Posted by William Charles on August 16, 2015
Manufactured Spending

Published on August 16th, 2015 | by William Charles

55

American Express Launches New Serve Cash Back Card (Silver Serve)

American Express recently launched Green Serve, when they did that there were also rumors of a 1% cash back Serve card in the works called Silver Serve. Reader Carmelo G recently came across these new cards for sale at his local CVS store and was happy to provide me with these pictures:

serve cash back front

serve cash back card

 

Card Details

  • Actually called Serve Cash Back and not Serve Silver as some people suggested
  • Monthly fee of $5.95 (doesn’t apply to those living in NY, TX, VT)
  • Reloads with direct deposit, from a checking/savings account and debit cards/American Express cards online are all free
  • Cash reloads at Walmart, Family Dollar, 7-Eleven, and CVS cost up to $3.95
  • ATM Withdrawals (in network), online bill pay and sending/receiving money are all free
  • Out of network ATM withdrawals are $2.5
  • Foreign currency conversion fee of 2.7% (not charged to those in VT)

Our Thoughts

This is basically a hybrid of the Green Serve and new Blue Serve, you have to pay a monthly fee and you still don’t get free reloads at Walmart and Family Dollar (which both accept gift cards for ‘cash loads’). The best Serve card is Soft Serve, but unfortunately that is no longer available. In terms of what is available the Green Serve/One VIP card will be best for most people, you have to pay a monthly fee but reloads are free. You can read more about the different types of Serve cards by going here.

I don’t think this new card really makes any sense for most people as they are not unloading it by making purchases.



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M
M

Soft Serve still does not have a monthly fee and reloads are free, correct?

Chuck

Yes

DonT
DonT

Could you give instructions on how to convert a Bluebird card to a Serve cash back?

Vic
Vic

As far as I know:

1. Empty your Blue Bird and call customer service to close Blue Bird account.
2. Buy Silver Serve and actitvate.

HORACE
HORACE

William, I doubt many would be interested in this card but you never actually explained the mechanics of the 1% cash back.

For those who live in the enumerated states, it actually may prove beneficial as they don’t pay a monthly fee and they get cash back?

Chuck

You can do better with a credit card which earns 2% cashback on all purchases, like the Citi Double Cash.

Dyke Jones
Dyke Jones

Do you think the 1% cashback will only be available to permanent cardholders? I kind of see them having to pay out the 1% even to temp pump and dump card holders unless there is fine print on the packaging.

Daniel
Daniel

I don’t know if I agree with your analysis but I need more information. I might be willing to pay to be able to load at cvs or 711 instead of Walmart.
Also, I can use a debit card to pay my property taxes, so the 1% could help me turn a profit on the endeavor.

More info please!

Jeremiah
Jeremiah

Serve cards are not debit. They can only be processed as Amex CCs for POS transactions. So this is pretty useless for our purposes since we can get wide as much cash back using an Amex CC.

Jay
Jay

No, Daniel isn’t talking about POS transactions (or do you pay your property taxes at a POS? :P)

He’s probably referring to Serve’s online bill pay feature, for bills that cannot normally be paid using CCs without a hefty ‘convenience fee’ (taxes/rent/mortgages etc.).

M
M

Load at CVS and 7-11 is cash only, no debit cards.

Amex Serve is not a debit card, you can’t get the debit card fees when using it to pay property taxes and the such.

Jay
Jay

That doesn’t apply when you use the online bill pay feature (login to your Serve account, go to “Pay & Transfer”, and then “Pay Bill”). The payment would be processed as either ACH or mailed paper check depending on Amex’s relationship with the biller.

Jay
Jay

Dang, I misread all the dates on this page as 2016 instead of 2015. Facepalm for the unintentional necro…

Hayashi
Hayashi

D oC,

I just used my blue serve to purchase something. My balance was 0 and I set my fia card as a backup funding method thus I can use it to load serve for purchase even after 1000 dollars loads per month. Imagine if I do this on the silver serve, is that 3% Cashback in total on everything? Plus, for NY people there is no monthly fees.

HORACE
HORACE

Right, that’s why I asked for more information. At the very least, that might prove beneficial for someone in those enumerated states that forbid a monthly fee.

Atricus
Atricus

I wonder if like the traditional serve if balance is $0 there is no fee. this will make a great card for FIA and to send money to it from other serve/bluebird accounts and then buy $2,000 Amex gift card when they have cashportal bonus. whatever is left you can transfer back to a traditional serve or bluebird before the monthly fee hits.

HORACE
HORACE

That’s some really clever idea!

R.
R.

Cannot buy AGC with Serve (or any amex prepaid).

HORACE
HORACE

Thanks, that puts a damper on things…

credit
credit

@hayashi

Wait what? If you have the FIA card as backup funding source you can exceed the credit card load limit?

Is this even for bill pay or only when swiping card for purchase? So can I pay 2000$ bill of the account only has 1000$ loaded from a credit card that month but has backup funding on credit card.

David
David

From the sounds of it, the 1% back Silver SErve gives you is on for swipe purchases. But if balance is 0, it’ll draw from backup funding source. So it’s like getting an extra 1% back on all purchases, for *maybe* a monthly fee of $5.95… but as someone asked above, do they charge that fee if your balance is 0?

I don’t have Serve anymore (changed to RB last year); if I go back to Serve, will that mean that I can only use AMEX as backup funding rather than a Visa/MC?

Hayashi
Hayashi

I don’t see a fee coming to my account, at least not just yet.

Hayashi
Hayashi

For purchase only.

scott
scott

That is a good idea, but there a least possible issues that I can think of:
1) If you too many consecutive transactions to the same merchant your card will likely be blocked and you would have to call to unblock it, with all of the transactions on the FIA card going to serve, you might have to call in quite a bit.
2) The serve legal agreement (legacy blue) is a bit vague about the back up funding limitations, but it simply put says that they reserve the right to decline doing it at any time and I bet if they notice a lot of people doing this they will shut it down b/c it is not very profitable for them.
Still I love this idea… I’d probably let other try it out first though.

scott
scott

Here’s an idea:
1) First five days of the month: load $200.00 each day online from FIA AmEx to Serve. Transfer money to rewards checking account earning about 5%. Earn 2000 worldpoints.
2) Go to Winni-dixie buy $500.00 reloadit pack (with $3.95 fee) with Serve card at zero balance, Serve will charge FIA AmEx $503.95, load money to T-mobile Visa, have $3.95 fee refunded. Earn $5.04 from Serve and 1008 world points.
3) Load Serve at Wal-Mart with T-mobile Visa with PIN (possible fee up to $3.95), transfer funds to checking.
4) Repeat 2 and 3 nine more times; total of $50.40 Serve rewards cash and 10080 worldpoints. Note: much more than $5000.00 per month is a get way to get T-mobile to close your account.
5) Because of credit card billing cycles, money transferred to checking will remain for about 45 days (assuming you have the credit line that will support this). Because $6039.50 is transferred to checking per month you get an average daily balance in checking from the credit card of about $9059.25 ($6039.50*1.5). Interest earned per month: $9059.25*0.05/12 = $37.75.
6) Worldpoints are worth between $0.01 and $0.0176 (https://www.doctorofcredit.com/bank-of-america-worldpoints-a-forgotten-program-get-up-to-1-76%C2%A2-per-point/). 12080 worldpoints equals $120.80 to $177.41.
7) Total revenue $50.40 + $37.75 + $120.80 = $208.95 per month; $2507.40 per year. Or $50.40 + $37.75 + $177.41 = $265.56 per month; $3186.72 per year.
8) Fees (possible): $5.95 monthly fee for silver serve, $3.95 per load to load silver serve. 10*$3.95 + $5.95 = $45.45 per month; $545.40 per year.
9) Profits: $1962.00 to $2641.32 per year.

I have tried this whole process (as much as is possible; except line 4) with Blue Serve and it all went well.
Lingering questions: Will this all work so well with Silver Serve?
Will there be a way to waive the Silver Serve fees?
Will there be new bck-up funding fees?
Will FIA card services or Serve decline you doing this 10 times a month?
Will you be able to use Silver Serve to make daily purchases with back up funding from FIA AmEx for even more rewards?

scott
scott

That last question should have been:
Will you be able to use Silver Serve to make daily purchases with back up funding from FIA AmEx for even more rewards with out being declined by FIA or serve?

HORACE
HORACE

Scott, wow, that is some great planning and mapping out a strategy!

Kudos to you!

Not sure I would attempt such an endeavor, not the least of which is the fact that near me many loading opportunities are de minimus and I am a newbie in any event, but you have me intrigued about your using the FIA card and busting the $1,000 Serve limit.

How do you do this, how many times do you do this and have you run into any difficulties, etc?

Thanks!

scott
scott

This is still just an idea and I have not tried it to its fullest yet, but have been planing on expanding to some thing very similar in the near future.
I just learned about circumventing the serve limit in this article’s comments (thanks Hayashi), so I have only attempted it three times in the amounts of $5, $10, and $503.95. The first two just to test if it was possible, the third to test this idea.
I have not attempted anything on this scale yet, right no I buy $1000.00 per month in reloadit cards with a credit card then do the other steps as noted, obviously there is a lot less profit this way (but I am a firm believer in baby steps).
I was originally planning on increasing my credit card purchasing of reloadit cards to $5000.00 per month before hearing about Silver Serve and this credit card load limit breaker (where to go from here is still unknown).
I have not had any issues so far, part of that is I know my Winni-dixie very well.
I have not been doing this with the T-mobile Visa for long, most of my data on it (such as the 5K limit) is from this and other similar websites.

HORACE
HORACE

Exacatly!

Hayashi mentioned something about that and it resonated as I just set up my Serve account and it asked about “overdraft” or something like that.

I declined but I think anyone can change it as I only thought that I would use SERVE to pay bills with funds coming into it — not using it as a regular debit card, so to speak, as anything that could usually be bought, I would put on my credit card to naturally earn miles/points, etc.

So, greater financial minds I request an education into same as to how this potentially be used to bust that limit.

Eric
Eric

I have no idea about the rest of your plan but #3 doesn’t make sense to me. Serve only allows you to transfer $2500 a month to your checking account. How did you transfer more than that?

scott
scott

This was just an idea, I only do about $1000.00 a month right now, buying reloadit packs (with a credit card not serve). So I was not aware of that limit, I’m going to have to reread the serve agreement now.
It may be possible to circumvent that limit with a bill pay check sent to be deposited into a checking account, though that may get an account closed.

scott
scott

Oo, I see where you are getting that number now:
“Send money transactions:” limit $2500.00 per month.
Previously I had interpreted that as sending money to another Serve account not to your bank account because that is called “withdrawal funds” on the website.
Do you know for a fact that limit applies to sending to a bank account?

Eric
Eric

I had previously sent $2500 out this month and just tried to send another $100 to my bank. Surprisingly it worked so it appears you are correct. Does that mean there is actually no limit?

scott
scott

The Agreement does not contain a specified limit, but it maybe $15000.00 monthly because that is the spending limit per month, though again bank withdrawals are not listed under the types of spending so if you had enough it’s possible you could exceed that. It could also be simply $100000.00 per year or it could be that no limit was written into the programing of the website/network.
Of note: funding limits $10000.00 per month, $100000.00 per year ($100000.00/12 = $8333.33)

Chuck
Chuck

I’m new at this, so pardon my ignorance. When you fund Serve with a 3rd party AMEX CC, like FIA, how is that transaction coded? Is it a cash advance or a normal charge in which you earn rewards?

scott
scott

For most it is a purchase. It may be a cash advance for some issuers (I don’t know of any that do this), but it is a purchase with FIA card services/BofA.

HORACE
HORACE

By the way guys, I funded my new SERVE with my new FIA AMEX and the first transfer of $200 went smoothly, but when I went to transfer another $200 the next day, SERVE AMEX would not approve it and requested that I send a photo of the credit to them!

This is not FIA AMEX, but SERVE AMEX!

Have not done it yet, but it was not like I tried to use the $200 I put in the SERVE account from the previous day’s transfer — it is still sitting there!

So, I mention this for those who are thinking of funding their SERVE account with their FIA AMEX.

In addition, I am a 20 year cardholder with AMEX products and pay my bills on time, etc.

The only thing that I could think of that was the fly in the ointment is that the FIA AMEX uses my middle name on in and my SERVE account does not.

scott
scott

I had that issue with my debit card it is quick and painless to fix.

HORACE
HORACE

Thanks for the insight and comment, Scott.

I’m sure it will be fine, but I could somewhat understand a credit card, I don’t understand a debit card that draws right from a checking/savings account — unlike a credit card, where there could be a bit of delay in payment.

Chuck
Chuck

Thanks for posting this. What state was this taken in and any idea what the current availability is nationally? I checked both CVS and Walgreens here in OKC and they only have the legacy Serve card.

Also, any idea if the bill pay feature is included as the 1% cash back? That’s one area where most folks can make extra money on rent or mortgage payments.

Chuck

I can’t imagine that BP gets 1% cashback. That would be unreal!

Eric
Eric

There’s no chance. It says “Shop and get 1% CASH BACK”. That implies that it is only on purchases.

HORACE
HORACE

I tend to agree with you and that is why I asked for more specifics before jumping to ANY conclusion.

It seems that AMEX would like to encourage greater use of this card for its everyday use to the population it is targeted for — those without banking accounts, and as such, would like to incentivize the use this product over those other products that are in this market segment.

As such, a 1% cash back on purchases makes a great deal of sense, not so on the use of this product as a bill pay device — but who knows, we have precious few details thus, far.

All I know is that the ONE VIP card continues with the ability to avoid the monthly fee if you transfer a minimum of $500 into the account on a monthly basis.

Chuck
Chuck

Has anyone been able to find this card? The Internet is eerily silent, with this site being the only one with any mention of it. AMEX only shows blue and gold cards on their Serve site.

scott
scott

I think that picture was taken by an employee of a store that will start selling them and just has them sitting in a back room, not a customer.
Also: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/american-express-adds-cash-back-serve-prepaid-cards-33169049

scott
scott

Here is something interesting:
“1% cash back on all purchases, to be redeemed on future purchases made with the card”
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/prepaid/american-express-serve-prepaid-debit-card/

Josh
Josh

Is this card useful for hitting spend levels on amex cards? I just opened the SPG card, can I load this card with the SPG for free or is there a fee?

Matt
Matt

I don’t think this card will work as 3% everywhere. There is no backup funding provision in the agreement, as there is in the agreements for all the other Serve varieties. See for yourself here:
https://serve.com/legal.html?intlink=us-serve-marketing-home-sku3-sku2015-footer-legal

trackback

[…] cards usually allow you to setup a credit card as a back-up funding source.  It occurred to me (and apparently to others as well) that I could setup a Fidelity Investment Rewards Amex 2% cash back card as the backup funding […]

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[…] new option is beginning to roll out which offers 1% cashback on all purchases using your Serve card. Since the card is a silver color, […]

Erika Dean
Erika Dean

How do you upgrade from serve blue and serve cash back

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