State of the Union: Bluebird and Serve as of April 22, 2014

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State of the Union: Bluebird and Serve as of April 22, 2014

In case you missed today’s breaking news, you can now load your Serve Card at Walmart with gift cards (with PINs), just like you can with a Bluebird Card.  You can load either card at the Money Center (Customer Returns Center), at a cashier, or at a Money Center ATM (I haven’t tested this yet, but it should work.  If not, see previous two suggestions).To summarize everything, here are all the facts you need to know as of today, April 22, 2014:

Bluebird Card loading:

  • $5,000 calendar month reload limit in-store (Walmart), $1,000 per day reload limit
  • $1,000 online debit card calendar month reload limit, $100 per day reload limit
  • No credit card loading in-store or online

Serve Card loading:

  • $5,000 calendar month reload limit in-store (Walmart), $1,000 per day reload limit
  • $1,000 online debit card calendar month reload limit, $200 per day reload limit
  • $1,000 online credit card calendar month reload limit, $200 per day reload limit

Questions about loading at Walmart:

  • Daily loads are at least $1,000, has anyone had success loading more than that on the same day?
  • Can you load at Walmart with a credit card?
  • What is the monthly reload limit?  Is it $5,000?  Is it more/less than $5,000?
  • Gift card reloads are showing up as “Cash Reload Incomm Default Merchant” – the same company behind Vanilla Reload Cards

Walmart Load Serve Home Screen

Why should you switch from Bluebird to Serve?

  • Currently you can load up to $7,000 total per month with Serve, but only $6,000 total per calendar month with Bluebird.
  • All else being equal, Serve can load $1,000 online with a credit card, while Bluebird cannot do any online credit card loads.
  • Serve can load in $200 increments, instead of Bluebird’s $100 increments for online credit and debit card loads.
  • Serve can be set up to automatically load your account with online credit or debit cards (for example: load $200 daily for 5 days with a credit card, then switch to load $200 daily for 5 days for debit cards – link).
  • If you do not want to go to Walmart, Serve has the upper hand: $2,000 online reloads each month ($1,000 credit and $1,000 debit reloads).
  • If you do not have an Alaska Airlines Debit Card, Sun Trust Delta Debit Card, or a PayPal Business Debit Card you are not earning miles or cash back for online debit card loads (link).

How do switch from Bluebird to Serve?

  • Make sure your Bluebird account has $0 balance (do a bill pay and wait for the funds to be deposited in the payers account, send the money to a different Bluebird account, or withdraw the money to your bank account).
  • Call Bluebird customer service and tell them you want to close your Bluebird Card so you can open a Serve Card.
  • Apply for a Serve Card online, you may need to call Serve customer service to have your account approved.
  • For more help, follow this guide.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

37 thoughts on “State of the Union: Bluebird and Serve as of April 22, 2014

  1. entrada

    Can you prepare a summary of the ways to get the funds out of Serve? From my quick review of Serve it seemed like ATM withdrawals were the only way. They don’t offer checks like Bluebird. And I didn’t see an option to transfer funds to a bank account, only to other Serve accounts.

    Reply
  2. Ajay

    Can you transfer from my Serve to my wife’s Bluebird?

    Also – what is the policy in terms of using a credit card where you are an authorized user but the card number is the exact same as the primary card holders?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      You cannot transfer funds from Bluebird to Serve directly. As long as you are the primary cardholder, it doesn’t matter if the credit card numbers are the same or different from an authorized user’s card numbers.

      Reply
  3. bmau09

    Can you load Serve using a Visa gift card at the Money Center kiosk? I don’t like the idea of having to load Serve at a cash register, because acceptance of Visa gift cards can be hit or miss.

    Reply
  4. RJP

    GRANT WROTE; “Gift card reloads are showing up as “Cash Reload Incomm Default Merchant” – the same company behind Vanilla Reload Cards”

    Grant – is this perhaps because you are using a Vanilla (therefore Incomm) gift card for the reload?

    Anyone have luck loading US Bank MasterCard GCs either online or at WM?

    Reply
    1. Addie

      @RJP- Yes, I’ve used US Bank MC GC’s to load at WM. You have to select “Change Payment” on pinpad screen to get to Debit option.

      Reply
    2. traveltogo

      @RJP-
      I also noticed the new Incomm message on my BB account. It showed up for the first time yesterday, even though the card I used to load funds was issued by US Bank. Anyone know why this is?

      Reply
      1. Grant

        It must be the payment/loading processes that Walmart uses. Let’s see if Walmart sells any One Vanilla Gift Cards and then that would make really easy.

        Reply
        1. traveltogo

          Oy… I really hope Wal Mart DOES NOT start selling OV GC’s. You’ll have people buy mass quantities of gift cards at the register, then walk over to the Money Center or ATM machine to load BB or money orders. That will certainly attract unwanted attention.

          Reply
  5. Jon

    I closed my Bluebird account 2 days ago, so I can open a Serve account. I applied online and got denied. When I called customer service, they said to way 31 days. Any way to get around this? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Not that I know of, they might have changed the process of switching from Bluebird to Serve since I did it a few weeks ago. You could try buying a temp Serve Card at CVS or Walmart, but I’m not sure if that would append up the process.

      Reply
  6. Greg

    I bought 2 Simon gift cards today at my local mall that is owned by the Simon company. $500 Visa debit card that can be used anywhere. Only a $2.95 purchase fee, not bad. I made the dreaded mistake when loading the funds to my EvolveMoney account of not waiting 10 minutes between loading each card for making a bill pay to my mortgage company, arggg! One of the cards is now on hold and the $500 will be locked for 10 days at which point I can resubmit the debit card on Evolve for the bill pay. In theory, this is a pretty slick process because I can avoid going to WM to do the load to a bill pay service. And since EvolveMoney and BB both have my mortgage company and auto finance company listed, I can use either service to pay my bills and achieve max point spend on new CC. Have you used Evolve with much luck? You make a great comparison between Serve & BB, how do you think Evolve stacks up?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I really like Evolve but they don’t have any companies that I use. I really don’t have any bills to pay since I still live at home with my parents. They only have the PayPal Extras MasterCard which is linked to my PayPal account. Other than that, no other vendors to pay.

      Reply
  7. RJP

    Hopefully they will expand payees. I’m able to hit my mortgage, water, and utilities. That’s good for $5000/month. If/when they ever add credit cards, it could become a points perpetual motion machine. Recently bought two new Audis, outright. Had I been involved in point strategies at that time I would have financed them at 0.9% and then paid them off at $1000/day with debit cards. >100K points in just over three months for ~$250 would seem like a pretty good deal.

    Reply
  8. Charles

    Grant,
    Great post!!
    Just signed my wife up for Serve. I will close out my Bluebird and sign up for Serve, also. $1,000 credit card online load each month for each of us. That equals 24,000 points per year for $0 and minimal effort.
    I can add gift cards to Serve at Walmart as needed.
    I think my strategy will be to use Serve as a place to use for depositing money, in order to acquire points, and then transfer those funds, periodically, into my primary bank. Then, I can use my primary bank for auto drafts/bill pay, instead of Serve. What do you think? Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Chris

    Grant,

    If bluebird or evolve or account now or whatever doesn’t have, say, my mortgage company (5/3 Bank, kinda weird) can I manually add them to the bill pay service like my Chase bill pay? Or do I have to open 50 debit accounts and search around for who has they payees I need?

    Thanks for the great site!

    Chris

    Reply
    1. Grant

      If Evolve Money doesn’t have your bank, there is no way to manually add them. I would send Evolve Money an email and see if they can add that to their list of payees. If not, check back every month to see if they added it. Otherwise, you can use the bill pay feature from Bluebird or Serve to send a bill payment.

      Reply
  10. Ajay

    Any truth to the reports that once you close your BB account it will take 31 days to activate the serve leaving us stranded for a whole month?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Some have had success switching in less than 31 days, but there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason behind the processing times.

      Reply
      1. Ajay

        Anyone see something wrong with the following strategy:

        1.Load 5K on bluebird in the first week of May.
        2.Pay bills and get the balance to 0.
        3.Close BB and open Serve and load 5K again in the same month.
        4.Enjoy serve.

        Does your BB and Serve “data” (how many loads, etc) get stored under the same name?

        Reply
  11. Bill

    Has anybody verified that you can load Serve with $5000 at WM with debit cards per month? I know you stated in the post you did the initial $1000, just wanted to be sure you were not limited to less than $5000 with Serve. Thanks!

    Reply
  12. Kent C

    Grant and to all,

    Has anyone tried to load funds off a visa or m/c debit gift card on-line (not at a WM, I know that works now). I see you can use a debit card to load Serve on-line up to $1,000/mo but is this like BB where it has to be a bonafide bank debit card, i.o.w. no debit gift card?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  13. InstinctX

    Apologies if this has already been mentioned.

    FYI: You cannot reload Serve at WM with a CC at least via kiosk (like we previously could at CVS before they went cash only)

    I tested this the other day at the kiosk. I selected the “Rapid Reload” button. I swiped my Serve card, entered an amount. Then only 2 options appeared: Debit Card | Cash :(

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Yes, good point. I don’t think I mentioned that anywhere. You can only use cash (Noooooo) or debit cards / gift cards with PINs.

      Reply

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