American Express Serve Reviews

American Express Serve is Reloadable Prepaid card that has exclusive features. By using full of these features, you can save money when shopping and use it for manufactured spending. First off, these are some unique features for loading Serve.

Load with Credit Card

You can load Serve with your credit card. It can only be done online. First, you have to choose a credit card and link to your Serve account. You can link only one credit card. You can change credit cards, but you need to remove the current card and then link another card. The limit is $200 a day, $1000 a month.

Load with Debit Card

The rule is the same as credit card’s. Only one debit card can link to Serve account and limit $200 a day, $1000 a month. If you have a point earning debit card, use it. As for me, I have PayPal Business Debit MasterCard that offer unlimited 1% cash back on purchases. Every month, I earn $10 cash back by loading $1000 to Serve with PayPal debit card.

Load with Visa/MasterCard Gift Card

Visa/MasterCard gift cards have a feature of debit card. You can load Serve with debit cards at Walmart ATM. As long as gift cards have PIN, you can use them at Walmart ATM for loading Serve. Limit is $1000 a day. I’m not sure about monthly limit, but combined with all types of loads should be less than $10,000. You can consolidate all Visa/MasterCard gift cards you purchase at the time of promotions, to meet requirement of sign-up bonus, etc. I can use my PayPal debit card for loading at Walmart, but PayPal doesn’t offer cash back for PIN purchase (transaction as a debit card). So, there is no meaning to use regular debit cards for loading at Walmart ATM.

These are not all the ways to load Serve, but the useful ways for manufactured spending. Once you load Serve, you have many ways to unload it.

Transfer to your bank account

With your bank account linked to Serve, you can transfer money between them. It is not only adding money to Serve, but also withdraw money from Serve to your bank account.

Pay Bills

You can pay bills of your credit cards linked to Serve account, used for purchase of Visa/MasterCard GCs, etc.

Please note that you should avoid unloading right after you load Serve. American Express may close your account if the transactions obviously show that you use Serve for manufactured spending. For example, load $1000 with a credit card and then pay exact $1000 credit card’s bill. Leave the money in Serve account for a while then unload it. More favorably, you should use some money in the account for regular purchases. Unlike reward credit cards, you can’t earn cash back or travel points through regular purchases, but Serve can sync with Amex Offer.

Save Money by Amex Offer

Serve is an eligible to sync with Amex Offer, and BlueBird is not. BlueBird is another American Express reloadable prepaid card, which has very similar features of Serve. You can’t have both of them. You have to choose one between them. If you change your mind, you can switch them, but you need to close the current account and then open another. I chose Serve over BlueBird because of Amex Offer. You can earn statement credit by using the card at certain stores. For example:

Get a one-time $10 statement credit by using your connected Card to spend a total of $50 or more in-store and online at The Sports Authority by 8/31/2014

There are always many offers, and new offers frequently keep adding. If you are not interested in any items in the store, but they sell other store’s gift card, buy a gift card to get statement credit.

About Fees

There is no fee when you do anything described above. They charge $1 as monthly maintenance fee, but you can waive the fee by loading $500 or more. So, I believe that no one is ever worried about it.


American Express Serve is a must for manufactured spending. Online load with credit and debit cards are very convenient. Plus, loading with Visa/MasterCard GCs at Walmart ATM makes it possible to create more manufactured spending. Amex Offer helps you unload Serve and makes it less obvious what you are doing (using for manufactured spending) and gives you savings at the same time.

The features on this post are key features that I think it is useful and important. Of course, there are more features that is general or may be useful to you. Please visit for full information.

Visa GCs issued by Bancorp Declined by Walmart MoneyCenter Express

On June 29th 2014, I went to Walmart MoneyCenter Express (ATM) to reload Serve with the following four gift cards:

  • (1) $500 Visa GC issued by MetaBank, I bought at a grocery store
  • (2) $200 MasterCard GCs issued by U.S. Bank, I bought at Staples
  • (1) $100 Target Visa GC issued by Bancorp, I bought at

walmart declined target visa gcExcept for a Target Visa GC, the others were successful to reload Serve. I tried twice and also tried to reload another card (Walmart MoneyCard Preferred) with Target Visa GC, but all attempts failed. ATM seemed to recognize the card as a debit card and even prompted me to enter PIN. But, they declined the transaction in the end.

At first, I thought it was a temporary problem. It did happen to me before. A Visa GC had declined one day, but the same GC accepted on the other day. However, after I went home and searched about this on the internet, and I saw the websites here and there. It seems Walmart started being picky on types of debit card for reloading BlueBird/Serve/Walmart MoneyCard.

According to the websites, Vanilla Visa GC and OneVanilla Visa GC are no longer accepted at Walmart ATM. Both GCs are issued by Bankcorp, which also issues Target Visa GCs. Many people experienced the same problem, so probably, these GCs are no longer available for Walmart Swipe Reload.

When I go to Walmart next time, I will give it another try.

Fee or Error? Being Charged $3.95 on Every Walmart Swipe Reload

On June 15th, 2014, I reloaded my Serve with 3 Visa gift cards at Walmart. I have been doing many times, and it seemed there was no problem to complete 3 reloads. The receipts show the exact amount I loaded. At a glance of them, I couldn’t see any problem, but when I logged in Serve account and saw the transaction history, I noticed there was something wrong. The amount of each reload is $3.95 less. I checked the receipts carefully. Although the amount of the debit load is correct, the beginning balance and the ending balance don’t match each other. The beginning balance on all three receipts is somehow $3.95 less.

serve 3.95 glitch

As soon as I got home, I searched on the internet. Instantly, it was a hit. There were many people experiencing the same problem. Something in common was that they happened recently and only to Serve, not BlueBird. In terms of time and place, it probably happened at random.

Someone’s post on flyertalk forum says “It was probably a glitch only affecting on Serve. Wait for the next few days to see if it is just a glitch or a new policy.” I was convinced by this post, and I just waited.

I have been waiting for a few days, but there is no change in my Serve account. I went back to the forum and continued to read pages. On page 5, I found the resolution. I should have read this page on the first day. It had been already resolved 4 days before.

There is a link in the forum and visited blog post. As it says, I called the number on the back of the card and spoke to an account manager. In a few minutes, $3.95 x 3 was credited to my Serve account. It shows up as Good Faith Credit.

serve glitch credited

If you recently reload your Serve at Walmart, you should double check if there is a hidden deduction of $3.95 for each reload.