American Express Serve Prepaid Card Review

Serve Prepaid Card from American ExpressIt’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, a Dough Roller advertiser**, 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:

  • American Express is a Dough Roller advertiser**
  • Your Full Service Prepaid Debit Card (American Express Serve is not a credit card.)
  • No credit check. No minimum balance. No hidden fees.
  • FREE Direct Deposit gets you access to your money up to 2 days faster.
  • FREE ATM withdrawals at over 24,000 ATMs nationwide.
  • FREE Online Bill Pay and money management tools.
  • Enjoy American Express service and security 24/7. Shop online and off and enjoy Card Membership benefits like Purchase Protection*.
  • *Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Subject to additional terms, conditions and exclusions.

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

FarmVille American ExpressI 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.

Mobile Payments

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.

Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise
endorsed by American Express.

Published or Updated: November 18, 2015
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.


  1. victoria laingren says:

    can i have my husbands and my tax return atomically put on my serve card

    • Rob Berger says:

      Victoria, according to the Serve website, they do not accept direct deposit for government funds.

  2. bob says:

    I have never used one of these cards so pardon my ignorance. How do you put money on this card ie if I want to use it once a month to pay a bill, how do I put the cash on the card?

    • Rob Berger says:

      Bob, the best way to add money to a prepaid card is either through a transfer from a bank account or direct deposit. In the case of an Amex prepaid card, you can also add money with an American Express card. To add cash to a prepaid card, you’d need to use a MoneyPak, which you can buy at most convenience stores. But it will cost $4.95.

  3. Melissa says:

    Will using a Pre-paid card like this help build credit, i.e., rebuild a poor credit score?

    • Eric says:

      Far as I’ve heard / know it won’t .None of pre-paid cards will. If I’m wrong hopefully Rob above will correct me.

  4. jess says:

    Rob, can u refill at a local store like Walmart to add money? They sell prepaid cardsas well and can refill it right at the register.

    • jess says:

      I meant rob* sorry. And work local* typo

    • Rob Berger says:

      Jess, you can’t refill at a Walmart store, although Walmart does offer an Amex prepaid card called Bluebird that enables you to reload the card at Walmart stores.

  5. James says:

    How does Serve Prepaid Card from American Express differ from Bluebird by Amerian Express



  7. SD says:

    Will I be able to apply for the card, and sign up for direct deposit at a later date if I desire to do so?

    • Rob Berger says:

      Yes. You can sign up for direct deposit any time.

  8. Emma Landon says:

    Serve prepaid card from American Express is bogus. Many of my bill collectors accept American Express, so I have to withdraw cash to pay my bills. I am being denied access to my funds. This is a prepaid card, not a credit card!! The money on this card is mine and I need it now.l

    • Emma Landon says:

      I meant the bill collectors do not accept American Express.

  9. steph says:

    Serve is an awful cards with awful customer service! I know from experience! Pay a LITTLE more and get the prepaid Visa!

  10. Porsche says:

    I love American Express only thing is that i have to withdraw money inorder to make some purchases.

  11. Ellen Simpson says:

    The American Serve card helps me to lay that debit and credit card down. It helps me watch my spending. I could not use it at Sam’s and that bothered me. But overall I like it andI have had only positive results with customer service.

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