The switch: REDbird to Serve


Switch REDbird to Serve

Note: As of 10/13/15 the Target REDcard (REDbird) can only be loaded with cash in-store at Target. Gift cards and/or debit cards no longer work to load REDcard. For more info, see: Here is the REDbird memo, “Cash is the only tender guests can use”

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

Early this month, I described my plans for switching one of my REDbird cards to Serve.  If I only had one or two REDbird cards, I wouldn’t have considered switching.  My local Target is as REDbird friendly as ever, and the ability to easily reload with Vanilla Visa gift cards has been huge (safety tip: not all Target stores are as accommodating).

In my case, though, I was managing seven REDbird cards.  I like to max out the full $5,000 in reloads allowed each month with each card, so seven REDbird cards meant that I was spending a lot of time at Target.  By switching one card to Serve, I could reduce my time at Target (by 14%).  Plus, Serve qualifies for Amex Offers and Small Business Saturday.  With one Serve card, I can create 4 subaccounts so that I’ll have five Amex cards that qualify for these offers!

Smooth Sailing

In my previous post on this topic, I laid out my switching plans, as follows:

My plan is to fully load my REDbird card this week and fully liquidate the funds before switching.  This way, I should be able to load my new Serve card later in the month.  My rough plans are:

  1. Load $2,500 to REDbird in one day ($2,500 is the daily load limit).  In the same day, initiate an ACH bill payment for the full amount on the card.
  2. Load $2,500 to REDbird the next day.  Use REDbird’s Send Money feature to send the $2500 balance to another one of the cards I manage.
  3. Once the bill payment is complete, I’ll cancel my REDbird card.  REDbird offers a “Close Account” button at the bottom of the Profile screen.
  4. Next, I’ll signup for a new Serve card online.  Based on a number of reader accounts it seems that you must use the same email address to register Serve as was used with REDbird.  So, I’ll try that.

And, surprisingly, everything went smoothly.  The actual process and timing was as follows:

  • Sept 2: I loaded $2500 to my REDbird card.
  • Sept 2: I initiated a bill payment for the full balance on the card.
  • Sept 4: I loaded another $2500 to my card.
  • Sept 7: I checked to see if my bill payment had cleared.  It had.
  • Sept 7: I unloaded the final $2,500 by sending money to my wife’s REDbird account via the Send Money feature.
  • Sept 7: I canceled my REDbird card by clicking the “Close Account” button at the bottom of the Profile screen.
  • Sept 7: I applied for the One VIP version of Serve online.  See: Complete guide to the many flavors of Serve. Which is Best?  My application was instantly approved.
  • Sept 14: My new Serve card arrived

Back to Walmart

Switch REDbird to Serve
The kiosk at my area Walmart used to shout. Its now nice and quiet.

It had been a long time since I had last set foot in my area Walmart store.  Fortunately, a lot has changed for the better:

I easily loaded up my Serve card at the kiosk.  I also spent quality time at the non-automated Money Center getting reacquainted with Walmart staff.  They were actually quite pleasant.

Next up

The process of switching from REDbird to Serve went so smoothly that I plan to switch another card next month.  Then, by adding subaccounts, I’ll have a total of 10 new Amex cards that qualify for Amex Offers and Small Business Saturday (which occurs on the Saturday after Thanksgiving).  Last year, each registered Amex card was worth $30 in free spend at local merchants on Small Business Saturday.  Assuming it works the same this year (we don’t yet have the details), my switch of two cards to Serve will give me a total of $300 in free spend!

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