Compare all 3 American Express Serve Cards |July 2018

Review: Which American Express Serve® card is right for you? – July 2018

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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.

  • 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.
Product NameAmerican Express Serve®
Card TypeAmerican Express
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (AMEX)
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
2.7% of transaction value
Minimum Age18 years of age

The Basics

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.

The Nuts and Bolts

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)$1.00 or $0 with a $500 direct deposit monthly$4.95$5.95
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.
Foreign transaction fee
Mobile Check Capture$0 (fees vary between 1% and 5% for immediate transactions)$0 (fees vary between 1% and 5% for immediate transactions)$0 (fees vary between 1% and 5% for immediate transactions)
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

The Perks

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.

  • 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 .

What should I know before I apply?

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

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

1. Find the Serve card you’re interested in and click Open an Account.

step 1 American Express Serve card

2. Enroll with your name and contact information, including your Social Security number and date of birth.

step 2a American Express Serve card

step 2b American Express Serve card

step 2c American Express Serve card

3. 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.

Bottom line

American Express Serve cards offer the flexibility of prepaid debit 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.

Common questions about the Serve Cards

Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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