Round 2 of AMEX Serve Card Account Closures (March 4, 2016)

Good morning everyone, I wish I had better news to share, but it looks like American Express is up to no good today.  Myself and at least 1 other person I know, received the following email that says that their AMEX Serve Card was flagged for “unusual usage patterns.”  This follows on the heels of AMEX Serve Card Mass Account Closures Effective Immediately (1/8/2016, Section 15.d).  Based on these 2 data points, AMEX sends account closure emails around the first week of the month, possibly every other month.  Did anyone receive an email between January 8 and today (March 4)?  The title of the email says: Termination Of Funds Loading Capabilities on Your Serve® Account.

New Serve Account Shutdown Email

As of today, all my AMEX Serve Cards are closed and I have no more prepaid cards with American Express.  It has been a good run, but now it is time to shred my final AMEX Serve Card.  Did anyone else get hit with an account shutdown email today?  I hope the rest of the weekend goes better :)

If you want to read more AMEX Serve Card shutdown stories, head over to:

66 thoughts on “Round 2 of AMEX Serve Card Account Closures (March 4, 2016)

      1. Anne

        Hey Grant, I have one account left. Did maximum 1000 online loads monthly and only 500-700 store reload on the cards (sometimes none).

        Reply
    1. Grant

      Gotcha, I was only doing $1,000/month with online reloads, no in-store reloads. Seems like they targeted a wide range of users.

      Reply
  1. Pingback: BREAKING: American Express (finally) shut down my Serve account - Points with a Crew

  2. You've Been Served

    My account was closed on Black Friday this morning too. Account only 4 months old – $800.00 monthly online load – used Serve card at retail locations and paid three bills by Serve checks. Clearly AMEX desires to shut down the entire unprofitable Serve platform eventually.

    Reply
  3. Austin

    FF world is not going to be that profitable in the future. One of the reason is that the Banks are reading all of these FF blogs and know what is going on and they are shutting down “more and more frequently” vs. letting it go for a long time..(updating their software etc.).

    Grant, I suggest a different career than a FF blogging career. See if there are other better value of your time unless this is just a hobby…

    Reply
  4. Syed

    Hey Grant. My wife got the notice on her account today. She was just doing $1,000 loads per month on the Fidelity card and about $1,000 worth of Visa gift card loads per month at WalMart.

    I got the notice on mine 2 months ago and closed it then. Darn looks like I’m gonna have to go the MO route at WalMart which I’ve been trying to avoid.

    Any word on Serve allowing those with closed accounts (aka myself) to re-open an account? Thanks for the news Grant.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I’ve tried to apply for new Serve Cards twice since I was shut down in early January. Both attempts resulted in automatic denials :(

      Reply
  5. Mark

    Seems to me that Amex is getting out of the prepaid business, certainly the less profitable parts of it. To accomplish that, they will periodically (appears to be every two months or so for now) weed out those less than profitable accounts by simply disallowing loading.

    Reply
      1. Mark

        At this point, I’m not sure if Amex wants to be in the prepaid business AT ALL. I think it dilutes their brand somewhat because they typically appeal to the higher income segment while prepaids typically appeal to the lower income segment. Obviously except for some folks who found alternative uses (various forms of MS) for their prepaid cards.

        Reply
  6. calwatch

    Surprisingly my mom’s BB did not get the notice. This is an old card opened several years ago, back when BB was giving out free checks. I studiously avoid bill pay on that account but transfer the max to my (closed) BB account and pay bills out of that account.

    This will only motivate to finish my month’s loads. I hate the MO route and only do it for $500 cards, but for the $200 and $300 office supply cards there are still working Kates in my area which I try to use.

    Reply
  7. Fran Picone

    Got my email today. Only had the card 3-4 months. Loaded $1000 per month with a Citi AMEX card. Never loaded any gift cards. Paid 1-2 bills per month and did a few ATM withdrawals.

    Reply
  8. Kevin

    Both my wife and I haven’t been shut down yet on either wave and have been doing the same strategy on each for years. We use cash and gift card for several thousand a month. We pay a bill and empty the serves immidiately once loaded so no money is in there.

    Reply
  9. cliff

    1 Bluebird gone – ~1.5k instore load for the last few months, otherwise, the card has had no load activity for over a year. Typical usage includes 4-5 bill pays.

    1 Serve gone – 2k load in-store load in dec, otherwise, the card has had no activity for over a year

    1 Serve survived – no activity for over a year

    Reply
  10. Ozzie

    This 2nd wave of shutdown is applied to those cards applied after Nov 2015. The cards applied after Jan 2016 would be a bit safe. However, the cards eventually would get closed if being max out monthly.

    Reply
  11. P

    Would be interesting to know if people are still getting approved for new accounts even if they’ve never had any Amex prepaid card before

    Reply
  12. Hoang

    Grant,

    Just received an email to shut down my last BB today, never load to the max, pay bill, transfer to bank, …. Actually 2 cards never got email but could not load money, got error the last step which suppose to print out the confirm. I called and they said the card is OK but still not working. I tried to call for other card never got to customer service!!! Any trick to get customer service?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I haven’t tried this, but you can try calling American Express Serve Account Protection Services department at 1-800-555-4318. They should be able to figure out what is going on with your card.

      Reply
      1. Kamilah Kte

        I call the number and now is been disconnected… they don’t want to give me my MO ey back neither…they told me if I want to know a full answer that I need o send a letter to them asking why it was suspended

        Reply
  13. Maria

    Not me but a friend got shut down for only doing cash reloads at riteaid. That’s right: cash-only reloads. About 3-4k per month since maybe Dec (new card). Paper bill pay only to non-credit cards. Survived the first wave but not this one (most likely because the Jan 8 shutdowns didn’t look at accounts from December; only November and prior). AmEx doesn’t know if loading cash or debit, but they really don’t care. As long as you are putting money in and taking it out, you are acting suspicious. lol. Basically, use the card as intended and they will shut you down. No wonder AmEx is failing. First Costco, now Serve. What’s next, Platinum?

    Reply
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  15. Hoang

    Just tested 2 BB at Walmart which never got email about closing. Tried to deposit $1 into account but got $1 back for both cards. I will close both cards today.

    Reply
      1. Hoang

        Yes Grant both cards got kill the 1st round but I never got email. I even call them and she assured me the card is fine. I looked into the AMEX server and did not see any has no fees.

        By the way if you buy the VISA GC and register with your name can you use it to pay off credit card?

        Reply
  16. Mark

    Did anyone *WITHOUT* a bank account connected get shutdown?

    (in theory these prepaid cards are meant for the “underbanked”, so if you have no bank account connected, and load periodically, use the card periodically, and pay bills periodically, then you “fit” the target demographic)

    Reply
      1. Mark

        Ha. I wasn’t thinking straight … just realized that I had 2 accounts (one serve and one BB) without bank accounts attached that were shutdown in January.

        Reply
  17. Dee

    Anyone get shut down with BB, no bank account connected, and used direct deposit? Or anyone who just loaded via direct deposit? That’s the customer that they want maybe??

    Reply
  18. R. Newman

    I had only funded via direct deposit and they just wrote me an email stating section 15d and all I did was withdraw the funds via Ria money transfer.

    Now they are telling me via some hseless call center in the Philippines that they can mail me a check for my balance.

    Really? Why can’t they send me my money via RIA money transfer so I don’t get thrown out onto the street for not paying my rent?

    AMEX is a shameful company who helps out families on the street!

    Shame on them and the pathetic call centers all of these asshole Banks flop up with illiterate script reading morons that answer the phone.

    American Express….LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!?!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I’m sorry American Express is giving you such a hard time. How much do you have on your Serve Card? You should be able to use the funds on the Serve Card until your balance reaches $0.

      Reply
  19. Lizzie

    Hello! I got shut down today! What does this all mean? Will I get my money back? I had my direct deposit everything with that account. My savings everything! What do I do? I have nothing now! Please any help!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Do you have another checking or savings account linked to your Serve card? If you do, try to transfer the money to that account. If not, you can use your Serve card until your funds are used. You can also do ATM withdrawals.

      Reply

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