It’s now been about five years since I began covering the prepaid market. Over those five years there have been major changes to prepaid debit cards. First fees began to come down, to the point that many prepaid cards are free. Then some major companies entered the market, such as Wal-mart and Chase. And now American Express has taken it to the next level with a card called Serve.
Think of Serve as a prepaid account, not just a card. It includes a reloadable prepaid debit card, of course, but the account includes several unique features. Here are the card’s features:
- No credit check. No minimum balance. No hidden fees.
- Get a $50 credit after receiving $250+ twice via Direct Deposit by 12/31/13*
- Get free cash withdrawals at over 23,000 MoneyPass® ATMs nationwide
- Shop online or off and get access to membership benefits like Purchase Protection
- Use the Mobile App* to manage your money, pay bills and more
- Enroll in Direct Deposit to get your paycheck in your American Express Serve Account on payday.
- No need to use a check. Email money to anyone with an American Express Serve Account (even if they don't have the same bank as you).
- Enjoy American Express service and security 24/7
*Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. (American Express Serve is not a credit card.)
Serve Facebook App
Serve comes with a Facebook App that enables you to send and receive money. You can actually transfer money to and from friends via a Facebook wall post. Here’s a video that shows how it works:
Earn Zynga In-Game Rewards
I confess that I’ve never been much of a FarmVille fan. But I know many people love the game, along with Bubble Safari, CastleVille, and CityVille. With the Serve card, you can earn Farm Cash, Safari Cash, Castle Case or City Cash. As an example, here’s how you can earn up to 943 Farm Cash:
Sign up for an account: +150
Add money to your account for the first time: +130
Activate your Serve Card: +13
First 10 purchases using your card: +65 each
Subaccounts are an easy way to give allowance to your kids or even pay the babysitter. Each person with a subaccount gets his or her own Serve card. You can then transfer money to these cards and set the spending limit.
The day may come when we user our cell phones to make most of our payments. But that day is not here, yet. Yes, there are apps we can use to pay for certain things. I use my iPhone to pay for coffee at Starbucks. But that’s about it.
With Serve, you have several ways to transfer money via the Internet. Above we’ve already covered the Facebook App. Serve offers three other ways to transfer cash:
- Serve App: The card comes with this app that allows you to pay with your smart phone. The people you pay must have the Serve app as well. But if they do, things like splitting the bill is a snap.
- Email: You can send or request money via email
- Text Message: You can send or request money via text message
No Monthly Fees
While most prepaid cards come with fees, the Serve prepaid card has no monthly or annual fees. In addition, the $2 ATM fee is waived for the first ATM transaction each month.
For more information or to get the card, visit the Serve official website.