Which American Express Serve card is right for you?
Choose from three American Express prepaid cards: a basic card, a card with free reloads or another with cash back.
American Express Serve is a prepaid debit card that offers the convenience of Amex without monthly billing statements or overdraft charges. There are three Amex Serve cards to choose from — each with varying monthly fees, reload options and benefits to suit your individual needs.
- Get this card if… you want a prepaid debit card with helpful features and no fees.
- Pick something else if… you’re looking for a traditional credit or debit card.
- These are prepaid cards, so all credit scores are welcome.
Monthly maintenance fee
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Expert reviewAmerican Express Serve cards are best for anyone who wants the benefits of American Express without having to apply for a traditional credit card or worry about racking up interest charges. You get to choose between three card options — a basic card with a waivable monthly fee, a card with free cash reloads and a card that earns 1% cash back — so you can find one that has the benefits you’re after.
Most prepaid cards don’t come with free reloads or cash back, so American Express prepaid cards are good options for anyone interested in these benefits.
The major downside is that there are quite a few fees to watch out for, but this is typical of prepaid cards. Be sure to read through the fine print before you start using your card so you know how to cut down on costs.
How much does American Express Serve cost?
American Express Serve costs $0 when you sign up online and up to $3.95 at a retail location.
Here are the three types of cards you can choose from — all of which come with free direct deposits, bank account reloads, online bill pay and subaccounts:
|American Express Serve||American Express Serve FREE Reloads||American Express Serve Cash Back|
|Monthly fee ($0 in Texas, New York and Vermont)||$6.95 or $0 with a $500 direct deposit monthly||$6.95||$7.95|
|Cash back||None||None||Unlimited 1% cash back on purchases (rounded up to the nearest dollar)|
|Cash reloads||Up to $3.95 (varies by retailer)||$0 at more than 45,000 locations||Up to $3.95 (varies by retailer)|
|ATM withdrawal fee||$0 at MoneyPass® ATMs $2.50 at non-MoneyPass ATMs. ATM operator fees may apply.||$0 at MoneyPass® ATMs $2.50 at non-MoneyPass ATMs. ATM operator fees may apply.||$0 at MoneyPass® ATMs $2.50 at non-MoneyPass ATMs. ATM operator fees may apply.|
|ATM transaction decline fee ($0 in Vermont)||$0.75||$0.75||$0.75|
|Foreign transaction fee||2.7%||2.7%||2.7%|
|Mobile Check Capture||$0 for Money in 10 Days. For Money in Minutes, a 1% fee on payroll or government checks with preprinted signatures or 5% fee on other checks; $5 minimum fee applies.||$0 for Money in 10 Days. For Money in Minutes, a 1% fee on payroll or government checks with preprinted signatures or 5% fee on other checks; $5 minimum fee applies.||$0 for Money in 10 Days. For Money in Minutes, a 1% fee on payroll or government checks with preprinted signatures or 5% fee on other checks; $5 minimum fee applies.|
|Cash Pickup Powered by Ria||Up to $9.49 per withdrawal||Up to $9.49 per withdrawal||Up to $9.49 per withdrawal|
|Serve Money Transfer Powered by Ria||Send up to $2,500 for $16.99 per transaction||Send up to $2,500 for $16.99 per transaction||Send up to $2,500 for $16.99 per transaction|
|Replacement Card Fee ($0 in Texas, New York and Vermont)||$5 per card||$5 per card||$5 per card|
How do I open an American Express Serve account?
Follow these steps to apply for an American Express Serve card online:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the American Express website, click Cards.
- Click Prepaid Debit Cards.
- Find the Serve card you’re interested in and click Open An Account.
- Enroll with your name and contact information, including your Social Security number and date of birth.
- Once you’ve received your card, register it online as noted in your accompanying letter.
You’ll be approved in about a minute after submitting your enrollment form.
To apply for American Express Serve cards, you must be:
- At least 18 years old
- U.S. citizen or legal resident
You’ll need to submit personal and financial information that includes:
- Full name, email address and phone number
- US residential address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
Benefits of American Express Serve cards
American Express prepaid cards come with the reputation and customer service of Amex, plus extra perks based on your spending needs. There’s no credit check, and you’ll enjoy these benefits:
- Three card options. Choose from basic prepaid, free reloads or cash back with varying fees and benefits.
- Available to Vermont residents. Most prepaid cards aren’t available to Vermont residents. But American Express Serve cards are open to anyone in the US.
- No hidden fees. You won’t get any fees that aren’t covered in this review, allowing you to accurately budget your card balance.
What to watch out for
Most prepaid debit cards lack the conveniences of typical credit cards, and American Express Serve is no exception. Keep in mind these factors when considering whether to apply.
- Many fees. What you’ll pay varies by category, but these cards come with many fees that can cut into your balance and bottom line.
- Limited ATM options. To avoid a $2.50 fee per withdrawal, you’ll need to use one of 24,000 approved ATMs nationwide.
- High foreign transaction fee. If you intend to use this card overseas, it could be pricey at 2.7%.
Compare American Serve cards with other prepaid cards
Sort this table by monthly fees, ATM withdrawals and features to see how American Serve cards stack up against the competition:
I got my American Express Serve card — now what?
Get the most out of your American Express prepaid card by doing the following:
- Registering your card. To begin using your Serve card, you’ll need to first register it online. The process takes only a minute.
- Managing your account. Each card comes with online account access to monitor your spending.
- Funding your card. Because Serve is a prepaid card, you’ll need to fund your balance with bank deductions or at participating stores.
- Avoiding fees. Avoid cash reload fees of up to $3.95 by signing up for automatic direct deposits to your card.
American Express Serve cards reviews and complaints
American Express earns an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) based on its years in business, financial stability and readiness to resolve customer complaints. It has a 1.18 out of 5-star customer rating based on 177 reviews. For the Serve card specifically, users like that you get the perks of being an Amex customer without having to apply for a credit card. But some say Amex has permanently suspended their Serve accounts with no warning or explanation, leaving them in frustration.
Common questions about the Serve Cards