Which American Express Serve card is right for you?
Choose from three prepaid cards in Serve’s suite: a basic prepaid card, a card with free reloads or another with cash back.
Serve from American Express 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.
As the assistant publisher of banking and investing at Finder, Ryan Brinks melds more than a decade of experience in business news and online content into creating comprehensive and helpful comparisons of the companies you trust your money with. He loves to innovate and put money to work while keeping a careful eye on managing risk. Beyond work, Ryan's also passionate about his family and serving his community.
Expert reviewAmerican Express Serve cards are best for those who are working up to a traditional credit card through careful spending and on-time payments. They offer the flexibility of prepaid cards, the reputation of a well-known company and options that can save you money based on your needs. But if you’re looking for a card with a large ATM network, you’ll want to keep exploring your options.
Compare American Express Serve Cards
You can sign up for each of these cards online for free or purchase them at select retail locations for up to $3.95.
All three cards come with free direct deposits, bank account reloads, online bill pay and subaccounts. Other fees and benefits vary by card, as shown below.
|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|
Serve comes with the reputation and customer service of American Express and options 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 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 with other prepaid cards
How to apply for an American Express Serve card
Follow these steps to apply for an American Express Serve card online:
- Go to the American Express website and 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
I got my American Express Serve card — now what?
Get the most out of your American Express Serve 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.
Common questions about the Serve Cards