UPDATE: There is a Glitch with Walmart/Serve that Results in a $3.95 Fee being Charged for Each Gift Card Reload

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UPDATE 6/20/14: Do not use OVGCs or VGCs at Walmart.  Use other gift cards from other banks.
AMEX Serve Logo

UPDATE: There is a Glitch with Walmart/Serve that Results in a $3.95 Fee being Charged for Each Gift Card Reload

If you load your AMEX Serve Card today (June 11), double check your account to see if you got charged a $3.95 fee for each gift card reload.  I talked to AMEX Serve this morning and they are aware of the *glitch* and are working to fix it soon.

If you notice that your AMEX Serve reloads are missing $3.95 per reload, please call the number on the back of your Serve Card and Serve will credit your account $3.95 for each reload made today.

The refund shows up as a “Good Faith Credit” on your Serve Card.


You can easily tell if you are being hit with $3.95 fees by looking at the automatic reload emails from AMEX Serve:

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You can also tell by looking at your receipts:


Last but not least, you can log into your AMEX Serve account and see if your reloads are missing $3.95:


If you loaded your Serve Card today, double check your load amounts.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

P.S. My conspiracy side thinks AMEX/Walmart are working on a feature that costs $3.95, maybe like being able to load your Serve Card at Walmart with a credit card for a $3.95 fee.  The same fee amount that our beloved Vanilla Reload Cards had (RIP good friend).  Only time will tell what they decide.  But I would bet there would still be no fee for cash or “debit” reloads at Walmart.

86 thoughts on “UPDATE: There is a Glitch with Walmart/Serve that Results in a $3.95 Fee being Charged for Each Gift Card Reload

  1. Ryan

    Saw this on FT last night…tons of people freaking out, only 1 person called Amex to see what is going on. It is a glitch in their system, it is supposed to be fixed in the next 24 hours and all fees will be reimbursed, if not you are supposed to call and they will do it manually while you are on the phone

  2. Mike

    I called Bluebird customer service. They said there is no fee for BB. I asked if he could check the Serve side. I was on hold 5 minutes. He came back and said $3.95/load per item. He said Serve account owners need to call Serve after midnight tonight for clarification of what’s going on. He said BB has no plans for a fee (only time will tell on that one).

    What will be BRUTAL and UNFAIR to many, is if they don’t allow for switchbacks to Bluebird.

  3. RJP

    I call BS on Mike… or the rep he spoke with. Some CSR rep in India has no earthly idea what AmEx’s “plan” is for BB, or anything else for that matter.

    1. Mike

      BS is fine for abbreviated typing, but I prefer to use the more formal “Big Stud” designation that the chicks have lavished on me.

      Grant: shoot me an e-mail. I’d like to ask you a private question.

          1. lovemytechy

            huh..! I did not need to go through hell switching my serve to BB.

            is it worth the hassle switching back to serve?
            does BB have any pros vs serve?

          2. Grant

            The only pro for Bluebird is the paper checks you get. If you use those checks, then you might want to stay with Bluebird. If not, you might want to switch to Serve.

          3. Eric

            Sorry – i meant, do you get to load $7,000 per month to a Serve with the methods you described.

          4. Trevor

            On my Serve account, I’m seeing the $3.95 charges for four deposits (two each on 6/10 and 6/11). No adjustment on my account yet. I’ll be patient.

            Grant, I’m curious about the $1k online debit load you do. I assume it’s from a bank account? Is there any financial benefit? I already do the $5k at Walmart and $1k w my cc online.


          5. Grant

            Did you load your Serve Card late on Tuesday 6/10/14? You probably have to call to get the adjustment. I use my PayPal Debit Card which earns 1.5% cash back for the online debit card reload = $15 of free money every month.

          6. Mike

            1.5% for a debit card pin based load? I’m not familiar with 1.5% from Paypal nor them giving cash back for anything other than credit card purchases. I just got a Paypal debit Mastercard and have used it as a debit card with PIN (no cash back) and as a debit card run as credit (1%). Can you clarify what you do with Serve to earn 1.5%?

          7. Mike


            Paypal is very, very finicky and watchful of account activity……to the point of paranoia and being obnoxious. They’re also unapologetic.

            So I assume you’ve had no issues with the $1000 coming out each month.

            Is there any way to automate it similar to the credit card auto draw on Serve? I still have BB and haven’t (and may not) make the switch.

          8. Grant

            Bluebird requires 10x $100 online loads. Serve requires 5x $200 online loads. I’ve earned over $600 in cash back with my PayPal Debit Card over the last 5+ years, so I’m not too worried about PayPal. I think they actually make money on the Serve reloads.

          9. Mike

            That seems like reasonable programmatic behavior that stays within their boundaries. Darius, the guy at Million Mile Secrets had his Paypal account shut down for tranferring money from PP to BB. I think he just did a straight big block transfer. Do you know if that’s what he did?

            He made himself a sitting duck by publishing an article on how to do it and including a picture of his card along with his one of a kind name. He was easy to target and kill. Even if they wanted to nail you there are probably 250 Grant Thomas’s within 10 miles of you :)

          10. Grant

            Haha, I haven’t met any of the 250 other Grant Thomas’s near me. Maybe I’ll organize a Grant Thomas Meet Up sometime :)

            I’m not sure what MMS did, but I’m sure it was more than once.

          11. Trevor

            It was late on 6/10 and then late on 6/11 as well. I’ll watch it and call them in a few days if it isn’t fixed by then.

            Thanks for clarifying about the PayPal debit. I’m not quite sure how that works either. How do you get money into PayPal — from your Serve account, a regular bank account or some other method?

          12. Grant

            You can use PayPal My Cash Cards or a regular bank transfer. I sell stuff on eBay so I always have money in my PayPal account.

  4. Sharon

    Do you think this really a temporary glitch? According to the Flyertalk thread, some who loaded the card today still gets hit the $3.95.

    1. Grant

      My conspiracy theory side thinking that AMEX/Walmart will announce a way to load the AMEX Serve Card at Walmart with a credit card for a $3.95 fee (same price as the Vanilla Reload Cards). Who knows if that is true, but that is what I am guessing. That would be awesome though.

  5. Rico

    dammit! and I canceled my BB card last month to switch to Serve!
    and now I keep seeing issues with Serve.

    1. Grant

      Thanks for the update Tim, I plan on going back Friday morning, hopefully the $3.95 glitch will be fixed by then. Call Serve and they will credit your account for the $3.95 glitch.

  6. Leslie Webb

    Grant, I had a former reply or comment to you and, as far as I have caught on my email, have not gotten an answer due to my entry being placed in “mediation” or some such. Could you please get back with me via my email? Thanks so much. I am plugging along as a senior with more time than knowledge or a lot else on my hands. Love your input. In retirement, travel is very appealing, and ways to defray costs are wonderful. I applaud your efforts. If you would like to come to the DFW region for one of your confabs, I bet we could get a bigger audience than you had in SD.

    Let me know, a fan, Leslie Webb

    1. Grant

      Good evening Leslie, are you talking about a comment or an email you sent me? If it is a comment, which post are you referring to? If it is an email, can you re-send the email to me? I’m sorry you have had to wait for an answer for such a long time, I’m not sure what happened. I have an aunt and uncle who live near DFW, but I have never been outside the airport when flying through Dallas. I’ll have to get back to you on the DFW meet up, but it sounds fun!

      1. Leslie Webb

        Good evening, Grant. My question applies to my recent initial purchase as an experiment with cards at CVS. ( I inquired at WM & got uninitiated employees who did not elucidate about BB or Serve). I bought a minimum $20 loaded One Vanilla GC for $4.95 activation fee and no reload charge, according to cashier. I charged that to my Plat Amex card & thereby got points. However, I also got (for free on a CVS promotion- rather than a $2.95 purchase fee) a minimum $20 Serve card with the same promise of no reload fee. Now, my mortgage co does not accept credit cards, & most of my utilities , etc are bank drafted. So I don’t see the benefit of a Serve or BB debit card in earning points or miles.

        The OV gift cards create miles or points when purchased with an earning cc. I perceive that I can purchase money orders with the GC & regenerate cash. (Is this the best method?) But the Serve or BB do not create those miles or points as a debit card. How can I create points or miles with them? What is their benefit in this regard?

        Appreciate any clarification – I will catch on eventually. Thanks, & keep in touch. It would be fun to meet your aunt & uncle, too – you should catch up with them. Life is short, but fun! (Are they travelers?)

        1. Grant

          They are my great aunt and uncle (grandfather’s sister) and I don’t think I ever met them. I get birthday cards and Christmas presents from them every year, but I don’t remember ever meeting them. Needless to say, they don’t get out of Dallas often.

          In regards to Bluebird/Serve, you only earn miles/points on the gift card purchase. Everything you do after you buy the gift card does not earn miles/points. Most people load the gift card to their Bluebird/Serve Card and then do a bill payment back to the credit card that was used to buy the gift card. Then they just keep repeating that cycle, moving the same money around and around. Does that make sense?

          1. Leslie Webb

            Yes, Grant, it does make sense. Thanks. If I interrupt your response correctly, I can use my Serve card to pay all or part of my Amex Plat card bill; is that correct? How do I go about that – online or where?

  7. Kent C


    Is this true, if you cancel BB to enroll in Serve you go into a black hole for 30 days, at least I think that’s what I read. If so it’s not a good idea to do any app-o-ramas if you just cancelled BB since you couldn’t do any MS on those cards for 30 days.

    Also I think it’s interesting how AE is spending tons of $$$ remarketing Serve, I mean displays everywhere all over Walmart, no BB ads anywhere. There’s been a real push, just lately that I have seen. AE pushed BB for awhile but not anymore. I wonder why?

    1. racerboy80

      I recently cancelled my BB and was able to setup a new Serve in around four days.

      I initially tried changing my email and phone number at the direction of a Serve rep. He also said to wait 48 hours. I tried that and it did not work.

      I then tried using the same email address as my BB, and changed the phone number to my work number. Went through without a problem.

    2. Grant

      Some people have had to wait 30 days, some people can get the card the same day. I’m not sure why. If you max out your loading/unloading of a Bluebird card at the beginning of the month, then close it and have to wait 30 days to get a Serve Card, you will get your Serve Card the next month in the middle of the month with plenty of time to max out the load/unload.

      I haven’t heard much about Bluebird lately either. I guess AMEX is really pushing the Serve Card now. It will be interesting to see what happens. I think eventually they will merge into one company/card.

      1. Trevor

        It’s kinda strange that they’ve had two products that are so similar to begin with. BB seems to have a kinda fun image while Serve looks more serious but they’re basically the same card.

    3. Trevor

      I recently moved from BB to Serve as well. It didn’t take 30 days but did take nearly two weeks, in part because I think I tried to rush it. I also got different information from different Serve reps. I didn’t lose any time with my MS spending however. I reached my $5k max early in May on BB, transferred the money out, closed the account and set up Serve. Because of some stuff going on in my life, I didn’t reach the Serve max in May but I could have if I had devoted the time to it.

  8. Kent C

    Thanks for all your comments regarding the time delay when moving from BB to Serve – as well as the brilliant idea to max out your BB and unload it early in the month before moving to Serve.

  9. binnycode

    I recently closed 2 bb accounts and opened 2 serve. The first time they said I would be able to reopen the account back up in 30 days even though it was now closed. I said OK and hung up, tried to open serve, no go…bb account still active. 30 days later I open serve no problem. The second time (yesterday) they say the same thing about 30 days but I tell them to close the account permenatly and immediately. Today I sign up for serve no problem.

  10. Ben

    Got hit with the $3.95 fee this morning (6/13) when loading my Serve (I am in Texas). Looks like it is not fixed yet. Are people getting charged the fee when they use the kiosk, or just a cashier/ customer service/ money center? Mine load was through a cashier.

    1. Grant

      Thanks for the update. I was going to go to Walmart this morning, but I guess I will wait a few days for the glitch to me fixed. It is really annoying.

  11. greek2me

    Checked my acct online. Loads done yesterday showing up as $496.05 even though my Walmart receipts showed $500 loads with no fee. Helluva glitch to reclassify a transaction after the fact like that.

    1. Grant

      Yes I know. I hear lawsuit coming possibly. Not sure why it is taking AMEX/Walmart so long to fix the glitch. I believe Serve is up to something and it doesn’t sound good. If they start charging the $3.95, I better be able to use my credit card for the transaction.

      1. Mike

        Switch back to BB and be done with it.

        It’s insane to continue with Serve given the minimal benefit over BB.

  12. Jen X

    Hi Grant, I just checked my serve account and serve refund 3.95 “Cash Reload” for each of previous loading. It seems they have fixed the problem. And since I called and got the refund before, it’s like I’m getting extra money from this! Awesome!

    1. Trevor

      I called yesterday and received a credit for the nine $3.95 “deductions.” Today, I’m seeing nine $3.95 credits as well so I’ve been refunded twice too. I’m thinking this error will be corrected soon.

      1. Grant

        Spend it while you can. I haven’t loaded my Serve card since the day I wrote this article. I’m really surprised it is taking them this long to fix the “glitch”.

  13. Jason

    Hi Grant, can you elaborate on the inability to load OVGCs or VGCs to Bluebird at Walmart? I am gettig the error message at both the self-serve kiosk and the cashiers POS locations. This issue just happened to me today, but I can load other GCs (issues by Blackhawk Netowrk, for eg) to my Bluebird.

    1. Grant

      The rumor in the miles/points community is that either Vanilla/InComm changed the way their gift cards work or Walmart changed the way they process Vanilla/InComm GCs. I don’t know if Walmart is working on blocking other types of gift cards, but it is definitely a possibility. This could be the demise of MS as most of us know it…


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