Goodbye REDcard, Hello Again To Serve!

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Last October I posted my experience switching from Serve to REDcard.

As the cards were readily available in Cleveland but not on the coasts, I gave away a number of REDcards (among other prizes) at last November’s DansDeals seminar in Brooklyn.

For 8 months I was able to load $5,000 per month from a credit card to each of the REDcards under my control.

In May I broke the news that Target would no longer accept credit card funding for REDcard. That stung, but it wasn’t a death knell. After all, you can still generate miles on the cheap by cycling money through gift cards and REDcard. I subsequently wrote why I was sticking with REDcard for the time being.

Alas the time has come.

As of yesterday Target’s registers stopped accepting debit card funding for REDcard, which effectively kills the value proposition for manufactured spending as it eliminated the ability to load gift cards onto REDcard. My local store confirmed to me that they had received a memo today stating that only cash can be used for REDcard loading from now on.

Luckily there’s still Serve and Bluebird and WalMart’s point of sale system isn’t programmed like Target’s to reject debit card funding. While individual WalMart stores and cashiers may not accept gift cards, it’s still not hard (especially as you gravitate away from NYC) to load gift cards at WalMart onto Serve or Bluebird. Plus WalMart ATMs can also load gift cards onto those cards.

Unfortunately I can’t get back my Serve with Softcard product. The lucky folks that kept that card are still able to load $1,500 per month for free from their Mastercards and Visa cards all from the comfort of their own homes.

Back in 2012 I called I called Bluebird the next dollar coin burn. After switching to Serve, Serve with Softcard, and REDcard in the interim it’s time to start working backwards.

It’s not hard to switch. I just drained the funds out of my REDcard account and used the remaining balance to pay off a credit card bill.

Then I clicked on profile and scrolled down to close account and let them know exactly why I was closing my account.

I immediately got email confirmation that my account was closed.

After that I applied for an AMEX Serve card and was approved instantly.

The One VIP Serve card has a $1 monthly fee, but it’s waived if you load it with $500 that month from any source. It’s also waived if you live in NY, TX, or VT regardless of funding. Serve can be loaded with $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month from debit cards in WalMart and there’s no reason to advertise that you’re using a gift card instead of a debit card. Serve can also be loaded with a gift card in Family Dollar, though some people have had technical difficulties loading cards there.

You can also load Serve with $200 per day and up to $1,000 per month online with an AMEX. You don’t get points for those online AMEX loads on AMEX issued cards, but they do count to get the signup bonus when trying to meet a spending threshold. And it also counts towards waiving the monthly fee if I fail to load funds that month at WalMart for any reason. If you use AMEX cards issued by other banks you should be able to get the points for those online loads. You can also load from a real debit card online, but loading from a gift card online will get your account frozen.

Serve also comes with AMEX offers and you can create 4 free subaccounts that also qualify for AMEX offers.

You can also get a Bluebird card with no monthly fee, though it can’t be loaded online with AMEX and can’t be loaded at Family Dollar.

We all knew that credit card loading at Target wouldn’t last long, though I’m a bit surprised debit card loading didn’t last longer. After all, debit loading is cheaper for Target and it got me into their stores multiple times per month, which was presumably their goal. Here’s hoping Serve and Bluebird hold out, as the low hanging manufactured spend fruit have been drying up of late…

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99 Comments On "Goodbye REDcard, Hello Again To Serve!"

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Too bad


I’m surprised you didn’t keep at least one softcard account around.


A sad sad day! I hate you, for breaking the news


Does chase sapphire work with serve?
What about cit aa platinum


Can you reload serve at CVS?


And I’ve got $1500 in GCs.
Never mind, we’ll figure something out.


REDcard was just too lucrative at the time 🙁

I don’t think you can with debit.



Boruch dayan haemes


It looks like all the manufacturer spend and mileage values and transfer partners are going down down down…


I can confirm that loading online with amex waives the monthly fee.


Can a Serve card be loaded at WMT via MoneyCenter and cashier? How about Bluebird? Is the only difference that w/ Serve it is loadable via CC $200×5 per month?


What are the differences between serve and bluebird?


Thanks for the confirmation of that.

They’re basically the same, but Serve can be loaded at FD and has the AMEX online funding option.


When you load your gift cards in family dollar are they supposed to charge you like $3 for the load?


@Mat On Amex website it says that Cash reloads could be done at CVS, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, Walmart, and participating 7-11 locations.. The question is if you could load with a credit or debit card..


@Dan- I saw all the reports on the other blogs and forums but waited for you to confirm that it was official. It was a great ride. I had some feeling on Sunday that I should just unload my $2,500 in gift cards because I knew at any day (whether now, or 6 months from now) it could be shut down. Glad I did. I was able to cycle through $7,000 this month though.


so if serve can be loaded at FD and amex online. what is the benefit (if any) of BB over serve?
also i already BH loaded 5k to my redcard this month. if i get serve now, can i load 5k onto it for Oct?


It was reported that the regular Serve (blue) now have a 3.95 reload fee. Is that correct? The Onevip Serve for sure does not.


(this is where we blame Dan for leaking all the secrets online and getting all the good stuff to die.) 🙂


Dan, I hope you did your research. I believe that Serve recently made the $500 exemption into $500 direct deposit. Some of the travel blogs had a workaround, don’t know if it’s still available. Also, now loading costs $3.95 a pop, not sure if that’s only family dollar or Wal-Mart as well. You can get a version with a flat monthly fee of 4.95, and no charge for in-store loads (but no fee-waiving, even with direct deposit). If you load $5000/month and make 1% after costs, that’s $45.

Course, in NYC it’s basically debit card (NOT gift cards) online, or cash.


Does the visa upload give points?


Which Serve card should I get?


I actually got points for online loads


Any $500 in loading waives the $1 fee and there are no load fees for the Onevip flavor of Serve.

Or there’s always Bluebird.

Yes, if you have Softcard.


From which card onto which Serve card?


What are Amex online loads with serve? Wouldn’t they show as a cash advance? Do they have any value outside of meeting requirements?


dan ? isn’t softcard abolished.. I had a softcard account and a serve account. how am I suppose to take advantage of that? can I load giftcards onto serve?


FYI I just shut down my redcard account and signed up for a new serve account. They are asking to upload Id to get it approved.


@kayef: Question, is that with an “old” grandfathered blue Serve? or a new blue Serve? or a Onevip?


I see an option to load $500 to serve with softcard that I have for my own account. But there is no option to load with a credit card that is not an Amex.


Alright it was fun while it lasted. Dan any comprehensive posts on all the tricks of the trade for serve? Maybe repost some old notes on it?


I think it is possible that Target is killing the prepaid debit card completely. Target only rolled the prepaid out to a few states, and it seems as if they don’t think it’s much of a success, otherwise they would have made it nationwide by now. They have stats on everything, so they can tell what percentage of loads were spent at Target and what percentage was spent elsewhere. Finally, nobody in their right mind working at Target would think that too many people would actually load CASH to the card. People who have cash in their hands can use it for anything anywhere, so why bother loading it? Finally, for loyalty purposes, Target already has two other cards, the debit one and the credit one that plenty of people use and get the 5% discount in return for their data and their loyalty.

boro parker

Dan, can I load to serve from an AADVANTAGE AMEX cc? Is it considered spending or cash advance? Will I get AA miles?


I already have the old serve card for more than a year.
Is there any benefit to switch to the OneVIP?


@boro parker: you can, it’s a Purchase (not cash advance) and you’ll get miles


@Dan: Definitely used to be that way. Seems the old cards have been grandfathered in. Not so sure about the new ones, though. OneVip is the way to go, for now at least. We’ll see how long it lasts.


Can you use VGC to load at Family Dollar?


Can I withdraw funds to bank account?


What about the other stores (CVS, 7 eleven) that are listed as reload sites. Can I use debit there?


If you signed up with Softcard and have a credit card saved then you’re grandfathered.

@boro parker:
You should be able to.


They should work there.


Cash only AFAIK.


@Shoobi: you would never know about it without Dan t


@Dan: Is it only $500 a day @ FD?


Does applying for the onevip do a credit pull?


I’ve seen reports of more, YMMV.



i’m confused!

can i just add 1500 from a visa or mastercard to a serve? how do i transfer it back? or does it just act as a debit card afterwards? is there any way to pay a visa or mastercard credit card bill with a serve card (and thus rotating the money)?

please advise
thanks for everything


@Dan: Thanks!


I’m leaving in New York, which Serve card is better for me, Serve FREE Reloads or Vip?


is it worth getting an amex card issued by a dif bank just to do this stuff online to get rewards?
another thing- i heard that having too many cc’s open is no good for credit score. how many is too many? if i have a credit score of 750, only built credit starting 1.5 years ago and have about 13 open cc’s, how am i doing?
by the way, when are you publishing ‘DD for Dummies?’

chana k

@confused:In all 3: Bluebird, Serve and Redcard – You can pay bills on line from your account. You can even pay an individual – amex will send them a check.


If I’m in TX, the Green Serve and One VIP is the same right?

And sorry for my ignorance but where can I get the green serve or One VIP? CVS?


which non-american express issued amex would you recommend getting?


Can one load serve online with a vanilla gc?


@Mark: The regular Target card only has a spending limit of $500. So it does make sense to lad cash onto the recard if you want to get the 5% Target discount on a purchase of more than $500.


Bummer! I literally just got my Redcard in the mail YESTERDAY! All that time wasted in getting it too when I was in Michigan!!


What about google wallet can I load gift cards onto there and then cash out to my bank account

Sahir Saiyad

What is FD?

can you explain

can someone explain how this works in simple terms ?- i checked and my local walmart does NOT have a money pass ATM , but other stores do .
do i have to purchase 2 sets of 2500 from walmart (using my chase ink for example) and then head to a money pass atm location to cash out ?
please advise TIA


Can you load the serve card with AMEX GC’s??



Serve is not an option .. what is the cleanest way to use 4200 of GC?

Sahir saiyad


What about using Walmart preferred money card to take place of redbird?


Can you reload the serve card online using a prepaid amex card?


i just bought $2000 worth of visa gift cards from staples..can i upload them to google pay or apple pay and then cash out from my bank?


hi dan
do you know which walmart has a walmart atm in the tristate area ny ?


i have had a prob at a fd store in ny were they told me last year they not allowed to load with a debit card any more ore for sure a gift card even though it looked like a credit card that had my name on it
they said something about fraud prevention and that it came from corporate.

changed rule? or did i just get a bad manager??

does anyone know if only amex is good to load serve online -all other cards wont work or charge a cash advance?



To apply for the Serve One VIP, do you simply apply from the website? Or do you buy a temp card from the store and activate it from there?


Dan, I’m getting error msg at serve vip “phone number already registered”.
Any way to use same phone number that I had at redcard?


@Dave: either is ok


i closed my Red Card account and i tried registering for the one vip card – it said error i cant register because i have a red card – i closed that account? – anybody have advice???


this whole thing only works in cleveland…

just a waste of time in NJ.. unless you are jobless, don’t bother


I guess you got to start using ups again


@Ups: how do we learn about the UPS method


@Anonymous: it’s an old serve card. Not sure about the grandfathered part.


its import ant to know if loading at walmart do not buy vanilla VISA GC as they can only load 49.99 per shot.

av loading

is there any advantage in visa over master card gc if loading bb or serve at wm atm?


@Jay: I am having the same problem. it says i have a redcard when i try creatin gbluebird account even though I just cancelled. any suggestions?


Do not forget to unlink your Credit Cards from RedCard. Otherwise, you can`t link them to Serve. Don`t know about Bluebird.


does anyone know which walmart has a walmart atm in the tristate area ny ?




I read that bluebird card cannot be loaded with a vanilla gift card but with others it can


Does anyone know if you can reload the serve card online using a prepaid amex card? Or any prepaid card for that matter?

Sahir saiyad

I have copy of the email. Where can I send a picture?


@ari I believe firmly you cannot do it online.
@sahir no photo necessary, all the info is laid out above( for the most part. You could post it on Reddit.

Makir Tovah

Do “sub-accounts” count towards daily $2500 and monthly $5000 upload limits?


I know this Q is out of place, but maybe someone can help me. I want to sell someone something but they can only pay by credit card. What is the cheapest way to charge their card that I get the least percentage taken off? PayPal? Thanks in advance!


can I load with a visa master
reditcard on serve?



Did you drain your account via bank transfer? If so, is it safe to just drain it and close in the same day, or should I wait for the balance to transfer out first?

Still Confused

I’m still not clear how the Serve card functions. How do I load and cash out?


@Makir Tovah: Can you explain to me how this card works? How do I load and use it?

Por Yosef

I found out the hard way that vanilla doesn’t load at WM so what gift cards do?


@Por Yosef: 49.99 at a time works


Just got my Serve and assume that Simon cards work to load, but does anyone know about loading with other Visa cards? For example, I was able to load the RedCard with Visa cards from various issuers such as those bought off the shelf from grocery stores, etc.


just got an email yesterday from Redcard:

Subject: Important Changes to Your Target Prepaid REDcard® by American Express Account

Email content:
Funding & Transfers
You can continue to easily add money through Direct Deposit, Debit Card, and Cash Reloads at any U.S. Target store. (Reloads are not currently available at Target stores in AR and NC.)

So I’m confused – what does that mean? I thought we can’t do debit card reloads anymore! Can someone please explain?


i signed up my wife and i thru the above link. My card came as the serve vip (silver card) and my wife’s came as a blue serve card. can anyone tell me what is the difference between them?


does anyone know if you can load a rebate card w/o pin to bluebird or serve?


@Jonny It will not work


If you have visa gift cards use the on paypal. You will be able to load whatever’s on the gc onto your pp acct as funds. Then send $ or pull it out. I like to send $ to my friend acting like im paying him for a service. Then he just pulls out the cash.


Can I use the serve card to pay my mortgage bill


Can I use the serve card to pay my mortgage bill?


what happens if i refill it with a chase credit card?