Complete guide to the many flavors of Serve. Which is Best?

by Shawn Coomer – Senior Editor
Updated: 1/8/2016

american express serve types guide

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

In the Summer of 2015, American Express revamped their lineup of Serve cards. In addition to changing the normal “Blue” American Express Serve card, they added a “Green” card with free reloads and a “Silver” card which earns cash back. There is also a co-branded “One VIP” Serve card which perhaps has the best combination of fees & features.

All of these cards have access to Amex Offers and work much in the same way, however each one is slightly different. In this guide I’ll detail the features and fees of each of the four current versions of the American Express Serve card along with the old version.

One VIP Card from American Express Serve

american express serve types guide

Sign-Up Link

  • Monthly Fee: $1 or $0 with a $500 direct deposit or $500 in loads. (The monthly fee is waived in TX, NY & VT.) Note: In some areas of the terms, it mentions only direct deposit waiving the monthly fee while in others it mentions $500 in loads being required. According to Doctor of Credit, $500 in loads are currently working to waive the fee.
  • Cash loads: Available at Walmart, 7-11, CVS & Family Dollar. No fee.
  • Cash load limits: $2,500 per day/$5,000 per month.
  • Online Amex credit card loads: $200 per day/$1,000 per month

You can find all of the spending and load limits here.

Bottom Line

The One VIP Serve card is the closest to what the “Old Serve” card was. It has a waivable monthly fee and no fees for loads. It also comes with One VIP loyalty access which provides increased access to select events & tickets.

American Express Serve (New Blue Version)

american express serve types guide

Sign-Up Link

  • Monthly Fee: $1 or $0 with a $500 direct deposit. (The monthly fee is waived in TX, NY & VT.)
  • Cash loads: Available at Walmart, 7-11, CVS & Family Dollar. Up to $3.95 fee.
  • Cash load limits: $2,500 per day/$5,000 per month.
  • Online Amex credit card loads: $200 per day/$1,000 per month

You can find all of the spending and load limits here.

Bottom Line

The new Blue version of the American Express Serve card has a low waivable monthly fee, however loads are not free.

American Express Serve FREE Reloads (Green Card)

american express serve types guide

Sign-Up Link

  • Monthly Fee: $4.95. (The monthly fee is waived in TX, NY & VT.)
  • Cash loads: Available at Walmart, 7-11, CVS & Family Dollar. No fee.
  • Cash load limits: $2,500 per day/$5,000 per month.
  • Online Amex credit card loads: $200 per day/$1,000 per month

You can find all of the spending and load limits here.

Bottom Line

The new green version of the American Express Serve card can be loaded without a fee. It carries a higher monthly fee, but is better than the Blue card for people who do multiple loads per month.

American Express Serve Cashback (Silver)

american express serve types guide

Sign-Up Link

  • Monthly Fee: $5.95. (The monthly fee is waived in TX, NY & VT.)
  • Cash loads: Available at Walmart, 7-11, CVS & Family Dollar. Up to $3.95 fee.
  • Cash load limits: $2,500 per day/$5,000 per month.
  • Online Amex credit card loads: $200 per day/$1,000 per month

You can find all of the spending and load limits here.

Bottom Line

The new silver cashback version of the American Express Serve card may be good for people looking to use the card for everyday spending, however it is hampered by high load fees.

American Express Serve (Old Blue – No Longer Available)

american express serve types guide

  • Monthly Fee: $1 or $0 with $500 in loads per month. (The monthly fee is waived in TX, NY & VT.)
  • Cash loads: Available at Walmart, 7-11, CVS & Family Dollar. No fee.
  • Cash load limits: $2,500 per day/$5,000 per month.
  • Online Amex credit card loads: $200 per day/$1,000 per month ($500 per day/$1,500 per month for Softcard version.)

You can find all of the spending and load limits here.

Bottom Line

The “Old” blue version of the Serve card is no longer widely available. This card allows loads for free and the monthly fee can easily be waived with $500 in loads.

Each Version Is Slightly Different

One of the biggest advantages of the “Old Serve” card is access to free reloads and the easily waivable monthly fee. While the One VIP Serve card has a more involved method of getting the monthly fee waived (direct deposit vs. loading), it is identical to the old card in every other way.

With the other products, American Express has spread the advantages of “Old Serve” out. The normal “Blue” version of the Serve card has a waivable monthly fee, however it does not have free reloads. The “Green” version of Serve does have free reloads, however the monthly fee is much higher and currently cannot be waived. Finally, the cash back version of the card has both a high monthly fee and a cost to reload, however if you spend a lot with Serve then it may make sense.

Walmart Loads

Initially only the “One VIP”, “Old Serve” and the “Green” cards could be loaded at Walmart. When the other new cards were launched they did not work at Walmart, but that issue has now been resolved. As of now all versions of Serve can be loaded at Walmart, however some do have a fee as noted above.

Choosing the Right Card

Since “Old Serve” is no longer widely available, the best overall product is probably the One VIP card since it has a waivable monthly fee and access to free loads. For people who are looking to use Serve as their normal spending card, the cash back version may be interesting, however it comes with a high monthly fee and a fee every time you load in-store.

Bluebird, REDcard or Serve?

While this resource covered all of the types of Serve, American Express has two other prepaid reloadable products. For a detailed comparison of the three major American Express prepaid products, see: The Complete Guide to Bluebird, REDcard and Serve.

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[…] Complete guide to the many flavors of Serve. Which is Best? […]

Amrit
Guest
Amrit

Hi Shawn,

I am new to credit card signup bonus and MS. I enjoy your writing. I do not have any serve card yet and planning to apply for Amex serve (One VIP) card. I could not figure out the difference between old serve and new One VIP. As I can see for the new One VIP card the fee can be waived by two means.

Monthly Fee
$1 Monthly Fee (no fee in NY, TX, VT).
Or
$0 Monthly Fee if you do any of the following during each monthly statement period:
Receive a Direct Deposit
Add $500 or more to your Account

So I suppose it is another option added to the old serve or did I miss anything?

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[…] Complete guide to the many flavors of Serve. Which is Best? […]

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Does the silver serve offer 1% back for paying your bills with it also or just regular swipe transactions qualify? I live in NY so the fee is waived.

Thanks.

Henry
Guest
Henry

Heads up on the Cashback card – in the details it states, “You agree NOT to transfer funds from your Account to a linked credit or debit card or debit/payroll card; for example, you may not transfer funds from your Account to pay for an outstanding credit card bill.” So, be careful if you’re looking at this for Fidelity AMEX loads.

Ben
Guest
Ben

Does the “Online Amex credit card loads” support the loads from AmEx issued hotel card, e.g. SPG AmEx card?

Andrew G
Guest
Andrew G

If I load to Serve online from my Amex SPG card, do I get the Starwood points for that, or is the online CC load feature only useful for meeting min spends?

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Meeting minimum spend only. No points earned unless it’s an AMEX issued by third party banks like the AMEX Fidelity Investment Rewards.

gaurav
Guest
gaurav
Corey
Guest
Corey

Does “cash loads” at CVS allow you to use Debit GC’s?

renzhen
Guest
renzhen

Shawn, I noticed quite some Serve cards at retailer stores such as Walmart and Walgreen, and I believe those are still the old blue Serve cards, is that right? Thanks.

JR
Guest
JR

The wallmart supported cards would work also @n old KATE , or ?
thanks
JR

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[…] at FrequentMiler picked up on a subtle change in the tune of the One VIP website which seems to indicate that you […]

Alan
Guest

For the Blue Serve:

“Cash loads: Available at CVS & Family Dollar. Up to $3.95 fee. Walmart loads are not currently supported”

Can you also not load pin enabled debit cards on to this at Walmart?

Bob Sacamano
Guest
Bob Sacamano

Can you use an Amex GC to reload the One VIP Serve at Walmart?

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

Nope.

Josh
Guest
Josh

I’ve been having trouble with Kate. I have the old Serve, but when I swipe to load nothing happens. It just keeps on the screen like nothing happened. Do you know what’s up?

RA
Guest
RA

This is my 1st try using my Amex card to buy a gift card with a pin on the back, to load my Serve. It was a vanilla GC. My Family Dollar did the load, but scanned the GC which added a $3.95 charge. They said that is the Family Dollar policy. I live in Pa. Is that to expected? Can I get around it?

Marcia
Guest
Marcia

If I am understanding your question correctly, you are asking if there is any way around the $3.95 activation fee and the answer is ‘no’. IME all VGC’s have an activation fee, it just varies in regards to the amount.

JK
Guest
JK

Does credit-card loading count towards the $500 load requirement to waive the monthly $1 fee for the One-VIP Serve? Or do the loads have to be from cash/debit gc?

RK
Guest
RK

Hi,

I am trying to do manufacture spending on my credit card for earning points. So, I brought Gift cards using the credit card and also a blue classic serve card in CVS pharmacy. I came home and activated the serve card and went back to CVS pharmacy and 7-eleven were it was mentioned as free reloads for serve card. Both the places cashier told me that debit cards(pin enabled gift cards) cannot be loaded into serve. Can you please help me on this and also let me know what i am doing wrong. Thanks!

Jason
Guest
Jason

I have 3 quick questions. First, does anybpdy know if these serve accounts are subject to liens, judgements or garnishments like regular checking accounts, 2. Does the 49.99 limit using vanilla cards apply only to walmart or does it include family dollar, and 3. Can these be reloaded at all at 7-11 with vanilla?

Henry
Guest
Henry

I have a question about old serve. My serve is blue and is very much like to blue new version, but I got it before AMEX rolled out these 3 new versions. I loaded my card in Walmart with GC without fee before. So, does my serve keep its characteristics, or does it convert to the new blue serve automatically?

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[…] http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.co…e-types-guide/ You have the "New Blue […]

HC
Guest
HC

Hi!
As far as I found out, the one VIP is better over all other three, if there is no extra requirement, why people still open other three Serve cards?

zei
Guest
zei

following

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[…] equal and there are a couple of bad (in my opinion) flavors out there. Thankfully I created an entire resource on Frequent Miler comparing and contrasting each version. Luckily there is a clear […]

MLH
Guest
MLH

So which have you gotten / will be getting with RB dead? And where can one get these elusive Old Serves that you sneakily alluded to?

Jack
Guest
Jack

So for a TX resident, One VIP and Green Serve will be the same since monthly fees are waived in TX right?
Does having the Green Serve give me a better chance against change of the term-condition? Reading from other blogs that One VIP has a better chance of changing terms then Green. Could this be true or most likely if one product changes, others will change as well?

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[…] switching to Serve I was able to switch my RB account to Serve (the One VIP flavor; see here for more info) this morning, after a few headaches. Took three or four tries and a call to both […]

Gaurav
Guest
Gaurav

Shawn, does the TX, VT etc exclusions apply based on the state of purchase or where the card is registered. I’m guessing it’s the latter but figured I’d check. Fairly close to VT so it could be a nice excuse for a road trip!

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

following

Jason
Guest
Jason

I just purchased a new serve blue card at Office Depot $2.95 with a $10 cash load. I am confused on how and where I can load this card. Also which prepaid pin enable gift cards I can load to the card. Can you explain please. Is this the wrong Serve card to switch to from the Redbirds card?

Jason
Guest
Jason

This card is totally better than the Redbird. I can use Kate 24/7 and I was able to load vanilla cards with Family Dollar. I did run into an issue with one Family Dollar saying they did not have the load card available. I need to see if I can bring on to the location. I am still confused about the load cards but I have a lot of Family Dollar’s in my area and a lot of Wal-Marts. I did also have an issue with my Redbird card needing to be closed before I could register the temp card. I had to call Amex and they went through the tech support and called me back the same day.

Oldporkchops
Guest
Oldporkchops

Worked perfectly! One thing though, my wife has the “new” Serve card without the silver border and it has been loaded at WMart before. Is the inability to load this card at Walmart a new policy?

PhatMiles
Guest
PhatMiles

Can you use ONE VIP Card to load with Debit Cards (Giftcards purchased from Grocery, Office SUpply etc) at anything other than just Walmart? What about Family Dollar, CVS etc?

JohnnyD
Guest
JohnnyD

Ok just signed up for OneVIP and loaded 200 dollars online via My FIA AMEX. Besides the 200 Dollars a 1 dollar fee separate fee appeared from SERVE. Is this normal and is there a way to avoid it?

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

That wasn’t a temporary hold?

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[…] Miler can definitely write a more thorough report of this product than I can, so I’d recommend checking that out. I started this method after the end of Redcard […]

Mordy
Guest
Mordy

How can you tell if you have “old blue” serve or the new one? Just the picture?

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[…] Gimp, I read it here. I hope u are right, but if u scroll down to "New Serve", it shows NOT reloadable at Walmart. Hopefully that datapoint is bogus. http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.co…e-types-guide/ […]

Frank
Guest
Frank

How do I get the One VIP card? Is it available anywhere besides online at https://www.serve.com/onevip/#one-vip-loyalty-access ?

Frank
Guest
Frank

For the new Serve card above, you state:

Cash loads: Available at Walmart, 7-11, CVS & Family Dollar. Up to $3.95 fee. Walmart loads are not currently supported

What does that mean?

Car los
Guest
Car los

I have an old Serve card in the box, never activated. Can this card still be activated?

Tina Vitali
Guest
Tina Vitali

Be careful with these cards. I had one for about 3 years. On Thursday at 6:24 and 6:25 pm I received two emails saying my account was locked due to possible fraud. I called customer service at about 7:00pm. NO ONE has been able to tell me what happened. I have no idea if someone took money from my account (there was about $900 on the card), no idea why the account was closed, and no idea if and when I am getting my money. I have called a total of 10 times. I have tweeted. I have called the executive offices. No one is willing to help me. Can’t reach a supervisor, can’t reach “back office” (the folks that supposedly made the decision). Can’t access account. A nightmare.

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[…] Click here to read the full article…. […]

TomT
Guest
TomT

Walmarts in my area (Marin County, north of San Francisco) are not very close, and those I have visited do not have KATE. There are no Family Dollar stores within 50 miles either. Since my REDbird is now useless, is there any process to manufacture spend using any of the Serve cards? It seems the only thing I can do is load $1k per month from Amex cards, which will only count towards minimum spend (still better than nothing). What about manufacturing minimum spend for new Visa and MC credit cards? It seems the gift card route does not work for any Serve card w/o KATE. Can I instead use VISA or MC cards to purchase and load Vanilla Reload cards and then load those funds online (or in store) onto the Serve card? If so, where can one purchase Vanilla Reload cards with a credit card, which stores would allow the load from Vanilla Reload to Serve (if any, or is it only online?), and which Serve card would be best for this approach?

Buddy M.
Guest
Buddy M.

I would really like to use the Walmart Kiosk but I have yet to see one that actually functioned and I haven’t seen one at all since right after they started the program with Amex. Is there a list somewhere of Walmart that have functioning Kiosk’s? It would be very helpful.

john
Guest
john

I’m looking at the ONE VIP site and I see that is has a $3.95 for change loads. Did this recently change?

A
Guest
A

Has anyone been able to load Vanilla Gift Card to ONE VIP Serve? If so, where and how?

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

Silly question: for the places that have a RiteAid that allows debit card loads, we still have to have a PIN-enabled Visa/Mastercard prepaid card, right? They don’t allow reloads with credit cards right?

Boontang
Guest
Boontang

Is there a way one can the difference between the “New” blue Serve and the “Old” blue Serve by retail packaging? Other than by the card numbers starting with 375171 / 377772 which are not visible through the retail packaging, are there any other clues? I found one on a grocery store peg and the terms on the reverse side indicate “…$1 Monthly Fee: Waived during any month you Direct Deposit OR load $500.” The Serve.com website indicates the current blue Serve card “Monthly Fee: $1 -or- $0 when you Direct Deposit $500+.” Are these different blue Serve cards?

Pat
Guest
Pat

Does anyone know if you can earn points using BBVA American Express card?

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

I have BBVA NBA card and Serve VIP and confirm you earn points, and dont pay any fees. $200/day upto $1K month

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[…] comprehensive blog post addresses your question and provides lots of helpful […]

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[…] Which Serve card is best? […]

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[…] Which Serve card is best? […]

Daniel Gordon
Guest
Daniel Gordon

I have the “old blue”, and was recently charged a loading fee when loading my Serve with VGC at family dollar.

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[…] Which Serve card is best? […]

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[…] Which Serve card is best? […]

Gene
Guest
Gene

@shawn coomer
i accidentally ordered the blue serve… $3.74 load fee.
is it simple to change it to the serve VIP? close blue, open VIP same day, same email?
thanks!

Jason Martin
Guest
Jason Martin

Have you seen a CA fee for loading Serve with a AMEX credit card?

Shelva Rodgers
Guest
Shelva Rodgers

I have the Blue Serve. It was free to buy and I have always loaded it for free.. Family Dollar, CVS, Dollar General, 711, Rite Aid. Maybe different in other states… I’m in Michigan. $1 monthly fee if that. If I have $0.30 they will take that as fee. I love it.. Only downside…Everyone take American Express

Shelva Rodgers
Guest
Shelva Rodgers

I meant everyone doesn’t take American Express

trackback

[…] versions of the Serve prepaid card to choose from. Shawn at FrequentMiler did a great analysis on the different versions of Serve and concludes that the One VIP card is the best, since it has no monthly fees (if you load at least […]

JD
Guest
JD

Can someone confirm that using American Express Credit Cards for auto-loading the Serve card at $200/day for $1,000 each month WILL earn Membership Rewards points??

JD
Guest
JD

Forget it—figured it out—unfortunately!

Shane
Guest
Shane

Do you know if it would count toward the minimum spend requirement?

trackback

[…] more about Serve, see: Complete guide to the many flavors of Serve. Which is Best?  And you can find information about both cards here: Complete guide to Bluebird and […]

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[…] versions of the Serve prepaid card to choose from. Shawn at FrequentMiler did a great analysis on the different versions of Serve and concludes that the One VIP card is the best, since it has no monthly fees (if you load at least […]

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[…] There are several “flavors” of Serve — you can read more about all of them here: Complete guide to the many flavors of Serve. Which is Best?. Unfortunately, reports from reddit indicate that an email has been sent out to Amex Serve ONE VIP […]