Has Serve Served You A Shutdown Notice Today?

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Numerous DDF’ers are reporting that their Serve cards have been closed today. There are also Bluebird shutdown reports as well.
The emails they got have said,

“We are writing to let you know that we have observed unusual usage patterns on your American Express Serve Account. Because of this, effective immediately, you will no longer be able to add money to your Account.1 We have made this change in accordance with Section 15.d of our Consumer User Agreement, which you can view here.

Please be aware that you continue to have full access to the funds on your Account and can withdraw them at any time. Any applicable monthly fees continue to apply.

Once your balance reaches $0, please close your Account online via your Profile page accessible here. Scroll down to the Close Account section and click Close Account.”

It’s not a surprise that they don’t like manufactured spend and there have been sporadic reports of this over the years, but today’s reports seem to indicate a large wave of shutdowns.

Somehow my account and other heavy hitters on DDF didn’t get the email, so it’s not across the board. Yet.

Did you get that email today or are you still safe? How were you loading and unloading your Serve card?

Rough day in the manufactured spend world. Good time to brush up on stores that have money order and billpay options with debit cards…

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86 Comments On "Has Serve Served You A Shutdown Notice Today?"

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Just got it. Does that mean I can never open it again?


Got one from Bluebird today.


Yep, shut mine and my girlfriends accounts down about 15 minutes ago.

Oiy veh

Anyone have luck calling to have their account fixed?


got that email at 10 am today, called with no information available. CSR took my number just in case he finds info. yeah right!!! they’re not calling us back.


Bluebird shut down.


Time to look up who voted for democrats in last years elections and open new accounts. #itsthechicagoway


Got the notice from 2 bluebird accounts. Been loading 5k/month on each at walmarts for around 2 years. Talk about withdrawal…….


So far so good


Yes! Was loading 2.5-3k per month on this card with VGC at FD and also $300/wk with via linked CSP (this was a soft serve account). Was using funds to bill pay for a variety of bills (rent, etc), not always cc.


I didn’t get the email, but I did get accused of money laundering by a Rite Aid manager. Kiddush Hashem or possible chillul Hashem? The fact that he didn’t know what he was talking about is another story, but being accused of that, isnt so cool.


Mine was shut down.
Wife’s is still good.
Both were (mis)used for MS.


i got the email i would like to know if i can close it and reopen


Did that a while back now recently I actually have been using serve in a normal way it’s supposed to be used
But I did speak last year to an exec at serve and he alluded to the fact that they were aware of questionable usage and that they weren’t liking it


Did you try loading your card online?
Even an account that didnt get the email gives the error “We’re sorry – due to unusual usage patterns on your account, loading funds to your account has been disabled.” when I tried to load $20 from an Amex.


Also just got it…but havent loaded anything in over two months!


shut down at 10:21am EST. used for visa softcard loads as well as walmart (old days) and more recently RA


4 BB accounts closed. 2 were opened and used regularly for 2+ years. The other 2 were new and opened only a few months ago. Any chance of getting it reversed?


I have $5k+ of VGC coming in within the next couple week, any alternative means to efficiently liquidate? I been using BB all this time…


impressed to see that you weren’t shut down. I’d love to know what formula they used in that case. I had 4 managed accounts shut down. 1 was less than 2 mos. old, other 3 were softserve that utilized all load/unload features available.

Gift Cards

Dan can you please give a quick over view of the cheapest ways to use up Visa gift cards? (now that it looks like serve is not an option)


I got the notice this morning. Grandfathered from Softcard, was loading 3 x $500 a month from Freedom, recently switched to BA Visa for 100K Avios bonus spend.


Also received the notice :(….are there any other options for converting credit cards to cash with no fee?


They apparently went through history and if you’ve been loading recurring amounts ($500, $500, $500, $500, etc.), then they figure you’re doing something strange. I am not sure how or why… but it’s probably back-filling from the “no gift cards” rule that everyone worked around when Gift cards were given PIN numbers.

Anyway, one idea might be to have someone else in the family open an account later… but the risk is the same if you load it with the same amount each time (so nu? change the amounts once in a while. But that’s really a pain to keep track of).

My guess is that most will be buying fewer gift cards and actually using them for things like gas and shopping… and only to meet spending requirements on new credit cards. Otherwise, this deal seems about done (at least until someone comes up with another one).


@Aaron @Gift Cards

money orders


oh well it was good while it lasted. just got my notice.


Both of my daughters’ and my Serve accounts got the shutdown notice this morning.


I did not get an email but for those who did maybe switch to BB or from BB to serve and keep a low profile for a while


Got mine. I haven’t even done that much – less than $1/month in GCs.
And of course right after I order >$1k of GCs from staples.


@Redbull3: I have had SOME WM managers tell me no gift cards. Just be away and try another store. Also probably a good idea not to get it in your own name. I get them in my wife’s name.


Is there a way to not load the full 500 from the gift card. Let’s say you have a 500 gift card and walk into wal mart and try to do a 486 dollar load and use your visa gift card. Because that will probably help avoid suspicion.


all accounts shut down at 10:22am today…. haven’t even used it this month yet….

y id

Got a BB notice of account being closed
Tried signing up for Serve (for wife) and said they cant give me account right now. Anyone else have that problem? Think they are denying household of either when one closes?


My Bluebird was shutdown. ..S#*T !!!!


Can you make a post of all the remaining manufactured spending options available with walkthroughs?


I am wondering if I close this Serve as requested & then open a BB (or

someone who had a BB & now wants to open Serve) if that would work &

going forward be more conservative?

Maybe the closing is based on usage but our ID’s are not blacklisted from the whole regime?

Dan – Your Thoughts on this


not yet

just got a serve card a few weeks ago and never uploaded (yet) I have a gift card ready to upload, dan, whats the next step? smaller amounts?


Just shut down. I only did online loads from my Citi AA Amex – $200/week automated. Spent some on Amex offers. Too bad…

Red Jenny

Yes, I got a notice saying I could no longer add funds. I’d been loading it from a Fidelity AMEX card.


Mine is shut down

cash back

@Dov: That’s what I was thinking. ya it should work to load less than the gift card. There’s always an option for cash back, maybe load your entire gift card minus 10,20,30,50 dollars cash back. each time do a different amount…


Yeah, I got the message at 10:21am EST this morning as well. I just used the card for bill pay, no other purchasing activities. Should have used serve to buy some small stuffs occasionally.


Datapoint: Shutdown. The Hobby is pretty close to dead. Bloggers are cringing


@AG: Would you like your car washed and waxed, too?


My Serve account is not allowing me to reload but I never received the email. I loaded $200 X 5 every month from a Fidelity Amex card and used it to pay bills other than that specific credit card. I guess it is the identical load amount that flagged me.


I also got the email. Through this month, loaded $1500 on Serve with softcard.


So that can die as well? Spoonfeeding kills these things.


Look on the bright side, we never have to set foot in Walmart again!


If you have not received the notice, I am afraid it’s a matte of time. I manage 5 accounts for family members, all used in exactly same pattern… credit card load and walmart load… 3 got shutdown. I haven’t tested remaining 2 but I will be running over to WM after the meeting I am to try to finish the loading remaining gift cards from staple. I’ve been looking for an excuse kick this hobby 🙁

Makir Tova

Wondering if this is an east coast thing? Anybody from the midwest or west coast get cancelled?


Just got the shutdown notice for a single Bluebird I had. Bummer. Hopefully a new avenue opens up. Like a few others said earlier, the timing is not good. Just signed up for the Fairmont card & I’m about to receive a bunch of VGCs I bought at Staples, so will need to find a way to liquidate $5K. Onward and upward, I say.


@Makir Tova
I’m in L.A., so I think it’s affecting everyone across the country. A friend of mine in Northern California also got the shutdown notice (for Serve).


I am in northern California and got notice for my Serve card. I load max 5K November and December and sent a lot of payments.


I just opened my first serve card last week, haven’t even receieved the card. Will I be able to load GC’s?


For those who didn’t get the email, also check your spam folder. For some odd reason 4 of 5 cards I manage got the email, and the fifth looked like it didn’t… until I checked the spam folder.


No idea how, but my card is still active, at Rite Aid now and have loaded $$$$ already.
Bli ayin hora…


I never got any emails and have been adding GC for a long time


Wonder what AMEX loses by our depositing the gift cards if they don’t give points on it or when we deposit from our Amex CC’s. I’m sure VISA is happy making their $6.95.


I haven’t received the dreaded email (nothing in spam folder). I just loaded $20 to my 1 VIP Serve card using my Well Fargo Gold AMEX CC to test that my account was still open – all good.

I was planning on buying $5000 worth of Simon Mall GCs this Sunday but now I am gun shy. I guess I will just buy a singl $500 GC and give it a try.

I’ve always made a RiteAid purchase after loading my Serve card. I hope that will help save me.


@Dan: LOL, Dan, how is it the 8th of the month already and you haven’t finished loading all your cards? 🙂


@HeavenlyJane: small spending won’t help anyway. I did use my Serve card for small purchase after reloading.

It's not the spending

It’s the loading



I believe you. More likely there’s Monday round of shutdown email and I’ll be included.


FUNNY they go after teh students but they dont go after the teacher


“Rough day in the manufactured spend world”. I feel horrible for all those honest bank robbers stealing from the credit card companies with manufactured spending. “But, if it was illegal they wouldn’t let us do it?”. That doesn’t pass the smell test on yom kippur and you know it. Im sure someone on this site will come up with another creative way of fraud but until then boo hoo for you.


I got a notice today.
I Used VISA gift cards to load it from couple hundred to couple thousand dollars a month, not every month. I used Bluebird for some purchases, checks writing, bill pays, etc.


For everyone:
Does 1 VIP Serve got affected? Seems it is not!


Weird. I closed my Bluebird yesterday in order to switch to Serve. Today I get an email saying my Bluebird is shut down for loads. I called and confirmed my card was ALREADY shut down. Odd. Wonder how useful my new Serve card will be.



Unfortunately, it’s a known fact that those who claim the moral high ground and criticize and demonize others (especially for things that are not necessarily immoral, illegal or unethical) are generally using all that moral high ground cr*p to hide from the world and themselves what they’re busy doing wrong. So, before you go getting up on your holier than thou soapbox, you might want to clean your own house, because G-d knows it needs cleaning.


How many of you who got shut down used it to pay off the same 1 or 2 credit cards every month? Did you load gift cards, and then almost always pay of just the ink card? I have all of my still good and we paid off 10-12 different cards ach time. Lots of 100-200 dollar payments to different accounts maybe saved us?


I received the letter and closed my account today. Do hotels–especially Hyatt/Hilton/Marriott accept debit cards at check out? I have three $200 cards. Thanks

doug h

@Fliegs: Are you a dope?


I’m safe so far, opened One VIP after Redbird died in the fall. Only loaded a few times with Vanilla VGC at FD/DG. Successfully loaded a $500 Vanilla VGC last night after all the hullabaloo. Need to hit a min spend this week so I’ll probably keep trucking. Never loaded online with Amex and usually haven’t offloaded via bill pay immediately.


@Makir Tova:

Yes, from Minnesota and bluebird got cancelled. I really haven’t used it much last year, but recently did about 1k for last 2 months at walmart. I now wish I’d used it more!!


@E&N: walmart and ride aid etc. are complaining to Amex that they are losing money with every gift card swipe. they pay a processing fee


@NotPlayingTheGame: You should also do teshuva on Yom Kippur for jealousy.


@NotPlayingTheGame: huh? The CC companies make the same whether it’s MS or regular spending? If you mean stealing from Serve? It’s not stealing if the allowed it. They could have stopped it from the beginning like PayPal did.


I got notice today.


@NotPlayingTheGame: legally making a purchase is neither theft nor fraud.


Bluebird shutdown! I primarily loaded at Walmart POS but haven’t used it in months.

so far, so good

I have 5 accounts (family) mine was the only one (so far) that got shut down. I loaded it with $5,000 a month since BB started. Will fill up the other 4 cards this week and hopefully fly under the radar. I do have a place to buy MO for .49 per $1,000, so have not completely sunk. Just will open up a few free checking accounts to spread out the MO. Good luck all


what is this “yom kipper and teshuva business


Is this thing going to stop, us from MS it is a life staple!


@cash back: cant do cash beck

intelligent blonde

@cash back:

vgc dont have cash back.. been there done that


All mine good