American Express Serve Review: Quicker Direct Deposit and More

Here's what the Amex Serve cards have to offer.

As the world’s largest card issuer by purchase volume, according to its website, American Express offers a variety of products and services seemingly fit for every type of customer. American Express has 112 million cards in force as of December 2017. And although many of those cards might be credit cards tied to a checking account, there are many prepaid debit cards in circulation as well.

For people who have difficulty making credit card payments or don’t want to bother with a traditional bank account, a prepaid debit card from American Express might be a great option. Here’s a breakdown of all the American Express Serve prepaid debit cards.

American Express Serve Prepaid Debit Cards Overview

Like all prepaid debit cards, the American Express Serve prepaid debit card accounts allow you to front-load all the money you need in advance. This way, in most cases, you can’t spend more than the money you have already loaded onto the card, which means you won’t incur overdraft fees. The prepaid cards are reloadable debit cards, which means you can reload or add more money to the card at available reload locations if your funds are low.

Three Amex prepaid debit card account options are available:

  • American Express Serve
  • American Express Serve Free Reloads
  • American Express Serve Cash Back

All Amex Serve accounts are FDIC-insured except for temporary cards.

Also See: Why American Express and Discover Credit Cards Aren’t Accepted Everywhere

American Express Serve Review

Out of the three cards, the basic American Express Serve card is the most popular. Some of its features include free ATM withdrawals at over 24,000 MoneyPass ATM locations, free online bill pay and free early direct deposit. Here’s how the American Express Serve card stacks up to the other two prepaid debit cards. 

American Express Prepaid Debit Cards
American Express ServeAmerican Express Serve Free ReloadsAmerican Express Serve Cash Back
Monthly Fee

(No fee in Texas, N.Y. and Vt.)

$1 or $0 when you Direct Deposit $500$4.95$5.95
Cash BackN/AN/AUnlimited 1% cash back on purchases
Cash Reloads FeeUp to $3.95$0 at over 45,000 locationsUp to $3.95
Direct Deposit Fee$0$0$0
ATM Withdrawals Fee$0 at MoneyPass ATMs
$2.50 at non-MoneyPass ATMs
$0 at MoneyPass ATMs
$2.50 at non-MoneyPass ATMs
$0 at MoneyPass ATMs
$2.50 at non-MoneyPass ATMs
Foreign Transactions Fee2.7% after conversion to U.S. dollars2.7% after conversion to U.S. dollars2.7% after conversion to U.S. dollars
Information accurate as of July 30, 2018.

A Different Kind of Prepaid Card: Bluebird by American Express Review

Pros and Cons of American Express Serve

Check out a summary of the American Express Serve’s account perks and things you should consider before signing up.

Pros of American Express Serve

In addition to the convenient offering of sub-accounts, the American Express Serve card also offers the following advantages:

Cons of American Express Serve

Before you commit to using the American Express Serve card, consider the following disadvantages:

  • $2.50 fee for non-MoneyPass ATMs
  • Fee of at least $4.99 for each money transfer
  • Money transfer daily limit of $2,500 combined for all of your Serve accounts

Check Out: Pros and Cons of Prepaid Debit Cards

Is the Amex Serve Card Right for You?

For consumers who have a lot of bills to pay and a hard time managing their finances, the American Express Serve prepaid debit account might be an ideal solution. Because you have a finite amount of money on the card before you make any purchases, then it requires you to better budget your money. Also, if you’re the sole breadwinner in your house and need access to your paycheck as soon as possible, then the free early direct deposit option on the card is a big plus.

Keep Reading: Prepaid Business Credit Cards — A Way to Control Expenses

More on Money

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some companies mentioned in this article might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings and roundups are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article. All fees and rates are subject to change at the issuers’ discretion. Some interest rates might be short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain the interest rates listed. Rates and availability might vary by region. Verify terms and conditions before opening an account. 

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been endorsed by American Express.