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.
- 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 fee with a direct deposit
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Expert reviewAmerican Express Serve cards offer the flexibility of prepaid cards, the reputation of a well-known company and options that can save you money based on your needs. Serve is an ideal option for working up to a traditional credit card through careful spending and on-time payments.
Credit cards aren’t all that American Express offers. Serve from American Express is a prepaid debit card that offers the convenience of Amex without monthly billing statements or overdraft charges.
These prepaid cards come with no credit checks, no minimum balances and no annual fees; however, there is a monthly fee, which can be avoided on the basic American Express Serve card when you use direct deposit. Amex offers three Serve cards with varying monthly fees, reload options and benefits to suit your individual needs.
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.
Three card options.
Choose from basic prepaid, free reloads or cash back with varying fees and benefits.
No credit check.
Since these are prepaid cards, you don’t have to worry about your credit score when applying.
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.
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
What should I know before I apply?
To apply for American Express Serve cards, you must be:
- At least 18 years old.
- A U.S. citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
You’ll need to submit personal and financial information that includes:
- Your full name and personal contact information.
- Your date of birth and Social Security number.
What credit score do I need?
Because Serve is a prepaid card, no specific credit score is recommended.
How to apply for the card
- 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.
How long will it take to be approved?
You’ll be approved in about a minute after submitting your enrollment form.
I got the card — now what?
- 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