Don’t Make This Amex Serve Mistake

Amex Serve, cousin of Bluebird, in many respects works like a checking account. It has robust bill pay and each account has an account and routing number for direct deposit. But it is not a true checking account. The direct deposit information screen clearly says, “This information can only be used for adding money into your Account with Direct Deposit. It cannot be used to pay bills on external sites.”

Amex Serve Direct Deposit

At some point I put the account information in a secure note and forgot about the warning. I thought why wait a few days for outgoing bill pays to arrive when I could just add it to my credit card online payments as a checking account. A rejected payment each for wife and I, one costing a $26 returned payment fee, I have been reminded of the warning. Don’t make my mistake. Only use bill pay from within Serve.

Why get Serve? Many reasons, though for the lazy or efficient, an attractive feature is that the regular version allows $1,000 credit cards loads per month at $200 per day. If you have the right phone, the Serve with ISIS version is $1,500 (not that ISIS). The loads are treated as purchases rather than cash advances by the major issuers, though loads with Amex cards do not earn points.

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  • Shannon

    I wonder why any brand still so stupid to carry ISIS on their product these days?

  • Thanks for the warning Stefan, I’ve done that with other cards, but not Serve. Good to know now 🙂

    P.S. Are you going/speaking at any other upcoming travel conferences?

  • ffi

    So if the next terror organization calls itself IBM, we should rename IBM
    or
    rather if the next one calls itself USA, we need to rename us to a different name?

  • Nathan

    I did this in the very beginning when I first had a bluebird account. I thought it would be a nice way to pay my rent with Vanilla reloads because my landlord had an online setup that allowed bank transfers. However, the payment didn’t go through and my landlord charged me a $35 fee for a returned payment. That was frustrating and embarrassing.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Grant – at FTU Advanced in Sep and Chicago Seminars in Oct, will I see you at either/both?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @ffi – the ‘ISIS’ thing is a branding headache for a not well estalished brand. If terror group named as IBM they would just be laughed at. There is something, it seems, about the ‘with’ on the branding that is unusual so it makes one take notice, and unfortunately first to mind for most people will be the terror organization when they hear ‘Serve with ISIS.’ Now that they are moving to ISIL and who knows what maybe that will get diffused.

  • I will be at FTU Advanced, Chicago Seminars, #westcoastdo, and Las Vegas. I’ll see you at the first 2 🙂

  • Adam

    Can you transfer money from your serve account back to your checking account?

  • John

    Don’t use Serve at all, a miserable, thieving organization. Just look at the D BBB ranking. They are notorious for rejecting transactions while holding the money for weeks, for stealing money and for various other crimes.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Adam – not directly that I am aware. You could send a payment to yourself using one of the other methods like bill pay but there are limits on that.

    @John – fortunately my experience has so far been the opposite. Important to always be watchful with all financial accounts.