Posted by William Charles on May 21, 2019
Manufactured Spending

Published on May 21st, 2019 | by William Charles

164

New Round Of American Express Serve & Bluebird Shutdowns

Readers with Serve & Bluebird accounts are reporting that their accounts have been shut down. This used to be a frequent thing, but I think the last round of shut downs were in 2017. Serve and Bluebird cards are an easy way to liquidate Visa/MC gift cards by using them to load these prepaid cards at Walmart.

Update: It looks like people are being allowed to sign up again after this shut down, not sure if that is intentional or not. Once banned, you can not get the an Amex prepaid card again. Some people like getting the card under a different SSN (e.g. a spouse) and using it for a few months for old time’s sake.It’s still possible to load other prepaid cards or buy money orders with Visa/MC gift cards, but it’s not always easy to find a vendor or a card which allows it.

I know some people were hoping that shutdowns were a thing of the past, but unfortunately not.



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Adam L
Adam L

FYI – people in the below thread are reporting signing up for another serve and bluebird after shutdown.

https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/comments/brgmvp/servebb_shutdown_thread/

Ric
Ric

I just got the email, I tried to log in in my account and was able to open it and transfer money. Then I open a new account and was approved, so I applied for my wife, my mom, etc. LOL

Hodor
Hodor

I just got a shutdown notice on my one BB card that I used *once* a couple of months ago to load $500!

I also got on one Serve card, which I used maybe 4-5 times. Maybe Amex is cross referencing.

My four other Serve cards are still in effect, but they seem pretty useless now.

Barkley
Barkley

my uncle works for AmEx.. I think they’re coming for everybody

msturg29
msturg29

Can you share more about this? Intercomm owns Serve/BB now..

Dan - Legal Bank Robber
Dan - Legal Bank Robber

Barkley Please elaborate

projectx
projectx

This is Incomm’s show now. They just use the Amex payment network.

T
T

I just got an email today that my serve account got shutdown. I just use it to load money from amex cc cards. Idk why i got shutdown.

CtownBin
CtownBin

Just a DP: I got shutdown like everyone else on the original Death of Serve Day, aka 1/8/16. I tried signing up again and was immediately denied on application, like most others. Since then I’ve been trying to sign up every few months, just to see, but got denied every time. Then, about 5 days ago- i.e., BEFORE this recent shutdown- I tried signing up again, but this time to my surprise, I was approved! For one Bluebird and one Green Serve. So, it could be that something changed recently to allow formerly banned people back in. Could have something to do with the Serve product refresh that happened recently on 2/1/19, who knows.
This wave of shutdowns just now is actually perfect timing, since it means I’ll get a good few months in at least (maybe longer, who knows? The last shutdown wave was over a year ago…) before getting shutdown again. So, right now could be a perfect time for those who were previously banned to sign up again and have a good go-round. There just simple isn’t a better method out there to liquidate Visa/MC gift cards. So have fun 🙂

J
J

Thanks for this DP – I was in the same boat as you: shut down in the original wave in 2016 and was unable to sign up for a new serve or BB for the last 3 years. Just registered for a new BB account and was approved. Interested to see how long this lasts.

Alli
Alli

My BB was shutdown in 2016 or 2017, and I just tried to sign up for BB today and got this message, “Sorry, we are unable to approve you for an Account at this time.

Thank you for your interest in Bluebird.”

Abe
Abe

They really came down with the firing squad. They killed my serve and bluebird accounts. I’ll see if I can apply for new accounts after shutdown as some report.

raekwon
raekwon

Killed my BB but not my Serve (which is actually an old subaccount from my dad’s Serve, so that might be why). Gonna try to sign up again before they kill those.

Sam
Sam

2x serves , and 1x bb all gone 🙁 . Requested another bb- approved. The game is getting more and more time consuming.

Mimi
Mimi

For those with back up unactivated cards, are they affected by shutdown of the “primary” card?

Jason
Jason

It seems that you can only have 1 serve card per ssn, how can you have multiple of them?

Mimi
Mimi

The TOS I agreed to says it is allowed to have up to 5 per SSN that’s why I applied and got approved for back ups that I did not activate when I got them. With this shutdown, I will see tomorrow if I can activate one back up. Xing my fingers they work ; )

Jason
Jason

Thank for clarifying. Can you just apply 4 green cards, and leave them alone? Or do these cards have to be of different kinds?

CtownBin
CtownBin

I doubt this will work- previously, when they did a shutdown of your SSN, they shut down ALL cards under that SSN- all Bluebirds and all Serves, even the ones that didn’t have heavy MS or weren’t even activated.
But, the good news is, you should be able to sign up for new ones now, as I mentioned above.

Blue
Blue

That’s not true. Unused cards, activated or not, were spared shutdowns in the past. You just could not open up new ones.

Jason
Jason

I applied a new Green card after closing the old one. Approved immediately. However, when I try to register the second green, I got the message that I can not be approved. Should I buy green card from CVS, and then register it? Thank you.

Mimi
Mimi

Jason there’s no guarantees that buying temps will succeed in registration. If you try and succeed, please let us know.

Mimi
Mimi

Jason there’s a report on FT where OP bought the temp card at CVS and was able to register with success. I don’t know if that door has been shut by now.

Mimi
Mimi

CounterDP: a previously unactivated S#2 card was successfully activated today and loaded. I’m not sure if this works for everyone but it certainly worked for me.

The S#1 card had 100% MS activity and I’m not going to change activity on S#2 knowing they do a sweeping shutdown anyway.

I’ve read DPs of failed sign ups today, we succeeded last night but our friends who waited till today reported they were denied.

Mike
Mike

Worked for me an hour ago! (Was shutdown in original wave in Jan 2016). Maybe it depends on how long ago someone was shutdown.

Mimi
Mimi

DP: Just activated ONE back up card successfully and was able to load it. The parent/primary card got axed yesterday. I prefer NOT to activate all my back ups since they’re useful to me for DD pushes.

I received info from friends who got axed yesterday and chose to sign up today and said they were denied. DH and I re-registered last night using the same info for the cards that got shutdown EXCEPT for new userID and were approved. We have to wait n see if we get them in the mail.

conquer_and_prevail
conquer_and_prevail

Counter DP: I got both S1 and S2 axed yesterday. Signed up just now for a S3 and was approved.

Dana
Dana

This is a great question. I have got one sleeper card

Jeff
Jeff

Saw a DP elsewhere that even the unactivated cards someone had were unable to load.

C-H
C-H

My serve had only been open for about 2 months before they killed it—wasn’t even close to maxing out. I know ~don’t call the bank~ but since they’d already shut me down I figured I might try calling to plead my case, plus didn’t figure there was any harm since serve CSRs are pretty useless. Gave CSR, “I’m worried someone did something fraudulent after getting that email. Can you just send me a new card or do I have to close my account and open a new one?” Confirmed with them that I could open a new account immediately after closing this one. Hopefully this is just a temporary hiccup?

stan dav
stan dav

Interesting the serve and BB accounts that were shutdown today were already closed by me in the last week or so. Doesn’t make sense to send shutdown notice for closed accounts. Did they hire Citi IT ? 🙂

akjohnny
akjohnny

I got the shutdown notice today as well… I apparently violated section 22. d… for unusual activity… I just got my chase INK cash and was about to start loading up on vgc to hit the 5x min spend requirements…

aaaahhh
aaaahhh

Wont be long until AmEx kills the Serve product completely. makes them no $ anyway and never achieved notable market share.

TheTaxman_Cometh
TheTaxman_Cometh

Amex sold serve off to Incomm over a year ago

Mimi
Mimi

I think amex bought it back since nowhere is Incomm mentioned in TOS anymore plus this statement:

American Express Serve Service and Card are provided and issued by American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., 200 Vesey Street, New York, N.Y. 10285.

aaaahhh
aaaahhh

AmEx remained the card issuer, however, even after that deal. Which is why you can still apply for the card at the AmEx website. But my original point, was that I bet by year-end, AmEx will no longer be accepting applications. They will rid themselves of any prepaid business.

Joe
Joe

Also was shut down in the original batch, just tried applying again after reading the comments here and I was approved!! I had tried before in the past and was always denied so it appears something has changed.

Nina
Nina

My first serve was closed in March 2016. Just tried and was approved for a new green serve, but without credit card funding capabilities and no Walmart in close vicinity, I’m not sure what to do with it.

DB
DB

No FD or DG either?

Nina
Nina

Thanks. I haven’t done loading there. I’ve been out of the loading game for a while. Is the process the same as in a Walmart store? I’ll still need to drive, but they’re closer.

Mimi
Mimi

Nina the process is different at DG and FD, they scan a barcode before you swipe your prepaid card whereas at WM, they just punch in 70+action code.

Nina
Nina

Thank you.

Rowan
Rowan

Also just got approved for a Green Serve after having been denied a couple months ago. Was hit by some of the early shutdowns so something has definitely changed. We’ll see if they end up catching us with some sort of backend check but fingers crossed for now, if only for a few rounds of reloads!

raekwon
raekwon

Here’s a question that I might be missing an obvious answer on: in what circumstances–unless you’re in TX, NY, or VT–would Serve be preferable to BB nowadays, seeing as all Serve variants come with a monthly fee (avoidable on Blue), whereas BB is fee-free?

yeet
yeet

Fee doesn’t ever hit on Green if your account balance is $0, and green has fee free reloads.

raekwon
raekwon

That makes sense, thanks. I don’t see that in the terms anywhere but apparently this is common knowledge that I just didn’t have. Might sign up for this alongside my new BB so I have more locations to reload for free than just WM.

Mimi
Mimi

If your balance is zero before statement closes, you won’t be charged the fee.

HarryTheFirstHarry
HarryTheFirstHarry

So after statement closes, you load, give it couple days and then bank transfer/bill pay/spend small amount to make it 0 again and then wait for statement to close and so on and no fees at all, wow. I was freaking out when I saw the fee had gone up to 6.95 from sometime back when P2’s Blue Serve had $1 fee waived with a cash deposit of $500. I even used to not load the 500 at times just to give some randomness to the whole thing, but now that P2 mouse was finally caught by the shutdown cat, have to look for another way to get rid of those GCs and going to try green serve. thanks.

Nathan
Nathan

I read elsewhere that this used to be the case for GoBank cards as well, but they now will charge the monthly fee even if your balance is 0 at statement close. How likely is it that Serve will follow GoBank’s lead?

Mimi
Mimi

I’ve been shutdown by AXP for S/BB during the first wave and was able to get back in Q1 of this year and shutdown again. I was able to re-register and approved for the accts they axed the same night for P1, P2. We’re now waiting whether they will send those cards. P1 activated 1S sleeper, P2 activated 1BB sleeper and loaded them successfully. From hereon, our gameplan is to activate just one for our ACH push needs. We’ll keep other cards in sleep mode, unactivated knowing they are not affected when sweeping shutdown happens.

As to AXP S/BB following GoB’s lead, I don’t think so based on my long history with them. GoB recently changed some policies that others have reported where there is now a fee charged for loading VGCs to Visa GoB accounts at WM (apparently, MC GoB remain fee free when loading VGCs) where they used to be free aside from charging $8.95 maintenance fees for those who buy and register accounts using the kits from WM.

Kad
Kad

When you say “sleeper” card, how is it actually done? – do you buy a card from a retail store then register to your name, but not “activate” it? or just buy the card and put it aside. TIA

CtownBin
CtownBin

Serve is preferable- and by a lot- because you can load at Family Dollar and Dollar General, while BB can only be loaded at Wal-Mart. This is particularly important for those with Vanilla-branded GC, since those don’t work at Walmart. Serve can also be loaded with a credit card online, though it only works with third-party AMEX cards currently. For many, it would be worth paying the $6.95 monthly fee for these advantages. But as mentioned, you can avoid the fee by having your account at 0 balance when fee hits.

raekwon
raekwon

Thanks CtownBin. I have a few rewards debit cards so I usually just load at WM from those for some extra cashback before their statements hit. Never saw a need for messing w/ Vanilla-branded cards or CC loading but I’ll grab a green Serve just for more loading locations. Can anyone point me to somewhere on the Serve website where it says the fee is waived w/ a zero balance. I obviously believe y’all, but I just wonder if it actually says it anywhere.

Bonus_Chaser
Bonus_Chaser

raekwon,
Fee information is referenced in “American Express Serve Free Reloads Consumer User Agreement.”
Section 3. Registration.
Clause: a. Establishing an Account.
“Once you establish an Account, in accordance with Section 10, a Monthly Fee will be charged to your Account during every monthly statement period unless a waiver, exception, or other promotional program applies. Your monthly statement period will begin on the date you successfully sign up for an American Express Serve Free Reloads Account. You will see the Monthly Fee listed in your Periodic Statement and Account Transaction History. The Monthly Fee will be withdrawn from your Available Funds and will be charged as long as there is a remaining balance on your Account, except where prohibited by law. If you have no Available Funds in your Account, we will next look to your Reserve (if applicable), followed by your Sub-Account(s), to charge the Monthly Fee.

NOTE: There is no Monthly Fee for residents of NY, TX and VT.”

Ric
Ric

Does AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Business credit card work? And are these loads considered cash advances?
Thank you.

James Bond

Does Amex say a $0 balance waives the monthly fee or is it a fluke in their system?

Nun
Nun

The website mentions they’ll only collect what you have if it’s less than the fee.

Nathan
Nathan

My area doesn’t have Dollar General at all and only a couple Family Dollar kind of far away. Can we load Serve at other dollar store chains like Dollar Tree, 99 Cents Only Store, Daiso, or Five Below?

Mimi
Mimi

No… those stores won’t load prepaid like Serve.

Saturn
Saturn

If FD/DG are no available to you for this Walmart may be your only option for loading with a card.

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