Posted by Chuck on August 7, 2015
Manufactured Spending

Published on August 7th, 2015 | by Chuck

136

Six Different Flavors of Serve and How to Remain Fee-Free

Main Serve Homepage

Link to four versions of Serve

Link to Green Serve terms

Link to Old Blue Serve terms

Link to New Blue Serve terms

Link to Serve Cashback terms – Silver Serve

Flavor One: Old BlueServe

This is the old version of Serve, which many of us have.

  • Offers fee-free reload at Walmart, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, and Dollar General, among other locations.
  • Comes with a $1 monthly fee.
  • Monthly fee is waived if you loaded $500 within the past month, including online credit/debit loads or in-store cash reloads.
  • Can be loaded with an Amex credit card up to $1000 per month.

Key Factors: These details are not changing for existing members. All changes mentioned below are for new signups only. No monthly fee for NY, TX, VT.

Flavor Two: GreenServe

Serve is rebranding and creating a new Green card product.

  • Offers fee-free reload at Walmart, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, and Dollar General, among other locations.
  • Comes with a $4.95 monthly fee
  • Can be loaded with an Amex credit card up to $1000 per month.

Key Factors: This card maintains the fee-free reloads, but adds a $4.95 monthly fee. No fee for NY, TX, VT.

Flavor Three: New BlueServe

This is the new version of the Blue Serve card.

  • Costs up to $3.95 to reload at Walmart, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, and Dollar General, among other locations. [Walmart reloads were initially not working, but they are now working fine. There is, however, a $3.74 fee. (chasingthepoints)]
  • Comes with a $1 monthly fee
  • Monthly fee is waived only with direct deposit of $500. Other load methods will not waive this fee.
  • Can be loaded with an Amex credit card up to $1000 per month.

(Note: With previous promos offered by Serve, any ACH transfer worked to satisfy the direct deposit requirement. We expect that the same to be the case with regards to this.)

Key Factors: This card maintains the $1 monthly fee, but makes it harder to get waived. (No fee for NY, TX, VT.) It also adds a fee for in-store reloads.

Flavor Four: SoftServe

Some of us still have the enhanced Serve-with-Softcard option.

  • Offers fee-free reload at Walmart, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, and Dollar General, among other locations.
  • Comes with no monthly fee at all. Starting January 6, 2016, this card will have a $4.95 monthly fee; waived with direct deposit.
  • Can be loaded with a credit card up to $1500 per month. Visa, Mastercard, Amex, or Discover.
  • Can be loaded with a debit card up to $1500 per month.

Key Factors: There is a monthly fee of $4.95 (no fee for residents of NY, TX, and VT), but it should hopefully be easy to get it waived by having a small amount of money ACH transferred to the Serve account. It has the added velocity limit of $1,500 in credit card and debit card load which is $500 more than the others. And it can be loaded with any credit card, not just Amex cards.

SoftServe is no longer available for signup, those who have it can continue using it.

Flavor Five: SilverServe

A 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, we’re calling it SilverServe.

  • Costs up to $3.95 to reload at Walmart, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, and Dollar General, among other locations.
  • Comes with a $5.95 monthly fee. No fee in NY, TX, VT.
  • Can be loaded with an Amex credit card up to $1000 per month.

Key Factors: This card seems to have the worst of all worlds; there’s a non-waivable monthly fee of $5.95, and it still has a fee for loading the card at Walmart and other stores. Serve is pushing the benefit of getting 1% cashback on all purchases as a strong selling point of the card, but if we assume you have a credit card which earns more than that on all purchases, this isn’t much of a benefit.

Flavor Six: One VIP Serve

The final option is an obscure card which has been around for a while called the One VIP card. This card has the exact details as the regular Serve card, including the ability to be loaded online with an Amex credit card. The card also offers some entertainment benefits that most of us probably won’t be interested in.

  • Offers fee-free reload at Walmart, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, and Dollar General, among other locations.
  • Comes with a $1 monthly fee.
  • Monthly fee is waived if you loaded $500 within the past month, including online credit/debit loads or in-store cash reloads.
  • Can be loaded with an Amex credit card up to $1000 per month.

Key Factors: This card has all the details of the Old Blue Serve mentioned above, including fee-free reloads, the low $1 monthly fee, and the ability to waive the monthly fee with any $500 load to the card. The One VIP site makes it sound like the $1 monthly fee is only waived with $500 in direct deposit, not with any other add-money method; elsewhere there are indications on the Amex site that the fee can be waived with any $500 of add-money transactions. We’ve confirmed that in practice any $500 load has been working to waive the monthly fee. (No fee for NY, TX, VT.)

Which card to get?

For someone who already has a Serve card, the best strategy is to just hold onto it since it has the $1 waivable monthly fee and it doesn’t have any reload fees. Certainly someone with SoftServe is lucky to be able to continue loading $1500 per month from any credit card.

For new cards, here’s the best option…

  • OneVIP Serve – For many people, this will be the best option. It does have a $1 monthly fee, but the fee is waivable with $500 loaded per month.
  • Bluebird – If you plan on loading only at Walmart and you don’t plan on doing online credit card loads (for example, if you are managing a card in someone else’s name and you don’t have any credit cards in their name), choose Bluebird instead of Serve. This card has no monthly fee and has free reloads at Walmart.
  • GreenServe – If you live in NY, TX, or VT, get GreenServe or OneVIP Serve. People in these states don’t have a monthly fee and would do better taking Serve over Bluebird for the added ability to load at Family Dollar and to do online credit card loads.

(Updated 12/09/15)



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Michael B
Michael B

IMHO, the new Blue Serve and Green Serve should be referred to as just “BlueServe” and “GreenServe”, saving the “-Bird” nomenclature for the cards which are specific to a certain retailer (so far Walmart and Target). It seems a little less confusing than bringing birds into the equation for standard Serve products.

Dave
Dave

Thanks for the well-done info round-up.

Newb question here: What is the benefit of using the $1K load on Serve with an Amex? From what I’ve read there’s no MR points and it doesn’t count for minimum spend… is there something I don’t know?

Bryan
Bryan

Cash back on third party Amex cards. Ex. 2% on Fidelity Amex = free $20/month!

Dave
Dave

Ahh… so it’s a great way to liquidate AGCs with a cashback bonus. Thanks!

Nicholas
Nicholas

Try again. He said cash back on 3rd party Amex cards (ie Fido Amex). He did not say AGC.

Dave
Dave

Ohh.. thanks for that clarification!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Wait, what? He’ll no. Don’t use Amex gift cards to load Serve online. You will be banned so hard.

Dave
Dave

Thanks, still a bit of a rookie here!

Will S
Will S

Dave, where exactly have you been reading, “d it doesn’t count for minimum spend” (referring to loading Serve w/ Amex cards) By chance was that pointsw/acrew? Everywhere I’ve consulted on this says that such loads will count towards minimum spend.

Any confirmations out there? Happens I’m in midst of second month of a new Amex bz card, and meeting spend in part with such Serve loads. So who is right? Are such loads no longer count towards min. spend… ?

HORACE
HORACE

I’m a newbie to this whole thing as well, and although I don’t think I will ever MS, I have read many of the reports on same.

With respect to this question of whether using AMEX issued cards to meet minimum spend threshold requirements for elite status and the like, the jury is out — I believe I read someone stating that it did count and another mentioning that he did not believe it counted — but that was based on AMEX disqualifying points earning when loading SERVE.

The only way I think we will get a definitive answer is if someone crosses that points threshold with a mix of spending — and unfortunately, those thresholds are quite high.

I, for one, would not put a great deal of spend on the card in loading to SERVE with the expectation that it will succeed. I would, however, see if it “tops off” my spend threshold and therefore helps me cross same and then look to your affinity account whether or not it actually succeeded for the purpose you intended.

As for me, as I will have a $1,00.00 limit, I intend to devote it entirely by loading my new FIA AMEX cash back card to my Serve ONE VIP account — that is, if I truly will not be charged any monthly fee for holding the account!

Will S
Will S

Data point that I can personally verify: close family member within the past month crossed her $5,000 minimum spend for an AMEX business card to get the MR 75k … (and the award has already been posted)

To the question here, $1,000 of that 5k spend came in form of loading SERVE.

In short, it counted. (suggesting those places that claim it will not count — were merely guessing)

Jackalope
Jackalope

Chuck –

Flavor One: Old Blue Serve waives the $1 monthly fee with either one of the following:

1. “Receive any amount via Direct Deposit” Capital One 360 p2p payments work. or

2. “Add $500 from cash, bank account, debit card, or credit card.”

Quoted sections are direct quotes from the Amex Serve website. Your section of fee waived with $1,000 loaded is correct, but is not the minimum needed.

Jeremiah
Jeremiah

Also, those of us who live in NY, TX, or VT will continue to not need to worry about ever being charged a monthly fee for any flavor of Serve.

Adam
Adam

does fee-free also apply to the One VIP card? asking cause cant sign up for oldServe… if not, I guess GreenServe is best for those getting new serves/switching from BB etc.

HORACE
HORACE

What are your approximate reading skills?

Bryan
Bryan

You can still go to Family Dollar and buy Old Blue Serve. It’s actually activation fee free through 8/23. You will get grandfathered in. Confirmed on Serve’s Legal page that temporary cards beginning in 3751-71 activate under the old plan/terms. Confirmed this afternoon by helping a family member get setup who didn’t want it for MS but for the Amex Offers. Card purchased & activated online today and it was on old plan. Better hurry – I bet all these will be pulled from the shelves soon and replaced with new blue & green ones! Surely they would have to abide by the terms printed on the box and can’t bait & switch you to New Blue without risk of a lawsuit… So look for these to be pulled pretty quickly!

MilesCollector
MilesCollector

Thanks Bryan. Can you share the link where it says the old serve cards starting with 3751-71 are grandfathered? I am trying to help my 2 family members get this card and want to make sure.

HORACE
HORACE

Reader FEZEN supplied the link in another post concerning this issue and Chuck ought to have given him some credit for same — I hope that that it was just an oversight.

https://www.serve.com/legal.html?intlink=us-serve-marketing-home-cashload-sku2015-footer-legal

However, as to Family Dollar not charging for these cards, I don’t know if this is a standard practice or whether it is regional or store localized, as it appears that purchasing these cards for a small fee is what is intended.

However, signing up for the VIP One card online should obviate the need to go out and get the temporary card as is seems to function like the Old Blue Serve without any fees if you load $500 onto it in a month — from I believe any source, but especially with 3rd party AMEX cards that can earn some perks — namely the 2% Cash Back Fidelity AMEX issued by Bank of America or the US Bank Flex Perks Travel awards AMEX.

Other posts in connection with other matters mentioned that neither using either card to load the Serve card incurred a Cash Advance fee — however, asking for some re-confirmation of same that loading Serve with the Fidelity AMEX or US Bank AMEX (apparently unlike the US Bank Flex Perks Travel Rewards Visa) incurs no Cash Advance fees as it apparently is coded as a Purchase.

Many thanks!

Bryan
Bryan

Family Dollar promotion for fee free until 8/23 is advertised on signage in store. May be regional, no way of knowing?

HORACE
HORACE

Thanks for the heads up!

HORACE
HORACE

Fair enough, then my sincere apologies for not providing credit where it was due.

I still maintain that without Fezen’s discovery of the Legal undertakings, we would not know that Old Blue Serve was being grandfathered and that the One Vip card was to be, as well, with respect to credit card loading — at least I hope it is! I received my notice yesterday that they are shipping it out.

On another note, DOC, I have this question — is there any rule that requires an issuer to grandfather existing user as opposed to just withdrawing a benefit?

I’ve seen US Bank/Club Carlson withdraw the 2nd night free vs. AMEX here supposedly grandfathering the Old Blue Serve– must an issuer do the latter under some circumstances and why do they do it when they have the former as an alternative?

Vince
Vince

While the old Blue Serve shows:

American Express Serve®
For customers who registered online before 8/5/15 with cards starting in 3727 41 e
For customers who purchased a Temporary Card starting in 3751 71 e
For all customers with One VIP™ Card from American Express Serve®

Clicking the View Agreement button for the Old Blue Serve ends up showing (along with all the other terms):

American Express Serve Consumer User Agreement
• For Users who registered online before 8/5/15 with Cards starting with # 3751 71; or
• For Users who purchased a Temporary Card starting with # 3727 41; or
• For Users who enrolled in American Express Serve through a Corporate Participant for the purpose of receiving payments from the Corporate Participant

Which has a different set of temporary card numbers 3727 – 41 (can register now), versus 3751 – 71 (which must have registered online before 8/5/15).

Although clicking the View Agreement button for the New Blue Serve ends up showing (along with all the other terms):

American Express Serve Consumer User Agreement
For customers who register online on or after 8/5/15 with Cards starting with #3777 72

So temporary cards starting with 3751 – 71 may be the Old Blue Serve, but temporary cards starting with 3727 – 41 probably have a better chance of being Old Blue Serve.

Since the American Express Serve Consumer User Agreement are the legal terms, I would look for temporary cards starting with 3727 – 41, not 3751 – 71, just to be on the safe side.

Bryan
Bryan

3727-41 is the permanent card you receive, not a temporary card sold.

Vince
Vince

Thanks, I didn’t know that.

So if I get a (Old Blue Serve) temporary card starting 3751 – 71, I should/will receive a permanent (Old Blue Serve) card starting 3727 – 41?

Vince
Vince

Or would the permanent card arrive with the same number as the temporary card?

Bryan
Bryan

Yes. At least that’s how it has worked for us.

I believe the message they are communicating in the legal terms is this:

1. There are two methods available to get a card — A. register online or B. buy a temporary card in store. You’ll get the card you signed up for. They will honor the terms printed on the temp card box you buy.

A. If you registered online before 8/5 you agreed to old terms and will get old card starting with 3727-41. If you registered online after that, you agreed to new terms and will get a card starting with 3727-42.

This is how retail POS systems will know what reload fee (if any) to charge — different product, different card prefix.

B. Old Blue Serve box in store with old terms, card # in box will start with 3757-51. When you register it online (even today) they send you a permanent card with 3727-41. New blue card boxes released (presumably) very soon will have the new terms printed, and cards will have 3777-72 card prefix. When you register it online they send you a permanent card with 3727-42.

Mark Z
Mark Z

It seems they do not accept ITIN…

Chao
Chao

So, if I go to family dollar buy a temp serve and activate it next week, is it still count as a old serve with fee free load at FD? I have a target redbird currently, so I need some time to cancel my redbird and activate serve.

Bryan
Bryan

As long as it has old terms printed on box and temp card starts with the right 6 digits, you shod be safe!

Vince
Vince

Where is the pop-up that shows the One VIP card having a monthly fee of $0 if you:

Add $500 or more to your account?

All I see on the https://www.serve.com/onevip/ page for the monthly fee is:

$1
– or –
$0 when you Direct Deposit $500+§

HORACE
HORACE
Indy
Indy

can the old soft serve version load both $1,500 from a credit card AND $1,500 from a debit card in the same month?

Eric
Eric

Most likely since the regular Serve can load $1K from debit AND $1K from credit in the same month.

Barb
Barb

Yes, I can confirm this since I’ve loaded my Serve cards $5K from in-store, $1.5K from online DC and another $1.5K online CC.

Adam
Adam

For SoftServe loads at CVS and 7-11, that’s cash-only right?

David
David

Was MMS really the first to report this? (??!!!!)

Michael B
Michael B

Seems to me that the first MSer to reference it was in the Serve thread on FT at 10:13 last night.

HORACE
HORACE

Harlan was up with it some time between 10 and 11 pm last night, I believe as that is when I first noticed it and starred investigating.

I’m not sure MMS was up with it until some time this morning but I could be incorrect.

In any event, DOC rightly recognized the importance of this change as there are 2 entries on this very subject, this very comprehensive one, and the earlier one.

Now, can anyone confirm for me that loading the US Bank Flex Perks Travel Rewards AMEX to a Serve account does not incur any Cash Advance fees? Same for the FIA Fidelity AMEX 2% cash back card?

Many Thanks!

Eric
Eric

The FIA does not as that is what I use. For US Bank request a $0 cash limit so you don’t have to worry.

HORACE
HORACE

Many thanks, Eric. That’s what I have read but in these changin’ times, sometimes one likes to hear it yet again!

Dukie02
Dukie02

Didn’t SoftServe stop all cc loads from all cards but AmEx earlier this year?

Jackalope
Jackalope

Nope. SoftServe will take all kinds. I’ve been using my discover with the double cash back promo (2% total)

Max
Max

Can the One VIP card be registered for amex offers like serve and bluebird
Also on serve site if you try to singup it says 3.95 fee varies by retailer (could it be they are only referring to reload it packs) and not for walmart, cvs etc

HORACE
HORACE

Well, if the One VIP card is a Serve card, what do you think?

Christopher
Christopher

If my wife and myself have our own Serve cards, will it allow me to fund $1000 on her Serve from my Amex Fidelity card (to bring my monthly total to $2000 in credit card funding after I load $1000 from the same Amex Fidelity Card to my account)? Does the name on the credit card have to match the one on the Serve account that is being funded?

Thanks

Sherry
Sherry

What flavors of Visa or MC gift cards can be loaded to Serve? any? Vanilla? Metabank?

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