Complete guide to Bluebird and Serve

Updated: 6/25//2016

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

Note: As of 10/13/15 the Target REDcard (REDbird) can only be loaded with cash in-store at Target. Gift cards and/or debit cards no longer work to load REDcard so it is no longer useful for increasing spend and thus has been removed from this guide.

Note 5/10/2016: Rite Aid no longer allows debit cards to be used for reloading prepaid cards.

Bluebird and Serve…  These are prepaid reloadable American Express cards intended to be viable fee-free checking account alternatives.  Even better, they are both good choices for those who primarily want to earn miles and points.  The problem is… each person can have only one.  So, which is best?

UPDATE 6/25/2016: At some point recently Amex started allowing people to sign up for multiple cards. It is now possible for one person to signup for Bluebird, Serve, and REDbird (the Target Prepaid REDcard).

The answer to “which card is best?” depends upon your personal situation.  No single card is better than all others for everyone.  However, depending upon your situation, there is almost certainly a best card for you.  In this guide, I’ll give you the information you need to decide which card is best for you.


amex bluebird serve guide

 

Overview

Both Bluebird and Serve run on the same technology platform and they therefore have a lot in common.  They are both prepaid reloadable American Express cards.  This means that, unlike credit cards, you need to load money to these cards before you can use them (although, another option is to setup linked backup funding sources).  Once money is loaded, these cards can be used like American Express credit cards to make purchases, or can be used at ATMs for cash withdrawals, or can be used like a bank account to pay bills.

Bluebird

Bluebird was formed from a collaboration between American Express and Walmart. Even though Serve predated Bluebird, Bluebird was the first prepaid card to be a realistic fee-free checking account alternative.  And, at the time of this writing, Bluebird continues to be the only Amex prepaid product that offers a checkbook for writing checks yourself.  One of my earliest posts about Bluebird can be found here: Bluebird takes flight and changes the game.

Serve

Serve has been around quite a while and it has changed a lot over time, mostly for the better. At one point American Express discontinued the singular version of Serve and launched four new versions. While each version shares common features, they are all unique and different in their own ways. In this guide I will talk about Serve as a singular product (highlighting features that are common across all versions), however you can see all of the differences between each type in the Complete guide to the many flavors of Serve. Which is best?

One of the features that makes all versions of Serve stand out above Bluebird and REDbird is that they can be loaded online via credit card, up to $1000 per month. (The discontinued Softcard version of Serve allows $1,500 per month.) Unfortunately, as of April 16th 2015, they only accept Amex credit cards for those loads.  Amex cards issued by American Express do not earn rewards when used this way, but Amex cards issued by other banks do earn rewards. To find the best Amex cards to use for this purpose, please see: Best options for Serve online loads.

Which is best for you?

Please read through the comparison tables below to identify the differences between cards that matter the most to you.  For simplicity, though, here are my quick recommendations.

  • If you want to maximize credit card spend and savings opportunities, regardless of the complexities involved, then get Serve.
  • If you find yourself often in or near Walmart, Rite Aid, Dollar General, or Family Dollar, regardless of whether you actually shop at those locations, get Serve.
  • If you want to use Vanilla brand Visa gift cards to reload your prepaid card in-store, get Serve.
  • If you frequently shop at Walmart, and you’re interested in occasional Walmart discounts, get Bluebird.
  • If you need the ability to write your own checks, get Bluebird.

Comparison Tables

The following tables show both cards side by side.  Notable advantages are marked with green backgrounds.  Notable negatives are marked with red backgrounds.

How to get the card

Bluebird

Serve

Order online

Y

Y

Buy temp card in-store

Y

Wal-mart

Y

Various Stores

Temp card fee

$5

$0 to $5

Monthly fee

$0

Varies per flavor.

How to reload

Bluebird

Serve

Direct deposit

Y

Y

Deposit check (with smart phone app)

Y

Y

Online debit (not gift cards)

Y
Up to $1K / month

Y
Up to $1K / month

Online credit

N

Y
Up to $1K / month

Amex cards only.

In-store kiosk

Y
Wal-mart

Y
Wal-mart

In-store debit (including gift cards with PINs)

Y
Wal-mart

Y
Walmart, Family Dollar, Rite-Aid, Dollar General

In-store debit w/ Vanilla Visa gift card

N

Y

Family Dollar, Rite-Aid, and Dollar General

In-store credit

N

N

Via reload cards

Y
Vanilla Reload

Y
Vanilla Reload, Money-Pak, ReloadIt

In-store + reload card limits

$5000 per month

$5000 per month

If you’re reading this page, you probably want to find the card that is best for earning credit card rewards.  There are several ways this can happen:

  • Online debit loads: Use a rewards earning debit card or a debit card that is reloadable with a credit card.  Increasingly, both options are difficult or impossible to find, so this option is of very limited use to most people.  You cannot use gift cards as debit cards for online loads.
  • Online credit loads (Serve only): This is a great way to earn rewards easily and automatically, but Serve is now limited to Amex credit card loads only.  Please see: Best options for Serve online loads.
  • In-store debit: Unless you are lucky enough to have a debit card that earns rewards, the trick here is to use your rewards credit card to buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards with PINs, and use those as debit cards to reload your prepaid card.  See: Best options for buying Visa and MasterCard gift cards and Beginner’s guide to buying & liquidating Visa & Mastercard gift cards
  • Reload cards: Vanilla Reload cards and Greendot MoneyPaks are cards that can be bought at various stores, and then money from those cards can be transferred to prepaid reloadable cards online or, increasingly common, at the register.  It is becoming increasingly difficult, but not impossible, to find stores that allow reload cards to be purchased with a credit card.
Scheduled Loads

American Express used to make it very easy to schedule loads from various funding sources, however they have now seemingly removed that option from their website. Fortunately there is still a way to do this. To schedule a load, simply log-in to your Bluebird or Serve account and click the appropriate link below.

Note: This will only work if you already have a funding source linked to the account. Make sure to link one before trying or you will simply be redirected to the settings page.

How to save money with each card

Bluebird

Serve

Wal-mart promos

Y

N

Small biz Saturday

Y

Y

Amex Offers

Y

Y

As you can see above, both of these cards provide opportunity for saving money. Wal-mart promos have been few and far between lately, so the greatest value comes from Amex Offers on these cards. Note that both cards are also eligible for Small Business Saturday, but in 2015 that promotion didn’t offer any credits like in past years.

How to use card funds

Bluebird

Serve

Foreign exchange fee?

N

Y
2.7%

Fee free ATM

Y
Money Pass

Y
Money Pass

Other ATMs

$2.50

$2.50

Free online bill pay

Y

Y

Write your own checks

Y

N

Withdraw to linked bank account

Y

Y

Send money to others

Y

Y

Both Bluebird & Serve offer easy access to your money once its loaded.  In fact, with both cards, you can simply transfer the money to your bank account or even use the online bill pay function to send a check to yourself, for free.  A couple of notable differences though are as follows:

  • All versions of Serve charge foreign exchange fees so they’re poor choices for using outside of the United States.
  • Bluebird offers checkbooks with which you can write your own checks.

For additional information about fees and limits please see: Bluebird & Serve. A Comparison Chart of Amex Prepaid Debit Alternatives.

Last updated on November 30th, 2016

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

598
Leave a Reply

avatar
278 Comment threads
320 Thread replies
5 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
210 Comment authors
Greg The Frequent MilerJoyceLeslieDrkchrGary Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of
Eric
Guest
Eric

I’ve never actually loaded at Family Dollar before (only Walmart) so I’m not sure. Let me know how it goes as I’d rather load there if it’s simple.

Joanne
Guest
Joanne

would paypower card with pin, debit card, not registered to zip work at FD to load serve?

King Ross
Guest
King Ross

Hello, I just got through reading all the comments and just started reading through some of your website…….super awesome by the way.

I just called AmEx Serve customer service, as I feel this would be a great option for me as I use the Fidelity AmEx 2% cash back. They told me I could load the card online with my AmEx CC up to $200 a day with a max load of $2,000.00 per month. In addition, I can load at Walmart, 7/11 and CVS $1,900 a day with my AmEx CC, with a max load of $5,000 a month.

I asked if I could do both and the customer sevice person said I could. That is a max of $7,000.00 a month which is 140.00 in cash back money…..

I am missing anything with this card……is this for real????

Thank you for anyones feed back.

KR

Eric
Guest
Eric

I don’t think you heard them right. The limit to load your Serve with your Amex credit card is $1K per month, not $2K.

King Ross
Guest
King Ross

I just called, I will call again and hope to get another person.

Thank you for responding back.

Also, do they process as a credit or Cash Advance? They could not tell me for sure.

Eric
Guest
Eric

That depends on the credit card. Have your credit card issuer lower your cash limit to $0 to be safe.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I went to Family Dollar earlier today. I didn’t see any of the One Vanilla re-loadable cards so I knew that was a bad sign. The cashier told me that a few months ago Family Dollar stopped loading Serve. This was the first time I ever tried. Has anyone had success lately? If so, where in the country do you live?

MileHighBug
Guest

You can absolutely load Serve at Family Dollar. I do it regularly in PA.

Eric
Guest
Eric

It could be just my area doesn’t allow it anymore. Do you know if there’s any way to look up online which still allow it?

MileHighBug
Guest

No, there would not be a way to look that up online. Most of the reps know little about loading Serve with their in-store Vanilla Reloads. The rep you spoke to was probably misinformed. Go try again with a different rep (or two or three) and if they say they don’t do it anymore, just kindly ask them to please try. Say you have a friend who says they did it a couple days ago at that store. If you try several times with no luck, try a different store in your area.

Eric
Guest
Eric

There was no One Vanilla reloadable cards by the other gift cards as I looked for that first. The guy mentioned on his own that they no longer have the One Vanilla in the store. Isn’t that needed to load Serve in Family Dollar? The guy appeared to know what he was talking about. Has anyone else had this experience?

MileHighBug
Guest

You need to find the cardboard Vanilla Reload gift card in the store, not a One Vanilla. They have to scan it. Then you swipe your Serve card. Then they enter the amount. They you scan the card you want to pay with – you can use a One Vanilla Visa, or any other Visa debit card I believe, although I’ve only used One Vanillas.

If they do not have Vanilla Reload cards, there is a stack of cards on a metal ring behind the register, and one of the cards on it is a Vanilla Reload. I have told cashiers this in the past and asked them to pull out the ring of cards, and I have actually looked through it for them when they can’t find it.

Eric
Guest
Eric

There was no cardboard Vanilla Reload gift card. That’s what I meant that I looked for before going to the register. There is one other Family Dollar in my area. This guy claimed that they don’t allow Serve loads either. I will probably try there later this week to see for myself. In case it does work I have read that you can only load $500 each day at Family Dollar. Is that correct?

KBO
Guest

I’ve read the blog and post, but I want to make sure I have this right before I get in hot water.

1. Apply for desired credit card with a good sign up bonus
2. Buy a Serve Card from Family Dollar
3. Purchase AMEX gift cards using the credit card I got
4. Use the AMEX gift cards to purchase $500 Visa Gift Cards at grocery stores or Family Dollar
5. Use the Visa Gift Cards to load my Serve Card at Family Dollar or WalMart
6. Use the money loaded on my Serve card to pay off the original credit card

Yes?

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Help! I just bought gift cards from Staples.com ($200 variety) and I am trying to load them into my Bluebird account online. I keep getting an error “CARD ISSUER DECLINE TRANSACTION CODE”. Are there any tricks to making them work? I could have sworn Staples.com gift cards were supposed to work.

RS_WI
Guest
RS_WI

Can’t load Staples giftcards to Bluebird online. MUST be done physically at a WalMart.

Did you get your PIN for the gift card in the mail yet. Make sure you have that first.

Much, much more research and digesting the learning would be beneficial before you run up more bills.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Thank you! I thought I had read enough to do this no problem. Still got lots to learn!

RS_WI
Guest
RS_WI

We all do! It’s an ever-changing game.

Good luck!

Eric
Guest
Eric

Earlier today I went to Walmart and attempted to load my Serve. Unfortunately the cashier that I went to didn’t understand English and/or was very stupid as she couldn’t understand my simple request to “load my prepaid card”. She kept on asking if I wanted to “make a purchase”. The manager on the floor must have seen her struggling so she came over. The manager did it without a problem. I went to a different cashier several feet away to try to load again. The same manager stopped her and told me that I couldn’t load as there was a limit of loading once per day. Has anyone had this happen? If this is not really the policy (99% chance), what should I have done in this situation?

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

New to this whole concept and ready to try it–

If I get the Bluebird card and then buy the Visa gift cards from Staples (Metabank), as of July 16, 2015, is it still possible to relaod the Bluebird card using the Visa GC using a PIN? If so, specifically, where and how?

Thanks

trackback

[…] Guide to Bluebird, REDcard, and Serve […]

Jun
Guest
Jun

I couldn’t reload serve at family dollar today. anybody has the same issue?

Dan
Guest
Dan

Couldn’t reload because of a cashier’s refusal, or because of a machine problem, or something else? What were you using to reload?

Najib
Guest
Najib

There are two types of Serve cards…….the American Express Serve card and the American Express Serve FREE Reloads. which one should i get?

trackback

[…] Guide to Bluebird, REDcard, and Serve […]

P Martin
Guest
P Martin

Can you swipe any of these cards at the gas pump?

Can you use these to rent cars?

Sherry
Guest
Sherry

I see that all these cards have a $5K/month loading limit. Is there also a daily loading amount limit on any of them? thank you

Eric
Guest
Eric

Yes, the daily limit is $2500.

George
Guest
George

To clarify the rewards/point part with Serv, if I load this up to the $1,000 using my American Express Jet Blue card I will NOT earn points as I do on my other purchases?

This would be my only motivation to use it and pay other bills through Serv that I can’t pay now on my AMEX- like auto payments and other parties that do not accept credit card or AMEX as a form of payment.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I’ve been told a few times about a “velocity limit” related to loading Serve at Family Dollar. Does anyone know exactly how much the limit is?

totoro
Guest
totoro

I tried load my Redcard with Vanilla Visa GC at target but was told it was no longer accepted….

Unclesam
Guest
Unclesam

Does Red Card have a mobile App just like Bluebird and Serve? Also any indication if Red Card will be eligible for Amex Sync and Small Business Saturday this year.

Eric
Guest
Eric

At Family Dollar I tried to load my Serve with a Vanilla gift card. I received the error message “Card Acceptor Contact Acquirer”. I looked it up on Bing and found that it means that the bank declined the transaction. When I got home I called to confirm the balance was still there and a recording said that the systems were down. Could this be why it was declined or do Vanilla gift cards no longer work?

trackback

[…] 红鸟 (Target Prepaid REDCard),服务鸟 (Serve) 和蓝鸟 (BlueBird) 都是 American Express 出的 Reloadable Prepaid Card。这三种产品只能选择其一来使用。他们的共同特点是可以在特定商户使用 VGC/MGC 往里充钱,然后还可以通过 Bill Pay 的方式往你的信用卡里还款或者付房租等没法用信用卡支付的大额消费。一个非常主要的区别是,红鸟是在 Target 充值的,服务鸟和蓝鸟是在 Wal-mart 充值的。关于这三者的比较,Frequent Miler 有一篇很好的总结文。其他一些我认为比较好的相关详细介绍: […]

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Thank you for this guide. I did MS for all of 1 transaction back in 2014 (buy VR from CVS and load online to BB) before CVS pulled the plug. I see now that there are no more VR cards period, so this is a lot more involved than it used to be.

Is there anywhere that allows online reloads to be purchased with a credit card so as to avoid a trip to Walmart? If so, which Vanilla reload pack works with BB/Serve? My CVS no longer has the giant signs saying cash only.

Also, does Dollar Tree allow reloads since there is a merger with Family Dollar going on or already completed?

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

So then the reason this isn’t discussed anymore is that nowhere accepts credit cards for them? I used to see the cash only signs everywhere, but I don’t anymore, so I’m wondering if there is any wiggle room on this issue. It would be easier to make 1 trip instead of 2.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Confused about this. So what gift cards will work to reload bluebird?

hooligan
Guest
hooligan

Can i load my bluebird with my credit card

Tom
Guest
Tom

Hoping for some help here because I’m getting no love from AE customer service. Main issue with my Serve (color blue) card is that when at Kiosk I get to the point where I enter amount, swipe Serve card….authorization in progress..then machine just says Thank you. No option to swipe VGC or load cash…nothing.
When I go to cashier and they do a action 70, they only see two options..1. Cash out. 2. Balance Inquiry. No reload option.
AE Cust service there is nothing wrong with card. Walmart (I’ve been to 5 different ones) says there is no option on their screen to reload. Not even cash.
Anyone experience same issues?

Najib
Guest
Najib

Same issue happened to me. I had to go to family dollar to load my serve and that worked.

dan
Guest
dan

I’ve had this issue. Went to walmart, swiped my Serve, they spit out a balance, end transaction. No details, nothing on if I can reload.

NoonRadar
Guest

Any updates on these KATE issues from any of you who have working Walmart Money Centers nearby?

Tom
Guest
Tom

I believe I read in a blog that others had similar issues with the Blue version of Serve, so I cancelled that account and applied for a One VIP version. I’ll see how I get on with that card.

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

No issues for me. I use a Wal-Mart just south of Metro Atlanta.

ted
Guest
ted

Yeah, this happened to me yesterday. There were only 2 options- Balance Inquiry and Cash out.
I believe the reason for this is the Amex Serve (Blue) card cannot be reloaded at Walmart. If you read carefully, you will find it mentioned in the blog posts (on this site too, somewhere…)

Tom
Guest
Tom

OK, cancelled my blue serve and received my new One VIP Serve card in mail. Went back to Walmart kiosk and got a little further. After entering the amount I want to load, it asked my to swipe my debit card (my Visa GC and not Vanilla), then enter my PIN (last 4 of the CC I used to purchase GC), then denied. Reason: Tender not accepted. Guess I’ll just stick to loading 1K a month from my AE CC…until AE wises up and deems any money loads to Serve do not count towards min spend requirement…which I’m sure is coming.

ruby johnson
Guest
ruby johnson

do u have to register this card i just want it to do online shopping mainly

Terry
Guest
Terry

I see in the “How to Save Money” chart above, it indicates that Serve is eligible for Amex offers.

I tried to register my Serve card on my Amex account – in other words, add it to the list of cards and the system would not take it – I got a message that it was not an eligible card or something like that.

Anyone know what’s up with that? THanks

Danny
Guest
Danny

I’m new at starting the MS. The whole goal is to earn points. I was planning to go to Staples to buy gift cards, get a 5x Chase Ink Ultimate points, and then load a Bluebird or Serve card. So again which one or am I missing some feature? I’m still confused?

Why would I care about loading the serve card from a Green or Platinum Amex if I’m never getting points from Amex? By accident I just ordered a serve for my wife and I bought a bluebird for me. So I didn’t know if I should just cancel the serve and then get a bluebird for her.

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

Anyone know if Family Dollar still accepts Vanilla Gift Cards for Serve reloads?

NoonRadar
Guest

Brad, yes, Vanillas work at Family Dollar.

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

Thanks. I’ve been using the Wal-Mart money center kiosk so this will be a new experience for me.

Vegas_Squash_Buckle
Guest
Vegas_Squash_Buckle

Can a 2nd Party deposit $ on the card? Don’t have a bank account cause of old spending habits, but I need a way to get my inheritance in installments once a month from my trust instead of possibly losing a check in the mail.Thank you.

NoonRadar
Guest

Another (quicker) way is to send the money is via email, but the other party would also have to have one of the three prepaid Amex accounts. For instance if you have Serve and I have Redbird/Bluebird, we can send each-other money, up to $2.5K/month. This works the same whether both parties have the same type of prepaid Amex acct or not.

SurfTracker
Guest
SurfTracker

I bought several Visa gift cards today, changed the PIN, and headed over to my local Target to load them as debit cards onto my PrePaid Target Redcard. Two customer service cashiers tried to help on two different machines, but the transaction was rejected each time they tried. I called the customer service line on the back of the card and was told that only bank-issued debit cards are allowed for loading funds onto PrePaid Redcard. Has anyone else had trouble recently? I’ve done this successfully for several months without trouble. Thanks!

NoonRadar
Guest

Redbird cust service reads off a script in such questions, so just ignore that…tens of thousands of people loading Redbird with non-banked issues gift cards proves that.

In such cases first call the nr on the back of the gift card to make sure the balance is there (you should also be able to see this on their website), if it is that means the issue is with the debit function of it only, or with an error on their network or Redbird’s network (most often is with the gift card).

If the balance is there, try resetting the pin and give it another try another day (to rule out electronic network issues).

Also, make sure you’re not exceeding the Redbird limits.

trackback

[…] Complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, and Serve […]

Will
Guest
Will

Can anyone confirm that the daily limit for Family Dollar is still only $500. Is it per person or per store?

NoonRadar
Guest

Will, recent reports on FT indicate that this is not a hard coded limit; for instance several people report being able to load more than $500/day at the same Family Dollar store, most during separate visits.

It seems from the same reports that FD management/cashiers are more prone to limitations and less able to fix issues (on refunds to gift cards during issues).

Jason
Guest
Jason

I can confirm that only one card can be used. The second card is now charged with a Total Holds/Preauths. It is a huge hassle and not worth trying. Just wait a day to do it.

Ken
Guest
Ken

Hi,

I activated my Serve One Vip card today and was able to link a checking account. However, when I tried to link my Fidelity Investment Rewards AmEx card, I got a generic error message “Something went wrong….”. I was going to call Serve customer service, but want to know if there special technique or workaround. Thanks.

Ken

Derek
Guest
Derek

sub

Eric
Guest
Eric

I bought $600 of Visa gc today. The cashier (after someone told her to) asked to know what I was planning to do with these. She claimed it was required to ask for “large” purchases. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

HC
Guest
HC

Is there any extra requirement for Serve One VIP? Cuz this one seems to be better over other three.

NoonRadar
Guest

Not really. Here’s the breakdown of all of the different types of new Serve cards: https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/american-express-serve-types-guide/

HC
Guest
HC

Well I have got an old Serve, is it okay if I buy VGC using credit card A and use Serve bill pay to pay my credit card B? I heard it is risky if just withdraw the money and deposit into checking account…
What if I bill pay somebody and let him transfer money directly into my checking?

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

Here’s what I’ve been doing: I’ll buy a VGC with Card A and pay Card A off with my bank account.

Then I’ll transfer that VGC to Serve and use Serve to pay all OTHER cards, but I don’t think I’d ever pay Card A off with the Serve account.

HC
Guest
HC

That’s exactly what I am thinking about.. Cuz I am not sure if it may cause the close of Serve account if I purchased with card A and pay the same card using Serve.. Btw, among RiteAid, Walgreen and Hannaford, which one still accepts credit card purchasing VGC with cash back?

Eric
Guest
Eric

How would Serve know that you used that credit card to purchase a Visa gc?

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

Walgreens is a no-go on credit cars for VGC, someone mentioned that Rite Aid allowed ApplePay for a VGC, so Rite-Aid should be good, and Hannaford I’ve never heard of.

Victor
Guest
Victor

Brad,
I have bought a couple of VGCs at my local Walgreens (Northern VA / DC Metro Area) using Google Wallet / Android Pay in the last week or so.

NoonRadar
Guest

I’m not sure how the idea of “don’t do closed loop” started. Closed loop in this context would be: Use credit card A to buy gift cards, load the gift cards to Redbird 1 then use Redbird 1 to pay the bill of credit card A via its billpay feature. I followed the advise when I just started to MS (less then a year ago), it made sense to me at first, then as I started to get more into MS it didn’t make as much sense, plus there were extra steps, so I started to ask on blogs for data points of people getting in trouble for doing closed loop, and didn’t find any. So I stopped following that advise and haven’t gotten in trouble.

I only MS with Redbird (well Redbirds) and liquidate most funds via billpay, without regard as to whether I’m doing closed loop or not. I’ve done this for many months with no issues from Redbird/Amex or the credit cards. I doubt this would be different for Serve and Bluebird, since they are all prepaid Amex products.

On the other hand I’ve rarely down withdrawals to my checking acct from Redbird, only a couple of times and only to the Redbird that is on my name (as is the checking account). I do some cash withdrawals for pocket change here and there, from all Redbirds I use, but not in large amounts, usually a couple of hundreds or so, also not frequently.

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

Thanks for those tips.

Eric
Guest
Eric

The only problem could occur if you use Serve to pay the credit card you used to do an online load ($1K per month) to Serve. Paying any other credit card shouldn’t cause any problems.

John
Guest
John

Always did close loop with Redbird by withdrawing to checking account, never had a problem 🙂

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

I thought that the ability to do this was sort of dying out… is it still available? There is no in-store Kiosk in my local Wal-Mart, and no target in town… Loading online would be idea but it’s a shame Serve only allows this with AmEx. Are there really pin giftcard options that will still allow me to do Bluebird if I’m just getting into this? I thought there was talk of being limited to smaller quantities (under $50) now… Just trying to figure out how to do this and not get stuck with gift cards I’m unable to spend to pay my bills…

NoonRadar
Guest

The under $50 is for Vanilla type gift cards at Walmart, it won’t process anything over $49.

If you have a Family Dollar in your area, you can load Serve there too, and there you can use Vanillas also.

As to loading online with gift cards, unlikely it would work, def not for a long time.

trackback

[…] this gem: http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.co…and-softserve/ I might get Serve over […]

trackback

[…] might go for Serve and the One VIP serve for that matter. These sites are helpful: – http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.co…and-softserve/ – […]

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

Thank you very much NoonRadar. What would the limit be at Family Dollarl?

trackback

[…] Complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, and Serve […]

trackback

[…] Complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, and Serve […]

namdeerf
Guest
namdeerf

my serve card (softcard) version is still allowing me to load 1500 a month with my chase visa) apparently there’s some grandfathering.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Will I earn rewards if I set a credit card as my backup funding source on a serve? Example: pay my $16k property taxes with serve, pay $3.95 debit card processing from tax collector, and earn 2% on fidelity Amex. Easy $316?

Victor
Guest
Victor

Daniel,
You got me excited about that for a moment but then I realized that the Serve (and BlueBird and Redcard) cannot be used as a debit card. I am quite sure that if you need to use a Serve card number to pay or to swipe it to pay, it is practically a credit card transaction, not a debit card one. These do work as a debit card when withdrawing money from an ATM.

Andrei
Guest
Andrei

I had had blubird and serve, and I have redcard now. Can I reopen serve after closing redcard?

HC
Guest
HC

How can you have all of them at the same time?

NoonRadar
Guest

Yes you can.

@HC, it is one prepaid Amex account per SSN/person. Some of us use more then one due to having them registered under family/friends names and use them with their permission.

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

Am I understanding correctly that you can load with a Reloadit or MoneyPak “online” 5k per month?

RS_WI
Guest
RS_WI

Can anyone confirm if you do/do not receive points rewards for loading Serve with USB FlexPerks *Amex*?

TIA

Dan
Guest
Dan

And Moneypak? Vanilla reload?

John K
Guest

I recently got a report from a friend that when they went to their local FD the other day to load a VV onto their serve card, that the $3.95 fee wasn’t waived as usual. They left, figuring it was an employee error. They came back and tried the next day with a different employee and the same thing happened. They tried running the transaction and the fee did not drop off, so the card was declined ($503.95 on a $500 GC). Eventually, they loaded $496.05 and it went through and pulled the full $500 off the card. Checked the relevant thread on FT this morning and found another person reporting the same issue. Anyone else having issues at this time?

trackback

[…] ended, particularly by well-known bloggers such as by The Frequent Miler, who explains in his blog post the differences between Amex’s prepaid card products. In case you missed out on the news because […]

Eric
Guest
Eric

Curious,

I told her that I would probably use them for purchases which was true. Were you asked this too?

trackback

[…] Complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, and Serve […]

SK
Guest
SK

I had a question about loading $1,000 per month on Serve using another AMEX credit card. If I do that, does the AMEX credit card not charge me cash advance fee (which can be up to 3% subject to a minimum of up to $10)?

Thanks in advance from those who have done it before!

SK

Tina
Guest
Tina

Be careful with this card. I had a Serve account for about 3 years. On Thursday, 11/12 I received 2 emails from Amex Serve telling me that my account had been locked due to possible fraud. I called as soon as I saw the emails, about 7:00pm. Since then I have called 10 times…a combination of customer service and fraud protection. I cannot speak to a supervisor. A supervisor was supposed to call within 48 hours. To date (Sunday night, 11/15) no one has called. No one can tell me why it was closed. I have no idea if someone used my card fraudulently. I can’t access my account. I have no idea if or when I am getting my money back (there was about $900 on the card). I have tweeted. I have called the executive offices. No one is willing to help.

JO
Guest
JO

I bought an American Express bluebird temporary card at Walmart and loaded $20 on to it, as I tried to make a purchase online it said that my card was unauthorized. Can anyone help with this.

John
Guest
John

You have wait for the hard card to do online.purchases. It happen to me.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Hello. Anybody know of an issue going on with trying to load the Serve (ONE Vip) card at Walmart? I tried two different Visa Gift Cards at two different Walmarts in our town, and when I tried loading it from a cashiers station, I see a Approval message on my screen (where I swipe and enter a pin), but quickly there is a print out from the cashier that says ‘Debit Not Approved Call Authorizer’. I just bought the Gift Cards at Staples today.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Actually.. after alittle more looking around.. I recognized that message from another post, but it related to maximum load for the month… In looking back in my account, I see that I have already loaded $5000, so that is where the message is coming from. So I guess I will wait until months end and give it another try.. thanks!

Mark
Guest
Mark

I am new to MS and want to make sure I am doing it right. I can get a $200-$300 Mastercard (metabank issued) and go to walmart. Swipe my one vip serve card and then tell the cashier that I want to load it with a debit card, then swipe the MC gift card, use the last 4 digits as pin. Is this all correct? Where does the “press the back button” come into play? Thanks everyone!

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

Cam I get 2 cards for 1 account?

NoonRadar
Guest

Yes, you can get more cards as authorized users. Authorized users can spend the money but can’t load it to the account, and they use the same limit/balance as the primary account holder.

Bhaskar
Guest
Bhaskar

Hi… I went and tried the vanilla card reload at a family dollar to a serve-

1st recharge for 500 – Success
2nd recharge for 499.99 – Came up as suspected fraud and the receipt has approved on bottom and has suspected fraud on top. The money was debited and the store guys knew nothing and they could not do anything. I called vanilla and they said i need to wait 7 days and see. But is this something you guys have heard of and what should i do in this case.

Bhaskar
Guest
Bhaskar

To add.. The funds for second transaction was not credited to my serve. Also.. i asked family dollar to reverse the charge and they pointed the fact that the receipt shows non refundable.

Eric Moore
Guest
Eric Moore

Hi. Need some info on something with my Serve card. I have been under the impression that I can reload my Serve card for FREE at Family Dollar. Well, it turned out that it cost me $3.95 for a Vanilla Reload card. How can it be marketed that Family Dollar has free reloads but doesn’t seem to be the case.

Any info would be great!

RS_WI
Guest
RS_WI

Consider that the newbie tax….

Free reloads don’t involve Vanilla reload cards purchases. You use other-funded debit cards. Still costs money.

Howeve, If your FD sells Vanila Reloads, and you can pay with a CC, you just found MS nirvana.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Hi. I recently loaded money, (cash) on my Serve card at Family Dollar. I was under the impression it was FREE to load money on the Serve card at Family Dollar. The cashier scanned a Vanilla reload card which cost me $3.95

Did I do something wrong or did I get screwed over by being charged?

Chelsey
Guest
Chelsey

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

Eric
Guest
Eric

Thanks for the replies. I had no idea there were other versions of the Serve card. I have the New Blue version which doesn’t have free reloads, great!

With already having a Serve account, can I apply or transfer to another version of Serve? The One VIP seems attractive…

Thanks

Suzzanne
Guest
Suzzanne

Does the Chase debit card that is connected to my bank account earn UR points for loads to Serve?

Lisa C.
Guest

American Express Serve has shutdown the ability to add funds via any type of gift card.

“Debit/American Express® Credit Card — add money from your debit or credit card (cash advance fees may apply for credit card loads; check with your credit card issuer for details). Please note: Gift cards cannot be used to add money.”

Erin
Guest
Erin

If I don’t plan on doing manufactured spending on a regular basis, am I right in assuming that Bluebird is a better option for me since there are no monthly fees?

Roy
Guest
Roy

I am curious. If I were to load $1k on via my PayPal Business debit to earn 1%, could I then go in the store and load another $1k via PPBD and earn 1%?

allen
Guest
allen

I dont understand the benefit of manufacturing points. In order to get points on your credit card and put money into cards like Serve, the main option seems to be to buy prepaid cards. but they cost money (6.95 for $200) and by the time you purchased enough cards for points for a flight, you basically have paid the same amount or close to it in those additional fees.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Long time reader here. I was currently using the RedCard to pay my mortgage and HOA fees which summed up to about $1900. I was purchasing with my Ink Plus at Staples and buying the $200 Visa Gift Cards and taking the $6.95 hit (blue ones are Metabank right?). If I understand this correctly, Amex Serve has Bill Pay, so I can basically do what I was doing before which the minor tweak that I’d be loading at Wal Mart Money Centers correct?

David
Guest
David

Can Bluebird be loaded with Amex gift cards? Amex is currently offering fee free gift card purchase with Amex cards..

Brad Meyer
Guest
Brad Meyer

No. 🙁

Eric Moore
Guest
Eric Moore

With regards to Chelsey’s comments on December 7 about Account holders who have registered their accounts before Auguest 5, 2015 having Access to the Free Cash Reload Network, does anyone have any further info on this?

I have the Blue Serve card and I am just confused about Free Cash Reloads. I see advertisements for it in the Serve app etc. I did register my account before August 5, 2015

I’m a bit disappointed in all the recent changes with Serve.

Thanks

Dhianna
Guest
Dhianna

Bluebird was giving me back a certain percent on purchases. I have noticed that I am not getting these any more. Does anyone know anything about this? TIA

Kimo
Guest
Kimo

Great info but have a question.
I am about $8k short of Amex sky miles spending this year from getting a MQM bonus. The bluebird and serve seem to have low monthly limits for loading via debt cards any ideas for a one time fix? Thank you

Ruby
Guest
Ruby

Thank you for all your wonderful tips and guides.I went to FD to load 4 $100 gc yesterday. 3 were declined. Manager said a person went in before me to load $1000. FD is far from home. Thank you for updating this article. I went to rite aid in my neighborhood today and successful ly loaded the remaining 3 cards. I wonder except people like us, who would load $1000. Who are amex’s customers?

Hua
Guest
Hua

Happy Holidays, y’all!

Loaded $2500 in VGCs to Serve One VIP yesterday at Walmart via Kate… went back today to load $2500 more. Getting “DEBIT NOT APPROVED” from Kate and cashier. Anyone experiencing the same thing?

Brian
Guest
Brian

I got the same error just yesterday. It looks like my Walmart made some change so that debit is no longer allowed for large loads at kiosk or cashier. I DID, however, have success liquidating my Vanilla VGC at the kiosk in increments of $49.99. Fifty dollars must be the cut off for the new restriction.

Sucks to basically have to do the kiosk process TEN TIMES for a $500 Vanilla card, but at least it still works.

Source:http://tightwadtravelers.com/liquidate-visa-gift-cards/

trackback

[…] Complete guide to Bluebird and Serve […]

Phaeon
Guest
Phaeon

Any body try to load serve with CITI Thank you preferred? Is it counted as cash advance?

David
Guest
David

How many times can I reload a temporary Bluebird card? Is it only once?

David
Guest
David

Can the temporary Bluebird card be purchased and loaded with a single Visa Gift Card (Debit card by Metabank purchased from Staples)? or by multiple Visa Gift Cards to have the initial load up to the $500 max limit?

trackback

[…] Complete guide to Bluebird and Serve […]

ak
Guest
ak

I had problems loading a serve card (switched from target prepaid red card in December 2015) with vanilla prepaid debit card today (Jan 5, 2016) at rite aid. Anyone else have any problems recently? Hopefully just a glitch.

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

I loaded a couple this past weekend

ak
Guest
ak

Thanks, I’ll try another rite aid on the way home.

Josh
Guest
Josh

I had the same issue today, ak.

1st time I’ve had it – Rite Aid wanted to charge $3.95 for the reload… I didn’t push…

Justin
Guest
Justin

This may be an easy question: if I have a Bluebird Family Account with 2 cards, does each card have the monthly $5000 limit, or is the entire “family unit” limited to $5000 total?

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

Bizarre feature at Rite Aid is the screen has “Free Serve Reloads” and “Serve Reloads” further down the menu. If you take the free option it is free. If you take the option further down is comes up with a $3.95 fee…….you have to tell the cashier to cancel and start over and pick the right option……….

Brian
Guest
Brian

I’ve been enjoying success with loading my OneVanilla prepaid cards onto my Serve card at Family Dollar. The $500/day limit is annoying, but it’s the best option I have at the moment.

My method at Family Dollar is the standard one, I think: bring the Vanilla Reload card (the one that’s not supposed to leave the store) up to the register, then swipe my Serve card followed by my OneVanilla card. The Vanilla Reload card says there’s the $3.95 reload fee, but I’m never charged that fee. I just ask for $500 to be loaded to Serve, and the entire amount goes through just fine.

Just curious: what would I have to do “wrong” or different to get charged that $3.95 reload fee?

ATAOTW
Guest
ATAOTW

Are there certain VGCs that cannot be used at Wal-Mart? Read that some could and some could not… Tried today using a PIN enabled one, it didn’t work. Any other suggestions? I do have a Serve. But can I use a CC to load the pre-paid Vanilla Visa Debit? Thought it said it had to be loaded with cash only.

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

Completely new to Serve but have the registered green Serve card now and no fees in TX.
I am planning on purchasing Staples Visa Cards–$300 in store and get $20 Visa rewards card so it would be Free.

What is the easiest store to load at? FD? CVS or Walmart?

Do I do it as a Debit and do I just hand them the Serve card and tell them I want to load $300 on it? Then slide the Visa GC and choose pay with debit?

Hoping for an answer tomorrow morning before I head out to make my purchases.

Craig
Guest
Craig

I just got an email from Amex that my Serve card was terminated due to unusual usage patterns. I burned off 5K in VGC at Walmart 49.99 at a time so that might have been it, but it’s something to watch for. Luckily I don’t have any extra gift cards right now and we still have my wife’s Serve account.

Charlie
Guest
Charlie

I just received the same email from American Express regarding my Bluebird account being closed for unusual activity. I have been loading $5000 per month at Walmart for a while now in $500 increments. I guess all good things come to an end…

cs
Guest
cs

I havent received a notice about closure today… although I dont load $5000 a month on our cards… I just started learning how to MS. I have been loading $2000 on both cards though.. maybe they are closing those that max out the monthly spend (?) I will keep and eye on it and see what happens.

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

I have $200, and 2 $100 visa prepaid cards can I tell the cashier at FD that I want to load $400 on my serve card or should I do 3 different transactions? I loaded cards yesterday for the first time and I did them in 3 different transactions.

fabre
Guest
fabre

Hi,

I’m new to this field. I need to meet minimum spending limit of $5000. Which is the best way at this moment? I tried to read a lots of forums and blogs but couldn’t get the information.

Thanks

BothofUs2
Guest
BothofUs2

Spouse still has a Redbird, didn’t convert that. Thinking about converting it to BB and loading the last $1k of Staples GC’s I have from the past few weeks. Would be interesting to see if conversion possible and if letter gets generated for that

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

I just converted my Staples rebates to Visa cards at Staples –purchase $300 and get a $20 rebate so it will be a small MM after fees but it did allow me to convert $900 and I loaded $500 on Thursday to Serve and then loaded another $400 today to Serve. I just opened up the account so I don’t think they will shut me down before I get all of my loads on it. I have $3400 coming in Visa (pin) rebate cards from LG so will load them spreading it out over a few months and then use it for very small transactions in stores to make it look good. I already did one bill pay for a partial on property taxes so will see how that goes.