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Which American Express Serve card is right for you?

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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.

$6.95

Monthly fee

Details

Card typeDebit
Card networkAmerican Express
Monthly fee$6.95
Monthly fee with a direct deposit$0

Expert review

Ryan Brinks

Review by


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 review

American 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 ServeAmerican Express Serve FREE ReloadsAmerican 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 backNoneNoneUnlimited 1% cash back on purchases (rounded up to the nearest dollar)
Cash reloadsUp to $3.95 (varies by retailer)$0 at more than 45,000 locationsUp 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 fee2.7%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 RiaUp to $9.49 per withdrawalUp to $9.49 per withdrawalUp to $9.49 per withdrawal
Serve Money Transfer Powered by RiaSend up to $2,500 for $16.99 per transactionSend up to $2,500 for $16.99 per transactionSend 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

The Perks

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%.

Guide to American Express credit cards

Compare with other prepaid cards

Name Product ATM withdrawal Monthly Fee Features
Greenlight
$0
$4.99
  • Allowance payouts
  • Usage notifications
  • Parent-paid interest
Greenlight is the prepaid debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls.
BusyKid
$0
  • High load limits
  • Invest in real stock
  • Donations to 20+ charities
Link your child's BusyKid account to a prepaid card to help teach invisible money management. The base app has no fee, but you'll pay an additional $7.99 annually for each spend card
ACE Flare Account
$2.50
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit) $9.95
  • Earn interest on your Flare Account
  • Optional Debit Card Overdraft Service
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster with Direct Deposit
Withdraw up to $400 in cash per day without a fee at participating ACE locations when you have qualifying Direct Deposit activity.
FamZoo
$0
$5.99
  • Free trial
  • Real-time requests
  • Parent-paid interest
Teach your children good money habits with this comprehensive prepaid card and account.
Brinks Prepaid Mastercard
$2.50
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit, or $0 with pay-as-you-go)
  • Mobile app
  • Direct deposit
  • Payback rewards
No credit check. No minimum balance. No late fees because this is not a credit card.
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How to apply for an American Express Serve card

Follow these steps to apply for an American Express Serve card online:

  1. Go to the American Express website and click Cards.
  2. Click Prepaid Debit Cards.
  3. Find the Serve card you’re interested in and click Open An Account.
  4. Enroll with your name and contact information, including your Social Security number and date of birth.
  5. 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.

Eligibility

To apply for American Express Serve cards, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • U.S. citizen or legal resident

Required information

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

    Images: AmericanExpress.com

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    11 Comments

    1. Default Gravatar
      Karen
      May 5, 2019

      Can I take money from one of my American Express serve card and add it to my other American Express serve card

      • Default Gravatar
        nikkiangco
        May 7, 2019

        Hi Karen,

        Thanks for getting in touch with Finder!

        Yes, you can add and withdraw funds, pay bills, and transfer money to yourself or other Serve account holders from your computer or mobile device and if you wish, you can transfer funds back into your own bank account. Just log-in to your account and follow the steps in transfering funds. Take note that the limit for loading Serve with cash, debit, gift cards, or Vanilla Reloads and MoneyPaks is $2,500 per day or $5,000 per month.

        Hope this helps!

        Best,
        Nikki

    2. Default Gravatar
      Jason
      January 30, 2019

      Do any of the American Express Serve Cards come with the chip?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        Val
        January 30, 2019

        Hi Jason,

        Thank you for leaving a question. For pre paid cards, they usually do not come with a blanket protection. For your question, none of the American Express Serve Cards come with the chip.

        American 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.

        Regards,
        Val

    3. Default Gravatar
      Deb
      January 27, 2019

      How can I deposit a American Express travelers check on to American Express serve account

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        johnbasanes
        January 28, 2019

        Hi Deb,

        Thank you for reaching out to finder.

        You can conveniently add checks directly to your American Express Serve Account using the American Express Serve® Mobile App2 on your iPhone® or Android device. Don’t have the American Express Serve Mobile App? Download it for free from the App Store or Google Play. Hope this helps!

        Cheers,
        Reggie

    4. Default Gravatar
      Leo
      December 9, 2018

      Can I reload this card with my bank account?

      • Default Gravatar
        nikkiangco
        December 12, 2018

        Hi Leo,

        Thanks for getting in touch! You may certainly link your bank account, debit card or credit card to your online account. Bank accounts can transfer $2,000 a month; debit and credit cards can transfer $1,000 a month. You can also load this by going to stores such as CVS, 7-Eleven, Walmart and Family Dollar. All locations accept cash, but only Walmart and Family Dollar accept debit cards as well.

        Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

        Best,
        Nikki

    5. Default Gravatar
      Sheila
      October 15, 2018

      How to enroll online access my mobile?

      • Default Gravatar
        joelmarcelo
        October 15, 2018

        Hi Sheila May,

        Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

        To enroll to American Express Serve® online banking, please click HERE.

        Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

        Cheers,
        Joel

    6. Default Gravatar
      Ash
      September 21, 2018

      Hi Ash,

      Thank you for contacting finder.

      Yes, you may use the American Express Serve® Card for International purchases though you need to take note of the 2.7% Foreign Transaction Fee.

      Please make sure to read the eligibility criteria, features and details of the card, as well as the relevant PDS/ T&Cs of the card before making a decision and consider whether the product is right for you.

      I hope this helps.

      Please do not hesitate to reach out again to us if you have additional questions.

      Cheers,
      Ash

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