Poll: Was Your Serve Or Bluebird Card Closed?

Round 2 of Serve/Bluebird shutdowns is today and this time they got my OneVIP Serve card. Just add the damage to last week’s post.
At least there’s still money orders and bill pay…

Were you shutdown today?

Was Your Serve Card Closed On 03/04?

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Originally posted on 01/11:

Last Friday morning I wrote about the wave of Serve and Bluebird closures.

There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for the shutdowns. Some people with the same patterns on 2 household cards had 1 card shutdown while the other is still open.
One possible pattern is that people who kept funds in the Serve account rather than transfer them out quickly, are being spared. That may explain why I wasn’t shutdown despite $5,000 in loading last month.

But I’m not one to take things cautiously. I loaded $2,500 on my Serve card on Friday at Rite Aid and another $2,500 today. I still have a stash of gift cards to liquidate so I also bought $5,000 in money orders. Luckily I have numerous local stores that will sell me money orders and I have a bank that doesn’t seem to mind all of the money order deposits. That makes for a good backup in case my Serve card is closed, but that’s something that doesn’t necessarily exist everywhere.

At any rate, vote now and share your patterns in the comments:

Was Your Serve Card Closed On 01/08?

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98 Responses to “Poll: Was Your Serve Or Bluebird Card Closed?”

  1. Mark Says:
    1

    Um … what if we need to make 2 selections in the poll? 🙂

    ReplyReply
  2. Anonymous Says:
    2

    I didn’t transfer out very often and I was closed I didn’t use it much besides for a few giftcards and 1,500 monthly through softcard

    ReplyReply
  3. Fafa123 Says:
    3

    For the accounts that are still open, did you send $ back and forth between accounts that are now closed? I did. Wondering if that’s why both my accounts closed.

    ReplyReply
  4. Other option Says:
    4

    I didn’t get the email, but when u tried to load i got the message that i can’t

    ReplyReply
  5. Also Says:
    5

    Grandfathered from Softcard, was loading 3 x $500 per month to Serve from credit; did not leave funds on Serve.

    ReplyReply
  6. Makir Tova Says:
    6

    My card was not shut down however right aid in Detroit would not allow me to load my serve card from a debit card or gift card. They said only cash.

    ReplyReply
  7. Stewart Says:
    7

    My Bluebird account was closed with ~ $5,000 in it.
    I have been loading ~ 5,000 per month and writing checks
    or doing payments from it.

    ReplyReply
  8. comment Says:
    8

    maybe people can leave comment about their spending and loading habits so we can try to figure out why some were closed and what we should do…

    ReplyReply
  9. jim Says:
    9

    My bluebird was closes, apparently due to inactivity.

    I then opened a Serve.

    ReplyReply
  10. ah Says:
    10

    ummm we need multiple options, who has just 1??

    ReplyReply
  11. Work-for-ur-muny Says:
    11

    How did so many votes come in in such a short time? Is this poll carried over from somewhere else?

    ReplyReply
  12. Yingerman Says:
    12

    I know what it is, but I don’t have any…

    ReplyReply
  13. Dan Says:
    13

    @ah:
    Your spouse can vote as well.

    @Work-for-ur-muny:
    The magic of SMS notifications.

    ReplyReply
  14. DT Says:
    14

    I’ve been shut down (Bluebird). Question is, is it worth it to open a new account for my spouse to liquidate the $4k or so in gift cards I still have? I’d imagine they’d shut that one down too, but hopeful after I’ve transferred all my cards.

    ReplyReply
  15. REI Says:
    15

    I used Bluebird to load Metabank VISA at Walmart, MasterCard Gift Cards via Bluebird website, and Amex Offers. I never maximized the monthly load. During recent 5% cashback on all purchases I mixed in a few purchases.

    ReplyReply
  16. ah Says:
    16

    @Dan all 7 of my spouses? 😛

    anyway,
    My serve’s each with money left in for a while were all closed, my bluebirds which I use for BA taxes every so often were left open. In my case it would seem the actual purchases helped but others have been shut with purchases so ???

    ReplyReply
  17. G Says:
    17

    I keep $ in my serve account and only use it to load from my cc and pay my monthly car payments but I still got the shutdown memo. I’ve used it a few times to send checks to a few people too but that’s it. I have about 3k balance there and my message says when I use up my balance it will be closed (and I can’t add to my balance in the meantime)

    ReplyReply
  18. Sholom Rapoport Says:
    18

    @Dan My account wasnt closed however last night for the first time walmart did not allow me to load from visa gift card to bluebird. The cashier had no problem doing it however when we tried it the receipt came out saying “debit not approved call authorizer”
    Any Idea?

    ReplyReply
  19. Mark Says:
    19

    I usually loaded between $2k and $5k a month (of VGC from Staples, Office Max, etc). Since interest rates are so low, I usually kept between 2k and 8k in the account. Mostly used it to pay bills (tuition, electric, mortgage, property taxes, etc), also used it for some regular transactions (walmart, dunkin recently for amex offer, petco recently for amex offer, smart&final, and some others). And my BB was closed. And my wife’s Serve was closed. And I *NEVER* used it to pay a credit card bill, only normal household bills.

    I sense that Amex may be backing away from the prepaid business because it didn’t quite work out for them. Maybe they are waiting for various contracts (WalMart, Target) to expire before killing it entirely. Amex is in deep trouble, losing all sorts of business, and the competition (the premium charge card/credit card segment) is only just beginning for them.

    ReplyReply
  20. Charlie Says:
    20

    Instead of using BB for paying bills directly, could you use it as a debit card to buy MO’s. If this works along with some usual spend, then maybe Amex won’t detect a pattern of unloading. Thoughts?

    ReplyReply
  21. Moshe Says:
    21

    @Dan: If its the same computer it wouldn’t let me vote twice. I know i can probably use different browsers but thats already to big of a hassle :).

    ReplyReply
  22. moshewoodmere Says:
    22

    Anyone think it’s a cover to be able to shut down all of the Softserves without legal ramification?

    ReplyReply
  23. Michael Says:
    23

    Mine is still open but I haven’t used it in a long long time.

    ReplyReply
  24. mechayamom Says:
    24

    My Bluebird was closed and my husbands wasnt. I would load Metabank Giftcards on it at WM. Not to the monthly max and only every few months. I paid checks from it and also transferred money to a checking account. The one that was closed recently had a transfer to my checking account. Was going to check my balance but the network is unavailable on Bluebird now.

    Husband recently wrote a check and Bluebird randomly decided to put a stop payment on it. They refunded fees but it was annoying. His account is still open.

    ReplyReply
  25. moe Says:
    25

    The problem is not what you spent the money on but how you funded the account(s).

    ReplyReply
  26. Welder Says:
    26

    My (green) Serve is still open. I still have (and always did have) a few dollars and change balance. One of my AU is my younger brother (< 16) who frequently uses it for his everyday purchases.

    ReplyReply
  27. Airsick Says:
    27

    My BB was closed. Loaded the max 5K per month via GC’s at WalMart and used to pay regular household bills, mortgage, auto loans, utilities, etc and NOT CC bills. Seems as though its the continued debit card loading that causes closure.

    ReplyReply
  28. Bill Says:
    28

    My serve was not closed because I had funds in it. But I can no longer load funds – so it is effectively closed.

    ReplyReply
  29. Shimon Says:
    29

    Dan, once again, check if One Vip got affected.

    ReplyReply
  30. Shmelke Says:
    30

    My Serve was not closed. I’ve only had it a short while and loaded over $1400 in Visa GC and a few hundred from a credit card. I’ve withdrawn cash and used it for a couple of small purchases. I have not loaded since new of the shutdown appeared. Maybe they’ll leave me alone

    ReplyReply
  31. Chraina Says:
    31

    I usually load a few thousand of gift cards and leave a healthy balance in my Serve but it was still closed. Bluebird and other Serve that haven’t seen any use for a few months are still open. It’s a real mystery how Dan’s stayed open. Maybe because of his celebrity?

    ReplyReply
  32. Dan Says:
    32

    @Chraina:
    The Serve people couldn’t give a hoot who I am. Yet to have a big company care that I blog.

    And the poll shows that ~50% of people weren’t closed. Do they all blog too?

    More likely because my OneVip Serve account is relatively new (was using Target until the end) and I’ve yet to make any transfers out.

    ReplyReply
  33. Mark Says:
    33

    I loaded Bluebird with around 3,000 cash every month and paid bills. I never loaded a debit card on and it was closed.

    ReplyReply
  34. peldow Says:
    34

    I have/had 4 BB accts. Used all to the full 5k reload every month w metabank cards Usually $100. loads w kate.. 2 accts were shutdown-2 accounts remain open. We will see what will happen with the 2 remaining accts.

    ReplyReply
  35. Dan Says:
    35

    @peldow:
    Maybe there just is no rhyme or reason here.

    ReplyReply
  36. DT Says:
    36

    Wife’s Serve $7000 balance closed

    Mu Serve $450 balance closed

    Both fully loaded every month.

    ReplyReply
  37. Q Says:
    37

    Dan, what’s next f minimum spend?

    ReplyReply
  38. RV3 Says:
    38

    All 5 of my Serve accts closed by Amex. All had zero balance when email was recd. Used my accounts for bill pay, ATM withdraw, and occasional AmexOffer. Actual swipe transaction was twice per month on average for each acct. Monthly load average of 2k for each acct. Seems zero balance and preponderance of bill pay/ATM withdraws will trigger it IMO. I took Serve for granted and didn’t do my part to make any $$$ for Amex with swipe txns. Shame cuz I luv Amex. I’m considering closing accts, reopening, and setting up ten minimum amt txns thru Amazon GCS each month. Gotta keep billpaying tho and billpay will account for 99% of outbound funds. All while keeping an average daily balance of 500 from now on – gotta pay to play (I’m hoping).

    ReplyReply
  39. GJ Says:
    39

    I opened my One VIP in October or November and have since loaded about $800 per month in Metabank Visa GC’s at Walmart via MoneyCenter and cashier. I typically leave funds in there for a few days before paying my credit card bills. I live in NY, so fee-free a Serve, and my account is still open.

    I think it’s good if people start clarifying which serve card they have and how long they’ve had it open in addition to usage patterns.

    ReplyReply
  40. Miles geek Says:
    40

    I’m wondering if having both Serve and Bluebird puts one at risk. I just have Bluebird and wasn’t shut down (I believe).

    ReplyReply
  41. Mark Says:
    41

    Bluebird *just* sent me an email stating that I can use free direct deposit for my tax refund into my account. This was send to me *AFTER* they stated that no deposits can be made anymore. Does this mean that they are effectively rescinding their previous email, or parts of their previous email?

    #lawyering

    ReplyReply
  42. BothofUs2 Says:
    42

    @Mark I got one of those emails telling me to direct deposit my tax refund – that’s pretty messed up of them

    ReplyReply
  43. CtownBin Says:
    43

    I think the pattern emerging is that people who got shutdown were people whose accounts were being “abused” consistently for longer. So, those who switched to RedCard- and then switched back to Serve once that died- are currently using relatively new accounts so they escaped, even if they MSed hard in that short time and on all their previous accounts. The program wasn’t sophisticated to look at all their previous accounts- the RedCard and their previous Serve and/or BB; it just looked at the current open account, saw it wasn’t old enough, and left it alone. Those people are lucky.
    Two main questions now as I see it: 1) Will the system continue monitoring, so that once those lucky people are open and abusing long enough, they will get closed as well? Or, was it a one-time sweep, and whoever escaped can continue to hit hard for some indefinite amount of time until the next big sweep? and 2) For those who got closed- will they be able to close their account now, wait the required for 30 days that is always necessary before opening a new one (even when switching between BB and Serve), and then be able to open new accounts? Time will tell on both of these questions.

    ReplyReply
  44. CtownBin Says:
    44

    @Miles geek:
    The same person cannot possible have both Serve and Bluebird, AMEX doesn’t allow it. If you see someone saying they have both, they are managing one (or more) of them for their spouse or other friends/relatives.

    ReplyReply
  45. Sue Says:
    45

    We had one VIP Serve which was opened after the Target shutdown closed and one left open. Also, a Bluebird account which was open for years got the dreaded memo, so 2 of our 3 accounts are dead.

    ReplyReply
  46. Tjp74 Says:
    46

    For those of you who didnt get the notice how did you confirm that your account really didn’t get shutdown or more precisely, didn’t loose the ability to load fund? I got the notice on 3 out of 5 accounts but all lost the ability to load GC at Walmart kiask after the notice.
    Anyone actually validated that they can still load funds? I have yet to see a claim of successful load at WM.

    ReplyReply
  47. Bluebird Says:
    47

    they close my account so i open today a serve and so far its go true

    ReplyReply
  48. GJ Says:
    48

    @Tjp74: I loaded at Wal-Mart yesterday, so for me that’s how I know.

    ReplyReply
  49. David Says:
    49

    Dan, can you also put options in the poll (a checklist) of how the serves shut down or spared were used, on how regular of a basis, and the age of the accounts? It would be interesting to see if there’s any common ground that we can point to as triggers. Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  50. David Says:
    50

    @Dan, DO at your grocery store and bank? (Let’s see how quickly we can kill it, big city style.) 😉

    ReplyReply
  51. Anonymous Says:
    51

    @RV3:
    Very sweet sentiments, about how next time you’re going to try to be more considerate. Pity that there’s no next time, no? Being banned for life can be a bummer.

    ReplyReply
  52. Dan Says:
    52

    So my current OneVIP serve card was only used at Rite Aid. No online or WM loads.

    Anyone else in that situation? Is your card open or closed?

    ReplyReply
  53. Barryg Says:
    53

    Got an email that Amex For Target program is totally ending. Wasn’t any use lately, but it points to direction that Amex is getting out of prepaid.

    ReplyReply
  54. Howard Says:
    54

    Serve VIP – open since October 2015 (to replace RedBird).
    Loaded $5K/month debit or gift cards.
    Loaded $1K/month online from debit card.
    Loaded online from AMEX credit cards beginning December 2015.
    Never withdrew to bank account.
    Did drain almost full balance each month for bill pay — both credit cards and other.

    ReplyReply
  55. Noam Says:
    55

    I am no longer able to load money onto my serve card. Can I close my existing serve card and then just open up a new one?

    ReplyReply
  56. mh Says:
    56

    @ Noam – I tried to open One VIP Serve around 10 minutes after I closed my Blue Serve.

    Not sure if it was too close but did not let me.

    I tried to do BB just now & it worked!!!!

    Lets see if the card comes in the mail!

    ReplyReply
  57. Ken Says:
    57

    Didnt receive Serve closure, but 2 Rite Aid systems wouldnt accept debit card deposits. A third said cash only. Called Amex to check on status, but they said everything was okay with my account. Did Rite Aid decide to put a stop to this themselves as well?

    ReplyReply
  58. laptoptravel Says:
    58

    I wrote a post earlier today based on statements made by AmEx ahead of its earnings reports today. They are laying off many, have closed a location in Manhattan and will be shuttering several Enterprise divisions within the Serve area of the company. They have lost much of the leadership team which drove many of these products. Since AmEx is disappointed with their margins on these instruments and under increased regulator scrutiny…it appears that AmEx wants to refocus on its core business. It’s been a tough year for them…

    ReplyReply
  59. Duvid Says:
    59

    I closed my own bluebird bacause i hate he having to go to Wal-Mart and i planned on getting serve in the meantime i signed up for amex business gold card and then when i tried to get serve they wouldn’t “approve ” me dan coukd u advise me ?

    ReplyReply
  60. Fay Fay Says:
    60

    @Sholom Rapoport: Errr I have the same problem!! whyyyy

    ReplyReply
  61. lenny Says:
    61

    @Dan: hi dan my serve card is still open but walmart will not let me fill it with gift cards any ideas how to lode the gift cards on to the serve card?

    ReplyReply
  62. Duvid Says:
    62

    @lenny why don’t you try rite aid

    ReplyReply
  63. today Says:
    63

    I had one account still open, just got the dreaded email this morning…

    ReplyReply
  64. KDI Says:
    64

    My Serve account was closed today as well.

    ReplyReply
  65. Ari Says:
    65

    Shut down today!!!!!! 🙁 🙁 🙁

    It seems Amex is now auditing and shutting accounts monthly

    ReplyReply
  66. username Says:
    66

    Dan,
    I need to change my vote(s).

    ReplyReply
  67. hvaces42 Says:
    67

    Just loaded this morning no issues

    ReplyReply
  68. Moishe Says:
    68

    I loaded my Serve with cash the last 5 months(I only did it because I have no credit – not a US citizen, Israeli), only to use their offers and was still closed today. Ax sucks

    ReplyReply
  69. josh Says:
    69

    i dont know how you do money orders..ive gone to local convenient stores and gas stations and no one will take a visa gift card (debit/cc) as payment..cash obly

    ReplyReply
  70. Tzvi Says:
    70

    @Dan did you survive?

    ReplyReply
  71. Ari Says:
    71

    @Dan your Serve still kicking?

    ReplyReply
  72. hvaces42 Says:
    72

    Wow and i missed the 10:21am massacre email. Toast.

    ReplyReply
  73. Seminars Says:
    73

    Dan I think we need you to go on the road again and offer some seminars on MS in the age of MS massacre. LOL

    ReplyReply
  74. Dumb Says:
    74

    My serve vip was just one months old, loaded $5k only at rite aid and immediately paid off cc bills. Was closed today

    ReplyReply
  75. tovi Says:
    75

    does this hurt you credit rating? mine was closed today.

    ReplyReply
  76. Dan Says:
    76

    @Tzvi:
    No, as I said in the post.

    @tovi:
    No.

    ReplyReply
  77. Yis1 Says:
    77

    @Dan –
    I’m stuck with a few thousand dollars of Visa Cards. Have Bluebird and RedCard. Used to load at Walmart w/Bluebird, but they basically put a stop to that. And Target stopped the Redcard. I’m in the Baltimore area.
    I have yet to try the Serve / RiteAid. (Don’t have Serve). Is that the only remaining option? WHat are the best places for money orders if at all?
    I’m sure this has been discussed, but a quick recap wld be great.
    Thx so much

    ReplyReply
  78. Gary Says:
    78

    Some shut last time, some shut this time, some that’ll be shut next time….. 🙂

    Today’s Amex is not a year ago’s Amex. A PSA to the unadvised: be careful. They’re in attack mode.

    ReplyReply
  79. Mountain Man Says:
    79

    Mine was closed. As you say c’est la vie.

    Can we have a poll to determine what dollar amounts trigger “abuse”?

    ReplyReply
  80. Mountain Man Says:
    80

    @Yis1 I’d strongly discourage having visa gift cards lying around. I had one hacked into and drained. It took me close to 5 months and numerous phone calls to get the $500 back.

    ReplyReply
  81. Moshe Says:
    81

    My serve is still open, probably because i use it to pay my lease monthly! (I transfer from amex cc)

    ReplyReply
  82. Yis1 Says:
    82

    @Mountain Man:
    Thx, I agree 100% (I had that happen with a STaples $200 gift cards. SOmeone used it in some city in Oregon. Still awaiting resolution)
    (That’s why I’m trying to figure out how to use the “spend”.’)
    @ Dan – Any response to my question(s) above?

    ReplyReply
  83. username Says:
    83

    In the last shutdown, I lost some (dormant) Redcards…Remember them?

    ReplyReply
  84. Heavenlyjane Says:
    84

    I survived January but my VIP Serve was shut down today. So is the conventional wisdom suggest I simply reopen a new Serve card and resume?

    ReplyReply
  85. iahphx Says:
    85

    What’s the remaining “bill pay” option? I do a modest amount on a Buxx card, but it’s chump change (and the fee was recently raised to make it extremely marginal).

    If folks are doing billpay at Walmart with gift cards, I don’t see how that makes a lot of sense — and would seem likely to raise eyebrows.

    ReplyReply
  86. maifriend Says:
    86

    I loaded $2500/mo using visa gft the switched to my buxx debit then Chase debit after buxx only limited $200 per load. I had the card for around 6 months and used it to pay mortgage, utilities, HOA fees and occasionally credit card bills. I still have my wife serve and sister redcard but not sure what I can do with them.

    ReplyReply
  87. HM Says:
    87

    All cards still alive.

    ReplyReply
  88. yy Says:
    88

    My wife’s Serve is still alive — mine was shut in the first round. We’ve been using it moderately, no bill pays recently, using it for some purchases and some ATM withdrawals. I can no longer load it with VGCs at my local Rite Aid (cash only as of a week or so ago), but my local Family Dollar still works.

    It seems to me that Amex makes the most money from CC purchases and balances, makes less money from PIN debit card purchases, and loses money on everything else (ATM withdrawals, bill pays, debit card loads).

    ReplyReply
  89. Shloime Says:
    89

    Any place near Lakewood to buy money orders?

    ReplyReply
  90. jack Says:
    90

    i was close even i hade money insight

    ReplyReply
  91. jame Says:
    91

    can i reopen after i close the account and if yes how long do i need to wait

    ReplyReply
  92. Eric setton Says:
    92

    So we are all shut down, what’s the next best alternative?

    ReplyReply
  93. mike Says:
    93

    @CtownBin: mine was not abused and was closed

    ReplyReply
  94. Trying to get it Says:
    94

    Never had a serve card. Is there any point of opening one now?

    ReplyReply
  95. Mike L Says:
    95

    Just got a new VIP serve card. Loaded 2100$ at the register without issue, the money machine wouldn’t let me enter my pin.

    ReplyReply
  96. Ikey Says:
    96

    I was at Rite Aid today to load my Serve card and the register would not accept my Vanilla card.After several failed attempts the clerk called over her manager who confirmed no more debit cards cash only.

    ReplyReply
  97. Danny Says:
    97

    @Dan do visa cards still work at walmart to load to Bluebird?

    ReplyReply
  98. Gene Says:
    98

    has anyone successfully reopened serve/bb?
    does using a different phone #, email, address work? or is it all tied to the SSN?
    thanks!

    ReplyReply

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