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American Express Serve® Card — Full Review [2023]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

289 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Kellie Jez
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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

1 Published Article 1171 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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American Express Serve® Card
Terms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express Serve® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.
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  • $0 if you direct deposit $500 monthly, otherwise it's $1/month ($12/year) for the American Express Serve® Basic Card

  • N/A; this is a debit card

American Express Serve® Card

A prepaid debit card with 3 versions: basic (pictured), FREE Reloads, and Cash Back. Instead of earning points, these cards can be used to deposit money into banks or pay for purchases and bills!

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.
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Learn More(at Amex's secure site)All information about American Express Serve® Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

The information regarding the American Express Serve® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


You’re out running errands when you realize you’re out of cash and the bank is about to close. Not again!

You are a bit uneasy at the idea of spending any money on a credit card; that’s for emergencies only, and you don’t want to get in the habit of “saving yourself.”

If you’re looking for a good alternative to banking but are tired of being hit with fees, then the American Express Serve® Card could be a great option for you.

Card Snapshot

Welcome Bonus & Info

  • There is no welcome bonus available as this is a pre-paid debit card
  • The American Express Serve® Cash Back Card earns 1% cash-back for all purchases (Terms and Conditions Apply)
  • $0 if you direct deposit $500 monthly, otherwise it’s $1/month ($12/year) for the American Express Serve® Basic Card
  • $4.95/month ($59.40/yr) for the American Express Serve® FREE Reloads Card
  • $5.95/month ($71.40/yr) for the American Express Serve® Cash Back Card
  • Reload fee of up to $3.95 at a retail location ($0 for American Express Serve® FREE Reloads Card at participating locations)

Rewards Center

Cash-back rewards are found in your American Express account.

Customer Service Number

1-800-954-0559

Great Card If

  • You’re looking for a convenient way to replace your banker without the hassle of a checking account
  • You are seeking a fee-friendly prepaid card
  • You want an easy way to limit your spending
  • You don’t want to carry around a lot of cash

Don’t Get If

  • You want to build up your credit
  • You want to use a lot of out-of-network ATM locations
  • You do a lot of international transactions

Applying and Bonus Cash-Back

While the Serve Card is not a traditional credit card, it is still a valuable tool for your personal finances.

This convenient reloadable card offers free online bill pay and other convenient banking features without all the excessive charges.

It acts just like a debit card from a traditional bank, and you can only use the cash that is stored on the card.

You have access to more than 24,000 MoneyPass ATM locations across the United States.

You also have free access to American Express customer service reps, which is a feature that other prepaid cards don’t offer.

There are 3 different versions of this card:

The Amex Serve Card

American_Express_Serve_Card_Blue

The American Express Serve® FREE Reloads Card

American_Express_Serve_Card_Green

The American Express Serve® Cash Back Card

American_Express_Serve_Card_Gray

Cost of Using the Amex Serve Cards

The basic card is free to use online but costs up to $3.95 at retail locations when reloading the card with cash.

There is no monthly fee for the basic version if you direct deposit $500 or more per month on the card. Otherwise, the monthly fee is $1.00 (or $12 per year).

It is free to use the FREE Reloads Card online ($0), but this card costs $4.95 per month. The benefit of this card is a waived $3.95 reload fee at over 45,000 locations.

Finally, the American Express Serve® Cash Back Card works like the basic card, except that it earns 1% cash-back for all purchases and costs $5.95 per month.

Amex Serve Card Banking Features

One of the great features of these different versions of the card is the ability to create sub-accounts. You can get a separate prepaid card for each sub-account you open.

In addition, you can send and receive money for free between any members, which is helpful in times when you need to split bills.

A service called Cash Pickup Powered by Ria is available at Walmart, and lets you take out up to $2,500 in cash at one time.

Additional Benefits of Being an Amex Serve Card Member

Two other great features of the card are Amex Offers and Membership Experiences.

Amex Offers is a program that allows you to add “deals” for shopping, dining, and entertainment purchases periodically.

These offers get updated every few weeks. If you like one, simply add it to your card and use it by the expiration date.

Membership Experiences is an entertainment portal that offers access to tickets and events that you might not otherwise have access to. It is always worth a check to see if there is something that catches your eye!

Just like AMEX credit cards and charge cards, the pre-paid debit card also offers access to other benefits like:

  • Purchase protection
  • Fraud protection
  • Roadside assistance

Bottom Line: The Amex Serve card can be a nice alternative to traditional banking without all the fees that go along with it.

Some Items To Consider Before Becoming a Card Member

Remember that because this is a prepaid card, it can’t help you build up your credit.

Because of the card’s prepaid nature, though, it can be a good tool for those who are trying to keep a limit on their spending and/or stick within a budget.

Bottom Line: The Amex Serve card can be a great way to keep within spending limits.

Best Way To Redeem Cash-Back Rewards

The Serve cash back Card collects cash-back that can only be used in the form of credit to your account. Once accumulated, you simply apply it to your account for a direct deposit!

There are no travel partners, but they do partner with MoneyPass ATM for free withdrawal at over 24,000 locations.

How To Really Maximize Cash-Back Rewards

There are many ways that you can benefit from using the Amex Serve card. Here are some ways to help make sure you get the most out of it right from the start:

Tip #1: If you will be adding sub-accounts to your card, it is important to be sure that a parent or guardian is the primary account owner. No one under the age of 18 can be an account owner.

Tip #2: For those who are hoping to build up their credit, this card can’t help there, though it is convenient to use. With that in mind, you may also want to consider opening a credit card in addition to your Serve account. That way, you will be able to start (or continue) building up your credit and your credit score, while at the same time taking advantage of all the many benefits that the card has to offer.

The information regarding the American Express Serve® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Amex Serve Card worth it?

While many prepaid cards can really hit their holders with fees, the card is a pleasant surprise in that it offers a lot of free attributes along with some nice additional benefits.

For those who are looking to build (or rebuild) their credit score, this card isn’t going to get you there since it isn’t a credit or a charge card. In fact, the card won’t even show up on a credit report.

However, it can provide a long list of positive features when you’re comparing it to other cards in the prepaid niche. For example, it offers an extremely competitive fee structure overall.

In addition, the benefits include other things such as Purchase protection, Roadside assistance, Fraud protection, and Free customer service access.

Is it better to get your Amex Serve Card online or from a physical retailer?

It is better to get your card online than from an in-store retailer. This is because doing so online is free, while getting the card from a physical retailer can cost up to $3.95.

Plus, if you get the card from a store, you will still need to register it online and then wait for a permanent Amex Serve card to arrive in the mail.

Are Serve Card funds FDIC insured?

The funds that are held in a prepaid card account are not always as safe as those in a regular checking or savings account, because prepaid cards are not required to insure against bank failure.

However, account funds are FDIC insured up to the very same $250,000 per-depositor limit that applies to a traditional bank account. This can provide cardholders with a great deal of peace of mind!

Is there a direct deposit limit on the Amex Serve Card?

There is an annual direct deposit limit of $100,000.

What is a good credit card to use in conjunction with the Amex Serve Card?

You can use any other travel rewards credit card with the Amex Serve Card. If you spend enough, your best bet would be to get the Cash Back card in addition to a rewards card that has bonus points for one of your biggest spending categories.

Most people do well with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card since it earns 2x points in travel and dining, which covers a broad area of spending!

Are there any other prepaid debit cards that are similar to the Amex Serve Card?

Yes. The Bluebird from American Express is very similar. It does not require a minimum deposit to avoid fees and can be used to pay bills online.

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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