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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Can someone show me a recent write-up on the process? I have successfully MS w/ redbird but am now looking to do it w/ Serve.

1. Are there GC I should use/avoid?
2. what is the max amount I can do in 1 transaction?
3. what are the daily & monthly limits?
4. ATM machine or customer service?

Thanks in advance,


There’s many such guides, I wrote one, you can find it at


TY NoonRadar, you helped me out by getting a redbird a while back. I have the old school Serve card. My goal is to goto a Simmon’s Mall and buy one or two $1k GC from them. Can I then goto Walmart and load them. Which is the most efficient process using $1k GC?


I am a bit confused on what credit cards can be used to load Serve online and receive points/miles?


I use the FIA AMEX to load mine. Works great. I also have bank account with Fidelity so the 2% is redeemed directly into that account. I turn around and take that 2% and pay extra principal on my mortgage out of that same account.


With great sadness I went to Walmart today……there was no Kate so I went to the Customer Service cashier and asked to load my Serve which I did for 2 separate 500 transactions……..two questions: 1. Could have have done a single 500 load at a normal cashier? 2. How many loads could/would I have been able to do at the Customer cashier stand (these were all VGC…………??
See you at Newport Beach………….


Back in Feb. 2015, there’s an incident and thers’s article on Miles to Memories Blog about it, “Latest With Loading Gift Cards at Walmart – Worrisome But Mixed Reports”

After the demise of RedBirds, I convered back to AMEX Serve and was waiting for my new card. Other members told me they had no issues to load PIN Enabled VGC/MGC onto BlueBird/Serve in WM or WM Neighborhood at cash register or KATE. I am a little confused now. I live in Bay Area and I saw lots of “No Go for GCs” comments these readers had left on the blog in the past 6 months. Please advise. Thanks.


About two hours ago, I bought a $25.00 card (US Bank) at Kroger and immediately went to the Walmart Kate and successfully loaded one of my Serve cards from the US Bank card. The transaction was smooth with no hiccups and this was in Roswell, GA. Although I don’t load my Serve very often with the US Bank debit cards, I am thinking of doing this more via the Wells Fargo 5% Grocery card (i.e. buy $500 US Bank cards and immediately load them onto Serve).


It seems like serve has punted the whole blue vs green vs silver thing, and gone back to the original product. Their website has no mention of other serve flavors, just the original one, with the original fee structure.

I only seem to find the other serve flavors by clicking on direct links to ‘sign up’ from various blog posts.


Never mind, go to the ‘help’ page and then all the other serve flavors are there with their own fee charts, which contradict the fee structure shown on the main page… I digress… Just going to get One VIP and be done with it.


UGGGH. I initiated a withdrawal of what was left in my account last night (like $30). Still hasn’t cleared so I can’t close my account!

Ryan from MA

well the email worked. i had to change the phone number 😛 go figure

[…] the exact Profile details in you REDbird account. FrequentMiler recommends opening the new account with exact profile details of the old one, especially the same […]


Just cancelled my Redbird. 10 minutes later I submitted my One VIP application and was declined because I have an existing Redbird account. I’m assuming it takes a little time for the system to clear out the old account? Anyone have experience on how long they waited after cancelling Redbird before they were approved for a new Serve card?

Ryan from MA

yeah got the same problem here.

Ryan from MA

I thought it has to be a DIFFERENT email


Planning to switch back from redbird to serve, any issue with buying the temp serve card from CVS with credit card? And then register online to get the permanent card ?


I guess I need to switch my Redbird for a Bluebird card now. But If I can’t use Vanilla gift cards/debit cards to load the Bluebird card at Walmart, then how do I load it?


I’ve never had any problem loading Bluebird / Serve with the US Bank-backed cards I can buy at Kroger. Never tried the Vanilla cards. Note that always load via KATE (look that up if you don’t know what it is).


Given the dead Redbird situation, I plan to switch to Serve as well. Does it matter if my husband sets up his own account or should it be a sub account of mine? Does it matter? Thanks!


[…] Recently I wrote about my experience switching one of my REDbird cards to Serve.  Please see: The switch: REDbird to Serve.  You’ll find what amounts to a step by step guide in the section titled “Smooth Sailing”.  […]

[…] The switch: REDbird to Serve […]


Well, with no SBS this year, I guess that changes things with regards to this post!


Amex offers seem to have gotten a lot stingier as of late as well. Let’s hope it’s a temporary lull and not a long-term trend!


After the CC loading for Redbird stopped, I switched to Serve and haven’t looked back. I’ve ended up with three Serve cards and three Fidelity 2% CC’s that I use to fund each card. Making $60.00 back per month for minimal effort is worth it (loading $200.00 / day * 3 cards is a pain but it doesn’t take very long). I’ve always wanted to pay my mortgage with a CC and this solution works for me.


I am really having a lot of trouble understanding how the Redbird card gets liquidated. Could you please explain ( in painful detail) exactly how This is done. I would realllllllly appreciate it. I am stuck with about $3000.00 in Redbird cards. Also the two local target stores refuse to allow any reloading
Or gift card loading. They also insist that everything is done with cash now.
This is a huge problem for me.
Thank you in advance for any help.


Linda, Redbird is usually unloaded by paying the bills online, via its billpay feature, which is the same as paying bills from your checking account. You can also use the card to pay for anything, in store or online. There’s other methods, like withdrawing the money to your checking or at ATM, which are not recommended to be done frequently or in large amounts.

If you somehow meant that you’re stuck with $3K worth of gift cards, if you can’t find a local Target to let you load them to Redbird, try a grocery store (like Walmart) as far as buying money orders there with them, up to $1K per money order. You can obviously use them for daily purchases also. You can further register them online and use them to buy things online.


Unfortunately, in the NYC area, Target CS reps don’t let you use gift cards to load Redbird and Walmart doesn’t let you use gift cards for MO purchases or for Bluebird loads. The concern about fraudulent gift cards is bogus — both stores let you use gift cards for purchasing merchandise, which is totally untraceable (unlike Redbird/Bluebird/Serve loads).


So people are allowed to register more than one red card under their name since you have seven?!


No, only one prepaid Amex account per SSN. FM has clarified above, he (like others) has enlisted fam members for this.

On this note, if you plan to do this, that is to get a second Redbird under someone else’s name (with their permission, of course), make sure to put that person’s address, not yours, during the online registration process for the permanent Redbird.

Just today someone who got their temp Redbird from me to register under their sibling’s name didn’t follow my instructions to do so, as far as address and other relevant info; they put the sibling’s name with their own address…this person let me know that the registration was flagged and halted by Amex. Basically, Amex’s computer will try to match that name, SSN and DOB with the address you enter, from public records, if it doesn’t match, it will make you either answer questions from the public/credit records, or submit documents to verify the identity and address of the person registering for Redbird.


Ah. Thanks for the clarification

Mr. T

I tried to load a serve card last weekend using KATE at walmart using a simon mall gift card and it tried to charge me a $3.74 fee. What was I doing wrong? I don’t remember it doing that in the past? I had bluebird in the past and never had the issue. Thanks!


I read on forum people called in Discover checking their Double Cashback status. And was told all existing customers double cashback promotion are canceled no matter you received confirmation email or not and it is for new customer ONLY now. I just want to confirm with you if it is true?

Will S

What, no breathless headlines about the imminent “death” of “Kate” at Walmart?

I’m still remembering Shawn’s recent alert/claim that the new Kate machines won’t do Serve/Bluebird reloads?? (m2m) Didn’t see him retract or amend that claim. If Shawn is/was right, I’d be hesitant about opening a new Serve or Bluebird account.

I, for one, don’t like longggg Walmart lines…. (less to do with ID checks) Yet because Kate still lives, I can face tomorrow… with bluebird & serve 🙂

J Stonea

Hey Will S where do you get your giftcards from to use at walmart for KATE


for me…simon and


This is the kind of activity that eventually kills these programs off –


I have had two friendly targets that I have been using. This week I attempted to load my two birds and failed. First one said a memo came down this week and there was a limit of $1k a day and no gift cards. I was using 1vgc’s and i said that I was not using a gift card but a debit card. She had to look at it and said , oh this a prepaid card you cant use it either. Hmm..

Next store, i was asked does it have my name on it? I said i am using a debit card. She needed to see it and said no name, no loading, they got a letter from corporate detailing this issue. Hmm..

I then tried a store I have never used and…. no go, my name needs to be on the card……..

Is this company wide or are managers taking this into their own hands????????


Which city was this in, if you don’t mind sharing? MS is local and fluid so every time someone asks for, or reports, data points, it is helpful to know the city.

There’s no Target or Amex corporate memo/policy telling Target stores to not load Redbird with gift cards or prepaid cards; Target would have just hard coded its registers instead of relying on cashier policing. Also, most stores allow them from regular daily reports (including today), hence it is not a corporate policy.

There are, however, some individual Target stores that make it a store policy to curtail or limits these activities, most likely due to fraud concerns; in such cases they often tell customers it is a corporate policy to avoid endless arguments with them.

Further, though likely less common, it is also possible that in the absence of a firm store management policy cashiers make judgment calls or educated guesses on what they think the policy is, or what they think the product allows. You can try to establish whether or not it is a store policy by trying to load with diff cashiers, diff shifts/days, if you get the same unified answer a few times, it is likely a store policy so move on to another store.

The other thing to have in mind when reading blogs…people are more willing to report negative data points (stores that don’t let you load Redbird/Serve/Bluebird) than positive ones, for fear of others flooding that store and prompting management to curtail loading with gift cards.

Mark O

There is a Target by me in Troy Mi that it was hard coded against gift cards…I tried 2 different times weeks apart (it was a self scan) and it would not go through and then the cashier looked at my card and said they don’t take gift cards. The one by my house still works but for some reason that store’s system would not accept them.


You can’t load Redbird at the self checkout lanes at Target.

Also, the hard coding doesn’t work by store; they all have the same software. The only hard-coded registers to not load Redbird are in Arkansas and North Carolina, state-wide.

The average cashier at Target knows about Redbird next to nothing compared to the average Redbird-noob reading this or any other MS-related blog.


Hi. I was curious and went to serve to see what’s the deal with sub accounts. They required name, phone #, Etc. How do you go about this? Do you create sub accounts for yourself by making small changes to your name? Or is your name part of the card anyway like in the case of some additional cards where the primary name of the user comes in the front of the card together with the authorized user?

If not, what names would you use?


Okay the obvious question, how did you obtain 7 redbird cards? Did you just get one for every family member you know & they were all cool with it?

Net Netty

Be careful paying off your credit cards with accounts with other peoples names on them. IRS might decide your 60k a yr in BPs to your CC accounts will be a gift from that “trusted friend/family member” and that you are attempting to circumvent the gifting/estate tax laws. Once youve loaded that GC onto their bird you’ve given them a gift, once they pay your CC statement with their bird they’ve given you a gift/ IRS allows 12k a yr to ea individual. Good luck telling them that 60k a yr is “really yours”.

Flying Accountant

In order to qualify as a “gift”, no consideration (cash, cash equivalents, or services) could be received from his “gift”. Because he receives consideration as part of the exchange (he receives the money back as a condition of giving it), it’s not a gift. Even if we do consider it to be a gift, since he is receiving gifts from 6 separate donors, his annual exclusion limit would be $84,000 ($14,000 x 6 donors) for tax years beginning in 2013.

The more you know.


Wow! And I thought I was hot stuff establishing my FIRST Redbird account last week. I’m digesting slowly . . .

J Stone

Hi I was wondering where do you get your giftcards from since you cant really use a vanilla card at walmart?


But at mall, there is a limit of only one Simon Gift card per day (you have to fill out a form with SSN or driver license for more than one). How could you get more than one? Also, I was wondering buying many GC at raise any red flag? Thanks.

Net Netty

Did you ride the short bus to school? Of course you give your ID and fill out the paperwork. How you gonna do big vol by not supplying your info to the company selling you 5-10-20k in cards? Dont bother MSing if you are buying 1 card at a time

J Stone

Thanks for the info I am new to MS and I went to a simon mall today and tested it out and went smoothly. Also when to walmart and unloaded the gift card without any problem. only an hr if that out of my day not bad.


Hi I have recently got a serve card and I was wondering where do you get your gift cards to load the serve card at walmart being that with vanilla cards you can only load $50 at a time?