Serve Student Edition?


Several times in the past I’ve written about the American Express Campus Edition card.  Most recently, I wrote: Exercising the Amex Campus Edition card.  This card can be bought and reloaded at Barnes & Noble Campus bookstores.  Those with easy access to a campus bookstore and a credit card that offers a good bookstore bonus can do well with these cards.  That said, reloads are limited to $6,000 every 12 months, so the opportunities for earning miles or cash back are limited.

Now, it turns out that Amex is no longer offering the card online to new applicants.  If you browse to the Campus Edition website, you’ll be shown the American Express Serve card instead.  If you scroll down, you’ll see that Amex is no longer accepting new Campus addition account registrations unless you purchased a temporary card:

Serve Student Edition

It’s clear that Amex is phasing out the Campus Edition card, but that raises a number of questions:

  • Will Amex continue to support existing cardholders?
  • Will Amex introduce a new version of Serve targeted to college students?  Serve Student Edition, perhaps?
  • Will we be able to reload Serve (or Serve Student Edition) at Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstores?

That last point is, perhaps, the most exciting possibility and one that doesn’t seem unrealistic at all.  Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstores are already able to reload Amex Campus Edition cards, so why not Serve as well?

Unfortunately, the Serve website does not yet show campus bookstores as a reload option:

Serve Student Edition

That said, my guess is that the capability is coming.  I would love to test it right now, but I’ve already converted all four cards I manage from Serve & Bluebird to REDbird (see “REDcard changes everything”).  I’m counting on readers who have stuck with Serve to test this out.  Please let me know what you find!

Note: Amex calls in-store reloads “cash reloads”, but that doesn’t mean that cash is the only option.  It is up to each store to determine what payment types they’ll accept.

Why we care

Campus Edition bookstores currently allow credit cards to be used to pay for reloads at the register.  I expect that if Serve becomes reloadable at these stores, the credit card option will continue.  That would be fantastic because Serve is better in many ways than the Amex Campus Edition card: it has much higher reload limits ($5K per month), almost no fees (whereas the Campus Edition card has many), and many easy ways to use the money in your account (e.g. bill pay, withdraw to bank account, free ATM withdrawals, send money to friends).  For those with credit cards that earn a bonus at bookstores, this would be especially beneficial.  Also, Serve allows $1,000 per month of online credit card reloads in addition to the $5,000 per month of in-store reloads.  So, in that way, it would be even better than REDbird (the Target Prepaid REDcard) which only allows in-store credit card reloads.  Keep in mind, though, that some credit cards charge a cash advance fee for online reloads (see “Some online Serve credit loads now posting as cash advances”).

What do you think?  Is Serve Student Edition coming?  Do you care?

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