I received an email today. It is from American Express Serve.
We are writing to inform you of a change to the terms and conditions of your American Express Serve® Account. Please review the change below:
Beginning February 1, 2015, MoneyPak® will no longer be available for purchase. Beginning April 1, 2015, Vanilla® Reload PIN will no longer be available to purchase. However, you can still easily add cash* to your Serve® Account directly at the register using Vanilla® Reload Swipe Load.
You can still add money to your account in many other convenient ways including Direct Deposit and free cash reloads at the register at 27,000 CVS/pharmacy®, Family Dollar®, Walmart® and participating 7-ELEVEN® locations. Click here to learn more.
You can review this change in the Consumer User Agreement here.
The American Express Serve Team
MoneyPak and Vanilla Reload PIN are reload packs. You purchase and add money to them at stores. And then you can reload your prepaid cards online. These products have existed for a long time, and they are also well-known that they are used for frauds and scams by crooks, especially MoneyPak. I believe they will stop selling their products due to such activities by crooks, not manufactured spending.
These changes won’t be any impact on me because I simply don’t buy them. Since they charge lower fees than Visa/MasterCard/AmEx GCs do, they are better items for MS. But I just can’t find stores that allow to use credit cards for purchases. Besides, I will close Serve account in a few days in order to register Redbird.
As the email says, it seems that you can still add money by using Vanilla Reload Swipe Load even after April 1, 2015. As far as I know, a store that currently use VR Swipe Load is Family Dollar. They don’t sell VR PIN since they started using VR Swipe Load. The question is “Will the stores currently selling VR PIN be using VR Swipe Load after or by April 1, 2015?”
And the point is that whether stores will allow to use debit cards for reloads or not. I have visited 8 Family Dollar stores in my neighborhood and tried to use Visa GCs for reloading Serve. Half of them allowed, and the other half refused and said “Cash Only.” From this example, when other stores start using VR Swipe Load, you will need to make sure if your local stores allow to swipe not only cards to be loaded, but also cards to pay.
However, I don’t really care now. Again, I will close Serve and open Redbird soon. Redbird can be reloaded only at Target stores. My last transaction of Serve (withdrawing the remaining balance to my bank account) was completed. But I don’t see the same transaction in my bank account yet. Just in case, I will wait until this transaction shows up in my bank account.