Note: On January 8, 2016 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend
As reported by Doctor of Credit, American Express is now offering two versions of their prepaid reloadable card, Serve.
It appears that the blue version of Serve is the same card we’ve known and loved all along, but its possible that there have been some changes that I’m not aware of. The green Serve card (not to be confused with the “Us” Green card from FirstCayman Internet Bank), though, is new. Unlike the blue card which waives the $1 monthly fee any month in which you load $500 or more, the new green card with “FREE Reloads” offers a dandy new $4.95 monthly fee (except in TX, NY, and VT). What’s not to love?
The weirdest part of the new green Serve card is that they advertise FREE Reloads as the differentiating feature. They specifically list free reloads at CVS, Family Dollar, Walmart, and participating 7-Eleven locations.
Why do I find that weird? Those are the exact same stores that are already fee-free for Serve reloads. See, for example, this press release from 2014. Why would anyone want to pay $4.95 per month for a card that offers the same features of a card that costs only $1 per month and where that $1 fee is easily waived?
What’s going on?
It’s possible that the stores listed above will start to impose reload fees on blue Serve. That would increase the relative value of green Serve. Or, Amex will simply use “FREE Reloads” as a marketing tactic to get people to voluntarily pay them $4.95 per month despite the equally good, and cheaper, alternative.
Credit card reloads?
One of the features that distinguishes Serve from the completely free Bluebird card is that it allows online Amex credit card loads, up to $1,000 per month. Nothing on the Serve.com home page shows that feature anymore, but their Help pages continue to list credit card loads as an option without distinguishing between Blue and Green cards. This makes me think that Amex credit card loads are available for both cards, but I’m not at all sure about that. For details about online loads, please see: Best options for Serve online loads.
I’ll report more about these cards as more becomes known.