American Express Serve adds Rite Aid and Dollar General to free cash reload network

Note: On January 8, 2016 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend

American Express published a press release today announcing the addition of Rite Aid and Dollar General to Serve’s “Free Cash Reload Network”.  This means that eligible Serve account holders can now reload their cards at Rite Aid and Dollar General.

Serve adds Rite Aid and Dollar General

There is no official word yet about which forms of payment are accepted for Cash Reloads at Rite Aid or Dollar General.  According to contributors to this Reddit thread, some stores do accept debit cards.  It looks like policies vary from store to store.  I doubt any stores will accept credit cards, but it might be worth a try.

UPDATE 12/2/2015: I succeeded in reloading Serve with prepaid debit cards at Rite Aid today.  The cashier didn’t think that debit cards were allowed, but she checked a policy document and found that debit was OK.

Here is the first part of the press release:

American Express Serve has joined forces with Dollar General and Rite Aid to expand its Free Cash Reload network, allowing eligible Account holders2 to add cash to their cards for free at thousands of additional locations around the country. With this move, American Express continues to have the largest Free Cash Reload network in the United States1, now with over 45,000 Dollar General®, CVS/pharmacy, Family Dollar®, Rite Aid, Walmart®, and participating 7-ELEVEN® locations.

2 Serve Free Cash Reload Account holders, as well as Serve Account holders who activated and registered their Serve Account before August 5, 2015, have access to the Free Cash Reload network.

The full document can be found here.

Hat Tip: Doctor of Credit

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  1. What is special about the August 5, 2015 date? “2 Serve Free Cash Reload Account holders, as well as Serve Account holders who activated and registered their Serve Account before August 5, 2015, have access to the Free Cash Reload network.”

    I just signed up for my “One VIP Serve” card after Target RedBird died and have been loading it at Wal-mart, is my card not eligible to load at Rite Aid?

  2. This is probably a stupid question, but whenever I try loading Serve with a debit card at Walmart, they try to charge me an extra $3.74. Is “free” only for cash or is it supposed to be for debit as well. When I load a bluebird there it is free.

  3. I tried to load a visa gift card at Rite Aid yesterday using my Serve card but they said they only allow cash loads. For the first time ever I was turned away yesterday at the Walmart when trying to load my Bluebird. They said they can not load Bluebird using “those types of cards” and that this was a recent change to their policy. I also tried Family Dollar and when I swiped the gift card it said invalid payment type. In the past I had never had a problem loading that type of card at Family Dollar. Has anyone else had trouble loading at Walmart and Family Dollar? What type of visa gift cards are you using? In the past the ones issued by US Bank and Metabank have always been fine.

    • @Johnna No issues yesterday or today at WM or RA. Loaded Serve at both successfully using VGC from MB. YMMV depending on the store, but no need to show the VGC to cashier. Try different store/cashier.

  4. The Family Dollar stores near me (northern jersey) refuse to take anything but cash for loading Serve. I haven’t been to WM yet to test it, a bit far and annoying to go to. I truly hope Rite Aid allows debit loads.

  5. There’s already reports of people using multiple VGCs in ONE visit to load their account. This is the type of person who is unwise, uses no restraint and never thinks it’s their fault for stores going “cash only”. I suggest anyone witnessing such a person should speak to them in a friendly ms’r to ms’r outside the store to warn them they are being noticed and their actions will lead to shutdown for them and everyone else. However, the true idiots won’t listen and will continue multiple card loads per visit and using multiple debit cards to unload. This is a case where one debit per visit would be wise. RA is not TRGT nor WM, but small local stores with few cashiers. Remember, they see even $500 as a big amount while most veteran ms’rs see that amount as a drop in the bucket. We must understand how we are perceived.

      • I just read an article from Dan’s Deals about this. Not only did he say that he loaded several times in one trip but he wrote this gem “Nothing in MS lasts very long. Enjoy it while it does and move onto the next thing.” in the comments. That’s the kind of attitude that makes things get taken away.

        • Unfortunately, most bloggers have that attitude because they already realize they contribute to the problem. But, they are in denial that it’s their fault. Of course this can be talked about openly, but it’s the use of restraint that the wiser ms’rs use to look normal. Then, they be people who will think “oh well, since Dan and others are loading like there’s no tomorrow I’ll do the same at my local store”. So far, I’ve been wise at my location and so have the few others here that do this and our store doesn’t have a problem with the occasional small loads. I’ve seen some stores where a certain single ms’r thought the cashiers were fine with his stack of VGCs he would bring in, but little did he know it just took one of them to get suspicious and therefore they inquired with a manager about the multiple cards man. Now, that location is completely cash-only for EVERYTHING card related. It only took one person to kill that location and he thought everyone was comfortable with him.

          What’s worse is that Dan (or whomever posted that article) would tell others he loaded multiples in one visit. That was not being a good steward. I like Dan, he’s done very well with his blog and travel agency/consulting/marketing, but if it was him that posted that I’m disappointed. They just don’t realize the negative impact that has and what it can cause others to do. Maybe a couple cards can be loaded in one trip, but encouraging others causes others to go overboard. So far, I’ve protected my location. In fact, I’m only one of 3 ms’rs that go to that location and we’re all going slow and steady. We’ve learned from the other guy that ruined a different location.

    • Agree completely… but we’re a paranoid and defensive bunch, so I can imagine how horribly wrong approaching “them in a friendly ms’r to ms’r outside the store” could go.

      • I agree. It all depends on the situation and if the person is approachable and how skillful/tactful the more experienced and wiser ms’r is who sees an opportunity to strike up a conversation with a fellow ms’r. Sometimes just warning someone of something they know is happening at the store will be treated with “oh, didn’t realize… thanks for letting me know about this location’s potential clampdown. Must weigh carefully.

  6. this would be a dream if vgc could be loaded at these stores. i have one of each within walking distance and two more on the way to work.

  7. Thanks to everyone who reported their experience. It would be even more helpful if they mentioned their general geographic area.

    The RA on Lee Hwy in Falls Church, VA is not even set up yet for reloads. “Our equipment isn’t ready yet…”

  8. While you’re at Rite-Aid, you can pick up a $50 Sears card and get 1000 plenti points ($10) or a $25 Kohls card with 500 plenti points ($5)

  9. I live in the North Seattle area. Anyone have experience in my neck of the woods? I want to get this right–I can buy Visa gift cards at Safeway with my CC and then load my Serve one VIP at Rite Aid using said GC? Do I do so at a cash register or do they have a special ATM like WM? I haven’t done any of this yet, so kind of afraid to jump in.

    • Not all RA are allowing this or know how to do it, which is the position you should take with any “ideas” or “methods”, so don’t go hog wild and buy too many GC you can’t liquidate or use normally. Test the waters. No ATM, has to be person to person which explains the human inconsistency element.

    • Me: ZERO (0) success buying Visa GC’s at Safeway since early 2015.
      I buy my GC’s at Rite Aid (limit $3000/day). But I haven’t tried reloading there – just saw this notice. Spent this afternoon in Auburn loading a $500 Vanilla GC to Serve $49 at a time (limit imposed on the Walmart Moneycenter Kiosk – KATE). That process took 30 minutes.

  10. RA is great, at least in my area. Friendly cashiers, multiple loads no big deal. Only downside is no Kates for autoloading and few cashiers, so you need to be ready to let other customers check out and not hog the line. Dollar General is another story, at least in my area. They want cash only to load any prepaid, allegedly due to fraud issues.

  11. The DG in my neighborhood had a clerk willing to do the load, but had no idea how to do it. The menu on his register screen didn’t help (9 action items, but none were ‘reloads’). Does anyone know what the DG clerks need to do? I hear it’s possible, but one has to know the trick.

    • I’ve had no problems getting free loads with my Serve One VIP @ Dollar General. The cashier scans a barcode from one of several cards on a ring by the register. Their system is really fast. Transaction takes less time than Walmart load.

  12. Easy peasy ar RA last night $300 Visa Debit that I purchased online at Staples a week ago. I selected the AMEX Serve Free Load option and then swiped my card. Super fast!

  13. Just FYI I was told in NJ that it’s cash only to reload Serve at Rite Aid. I was just looking to load $100 from a Vanilla Visa I actually received as a gift.

  14. RA in San Diego has inconsistent policies, but gradually moving to ‘no gift card’, even if pin-enabled for Serve loads. Great process when they allow you to do it, but I have a narrow outlook for Serve/BB in 2016.

  15. I did try RA today. There were about 6 options to reload the my One VIP card and none of the choice has a Debit card option, so the cashier said choose the last one “General something, I can’t remember clearly” which will charge $4.95 for the reload. I said to cashier why it’s not free, and she answered it always has fees. So I ask the cashier to put $495.05 for reload and plus $4.95 fee, which end at $500 for total. After I swiped my VGC (Sunrise Bank), it didn’t go through.

    Not sure if I choose the right payment option, anyone have suggestions?

    Thanks

      • I tried with the Amex Serve Reload option in the middle of the screen and it didn’t go through. I have a One VIP. A $3.95 fee did appear, so I was trying to load $496.05. Not sure if I’m selecting the wrong option. Any thoughts?

  16. Attempted a load at my local Dollar General today. Cashier had no clue how to load a Serve card, and only knew how to load Green Dot cards.

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