spending
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Originally Posted by Matt4200 View Post
On the card that got shutdown 5k.

Iíve had the card for a couple years but havenít used it too much until the last 3 months. A WM associate filed an SAR on me and got me banned from buying 1k+ so I switched to doing (1) MO a day and loading Serve. Hoping the ban is lifted over time or thereís a way to appeal it, but so far found nothing.
I think it is highly doubtful you'll succeed in appealing the ban. But your other Serve cards aren't necessarily affected.
ChrisFlyer66 is offline  
Old Nov 21, 19, 3:49 pm
  #1131  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 283
Originally Posted by ChrisFlyer66 View Post
I think it is highly doubtful you'll succeed in appealing the ban. But your other Serve cards aren't necessarily affected.
I donít think thereís even a method to appeal it unfortunately. It was put on out of spite, which isnít really fair, but it is what it is. Iím just hoping thereís a time period that it might fall off.

As far as other Serve cards being unphased thatís good to know.
Matt4200 is offline  
Old Nov 22, 19, 11:27 am
  #1132  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Programs: Amtrak Guest Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards, Hilton Honors
Posts: 191
Originally Posted by Matt4200 View Post
I donít think thereís even a method to appeal it unfortunately. It was put on out of spite, which isnít really fair, but it is what it is. Iím just hoping thereís a time period that it might fall off.

As far as other Serve cards being unphased thatís good to know.
Some of these Wally associates really take it way too far. They get on this power trip and enjoy messing with someone else.
deker0 is online now  
Old Nov 23, 19, 8:02 am
  #1133  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
Posts: 3,381
Originally Posted by Matt4200 View Post
I donít think thereís even a method to appeal it unfortunately. It was put on out of spite, which isnít really fair, but it is what it is. Iím just hoping thereís a time period that it might fall off.

As far as other Serve cards being unphased thatís good to know.
I might be some help in answering a few of these questions.

After a suspension (decapitation in my vernacular ), there have been a few DPs where someone was able to reenter the system, but for the most part, most people who were banned in the first masacree of '16 are still banned today. I was a '16 banee who managed to get a new BB in '19, but to be honest, it is worthless. I suspect that it is monitored monthly for "suspicious activity" and if any were detected, would be shut down immediately.So it basically is loaded with a single GC once every several months and used exclusively for organic spending. Amex seems to be okay with my spending <$100/month....so far

As far as whether your Serve accounts are open or closed, there are many DPs out there indicating that Amex closed all accounts (both activated or not) or didn't. However, what is missing is whether those who had multiple accounts left open were those in the same name (ID, SS#, email address, etc.) as the account that got closed.

What you need to do is go on-line and see if you can make a direct deposit into your "unmentioned" accounts. If you can, then they are still active at this time. OTOH, if you cannot DD into them, then you have been decapitated for those accounts as well.

When you have found out your status, please come back and let us know. DPs are alway helpful (which is why someone asked you the amount of MSing that you were doing.)
radonc1 is offline  
Old Nov 30, 19, 9:38 am
  #1134  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Posts: 191
Went to a FD in NY to try and load a Vanilla VGC onto my Serve card. Store mgr was the one at the register - saw me pull out the Gebit to swipe and said nope, can't accept any debit at all - only cash. Said that corporate has implemented strict policy that Serve reloads are to be done via cash only. Oh well, another option closed off.
deker0 is online now  
Old Nov 30, 19, 10:40 am
  #1135  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Programs: Continental Onepass, Hilton, Marriott, USAir and now UA
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Originally Posted by deker0 View Post
Went to a FD in NY to try and load a Vanilla VGC onto my Serve card. Store mgr was the one at the register - saw me pull out the Gebit to swipe and said nope, can't accept any debit at all - only cash. Said that corporate has implemented strict policy that Serve reloads are to be done via cash only. Oh well, another option closed off.
Don't believe everything (or anything) a store manager says. In fact, it appears that about 80% of what a retail clerk will tell someone is bogus. However, do understand that you are not going to load a Serve card with that particular manager. So I would just go to the next FD store and try again or wait until another clerk is manning the register. You will probably find some that will let you load and others that will not. YMMV
This business gives no guarantees but there are workarounds.
Jot73 likes this.
radonc1 is offline  
Old Nov 30, 19, 11:07 am
  #1136  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Originally Posted by radonc1 View Post
Don't believe everything (or anything) a store manager says. In fact, it appears that about 80% of what a retail clerk will tell someone is bogus. However, do understand that you are not going to load a Serve card with that particular manager. So I would just go to the next FD store and try again or wait until another clerk is manning the register. You will probably find some that will let you load and others that will not. YMMV This business gives no guarantees but there are workarounds.
So, this store manager actually seemed to be a pretty laid back guy and even went as far as to say he personally sees no problem with people using debit to reload. But, he said corporate came down hard on them about it, so he needs to stick to the rules as a result. I can see where he's coming from as NY is a high-fraud area and that is why corporate enforces cash-only reloads there. But, you're absolutely right, I may be able to try a different store and see if the clerks there allow it.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 9:14 am
  #1137  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 12
I normally load VGC at WM. Yesterday, I loaded a MC GC. It took several attempts to get it to work. I've read the steps for liquidating MC for MO, but I'm not sure what to do with Serve loads. What do I need to tell the cashier to do in order for me to get the debit popup option to show?
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Old Dec 1, 19, 12:54 pm
  #1138  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 283
Originally Posted by moflyer2k View Post
I normally load VGC at WM. Yesterday, I loaded a MC GC. It took several attempts to get it to work. I've read the steps for liquidating MC for MO, but I'm not sure what to do with Serve loads. What do I need to tell the cashier to do in order for me to get the debit popup option to show?
Itís the same as loading any other card. Just say I need to load my card.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 1:33 pm
  #1139  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 12
Originally Posted by Matt4200 View Post
Itís the same as loading any other card. Just say I need to load my card.
I did say that I need to load the card, but it kept rejecting the MC after I swiped it. Only after like 3-4 swipes and the cashier doing something else on his end, did the screen prompt me to choose what type of payment it was.
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Old Dec 1, 19, 1:47 pm
  #1140  
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 283
Originally Posted by moflyer2k View Post
I did say that I need to load the card, but it kept rejecting the MC after I swiped it. Only after like 3-4 swipes and the cashier doing something else on his end, did the screen prompt me to choose what type of payment it was.
I usually only load with Simon VGC so not sure about losing via MCGC
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