Poll: Was Your Serve Or Bluebird Card Closed?

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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?

[poll id=”12″]

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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:

[poll id=”10″]

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98 Comments on "Poll: Was Your Serve Or Bluebird Card Closed?"

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Mark

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

Anonymous

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

Fafa123

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.

Other option

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

Also

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

Makir Tova

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.

Stewart

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.

comment

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…

jim

My bluebird was closes, apparently due to inactivity.

I then opened a Serve.

ah

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

Work-for-ur-muny

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

Yingerman

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

Dan

@ah:
Your spouse can vote as well.

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

DT

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.

REI

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.

ah

@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 ???

G

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)

Sholom Rapoport

@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?

Mark

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.

Charlie

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?

Moshe

@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 :).

moshewoodmere

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

Michael

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

mechayamom

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.

moe

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

Welder

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.

Airsick

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.

Bill

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

Shimon

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

Shmelke

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

Chraina

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?

Dan

@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.

Mark

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

peldow

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.

Dan

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

DT

Wife’s Serve $7000 balance closed

Mu Serve $450 balance closed

Both fully loaded every month.

Q

Dan, what’s next f minimum spend?

RV3

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).

GJ

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.

Miles geek

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

Mark

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

BothofUs2

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

CtownBin

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.

CtownBin

@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.

Sue

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.

Tjp74

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.

Bluebird

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

GJ

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

David

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.

David

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

Anonymous

@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.

Dan

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?

Barryg

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.

Howard

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.

Noam

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?

mh

@ 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!

Ken

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?

laptoptravel

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…

Duvid

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 ?

Fay Fay

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

lenny

@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?

Duvid

@lenny why don’t you try rite aid

today

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

KDI

My Serve account was closed today as well.

Ari

Shut down today!!!!!! 🙁 🙁 🙁

It seems Amex is now auditing and shutting accounts monthly

username

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

hvaces42

Just loaded this morning no issues

Moishe

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

josh

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

Tzvi

@Dan did you survive?

Ari

@Dan your Serve still kicking?

hvaces42

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

Seminars

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

Dumb

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

tovi

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

Dan

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

@tovi:
No.

Yis1

@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

Gary

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.

Mountain Man

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

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

Mountain Man

@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.

Moshe

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

Yis1

@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?

username

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

Heavenlyjane

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?

iahphx

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.

maifriend

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.

HM

All cards still alive.

yy

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).

Shloime

Any place near Lakewood to buy money orders?

jack

i was close even i hade money insight

jame

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

Eric setton

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

mike

@CtownBin: mine was not abused and was closed

Trying to get it

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

Mike L

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

Ikey

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.

Danny

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

Gene

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

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