Published on January 8th, 2016 | by Chuck106
RIP: The End of Serve & Bluebird & SoftServe for Manufactured Spend + What’s Left
Serve and SoftServe and Bluebird cardholders just got an email sent out stating that they can no longer add funds to the prepaid card due to unusual usage patterns.
The email was sent out to anyone who has been manufacturing spend on the card. Those who have not used it at all (or used it sparingly, presumably) did not get any such email.
For the most part, both those who did just online loads or just in-store loads or both – all got the shutdown email. And even those who have not used it recently. Newer accounts have not (yet?) gotten shutdown for the most part.
This will affect both loading in store at Walmart, Rite Aid, etc, and loading online with a credit or debit card, or even loading online with a bank account. This is what I got when trying to do a credit card load and a bank account load (initiated from the Serve account):
- Can I load funds with a credit card or debit card? No.
- Can I load funds with a bank account (load initiated from my prepaid card)? No.
- Can I load funds at Walmart, Rite Aid, etc? No.
- Can we still use the card for purchases, bill payments, or withdrawals? Yes, it’s pretty clear in the email that way and I tested it out as well.
- Can we still send money between Serve/Bluebird accounts? Yes, this works (both ways).
- Can we still use the card for Amex Offers? Yes, no reason why that won’t work. The only hurdle is getting funds on the card to be able to make the purchase.
- Can we still ACH-push money from a bank account onto the prepaid card? Unknown. If it works, it will be very useful for Amex Offers.
- Will Amex eventually shut down the account completely or can I use it for Amex Offers indefinitely? Unkown. It doesn’t sound like they are shutting it down soon, but they do say: “Once your balance reaches $0, please close your Account online via your Profile page accessible here. Scroll down to the Close Account section and click “Close Account.”
- Can I close this account and open another one? Unknown. If this works, it would be very useful for the sake of Amex Offers since we’d be able to load funds in non-MS ways and keep using the cards for Amex Offers. It would also be useful for the 5% off at Target for those who don’t have/want a Target credit or debit REDcard.
How to liquidate Visa and Mastercard debit/gift cards now?
- The GoBank card. It does have a $3k monthly limit though (see more here and here), and at some points in time, they were shutting down accounts as well for heavy usage.
- There may be other prepaid cards that can be loaded in Walmart.
- Kmart bill-pay.
- Buy money orders.
- Spend it down with regular purchases.
Definitely a huge hit for the hobby. It was fun while it lasted.