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Which American Express Serve card is right for you?

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American Express Serve
Monthly maintenance fee
$6.95

Our verdict

Choose from three American Express prepaid cards: a basic card, a card with free reloads or another with cash back.

American 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.

Pros

  • Free online bill pay
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Free early direct deposit

In this guide

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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 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 as statement credit (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

How do I open an American Express Serve account?

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

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From the American Express website, click Cards.
  3. Click Prepaid Debit Cards.
  4. Find the Serve card you’re interested in and click Open An Account.
  5. Enroll with your name and contact information, including your Social Security number and date of birth.
  6. 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

    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%.

    Guide to American Express credit cards

    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:

    Name Product Fee ATM withdrawal Features
    Netspend Prepaid Mastercard, WWE partner
    Netspend Prepaid Mastercard, WWE partner
    $9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit, or $0 with pay-as-you-go)
    $2.50
    • Customize your card
    • Cash back
    • Get paid up to two days faster
    • Comprehensive mobile app
    • Several reload options
    No credit check, mobile check load, and now a WWE partner
    Netspend® All-Access® Account
    Netspend® All-Access® Account
    $5 per month
    $3
    • Earn cash back on everyday purchases
    • Earn up to 6% APY with an optional Savings Account
    • Receive your paycheck up to 2 days earlier with Direct Deposit
    With Netspend® All-Access® Account there's no credit check and no minimum balance to open an account.
    PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®
    PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®
    $4.95 per month
    $2.50
    • Faster access to deposits
    • PayPal Prepaid mobile app
    • Open a savings account
    • PayPal Payback Rewards
    Use the no-cost direct deposit service and have access your funds up to two days faster than what traditional banks offer.
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    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

    Images: AmericanExpress.com

    Your reviews

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    Ryan Finder

    Editor

    Hi there, looking for more information? Ask us a question.

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    Avatar

    Lack

    January 22, 2023

    Can a merchant see my balance on a purchase at their store


    Avatar

    Ren Finder

    January 22, 2023

    Hi Lack,


    Thanks for your question!


    Was it the Serve Pay As You Go Visa Prepaid Card that you have?


    If so, this wasn’t mentioned clearly if a merchant can see your balance on a purchase at their store. This also applies to the other prepaid card types they have. You can refer to section 10 of the card’s cardholder agreement for matters about confidentiality.


    Feel free to contact Serve’s customer service to check with them.


    I hope this helps.


    Regards,

    Ren


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    Karen

    May 05, 2019

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


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    nikkiangco

    May 06, 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


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    Jason

    January 29, 2019

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


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    Val Finder

    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


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    Deb

    January 27, 2019

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


    Avatar

    johnbasanes Finder

    January 27, 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


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    Leo

    December 08, 2018

    Can I reload this card with my bank account?


    Avatar

    nikkiangco

    December 11, 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


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