A few years ago, before the times of Vanilla Reloads and Bluebird, many of us (myself included) signed up for a free Serve account with American Express to take advantage of the free $25 sign-up bonus, among other Serve promotions for free money. Needless to say, that card has been collecting dust in my drawer ever since. Several people have taken the initiative to cancel their Serve accounts in order to apply for a Bluebird, but I can bet my bottom dollar that there are several readers out there who have just forgotten about Serve all together (again, myself included).
A few days ago, Serve sent out a letter that read:
“We are writing to tell you about some important changes to your American Express Serve® Account. These changes will allow us to provide you with even more value and convenience when you use your Account.
Our fees are changing:
- New Monthly & Foreign Transaction Fees: In order for us to improve existing features and continue to introduce new ones, beginning on December 3, 2013, we will charge a monthly fee of $1 and a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% on purchases made outside of the U.S. Please note, as a loyal Direct Deposit customer, your monthly fee will be waived each statement period that you use Direct Deposit.
- Free MoneyPass® ATM Transactions: We wanted to remind you that we recently announced a $0 ATM withdrawal fee at over 22,000 MoneyPass ATMs. Visit www.moneypass.com to find an ATM near you.
- Coming Soon – Free Ways to Add Cash at Retail Locations: American Express Serve customers will soon be able to add money to their Account for free at CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide and participating 7-Eleven locations. Stay tuned for more information.
See the [attached] chart for a complete list of all fees for your Serve Account.
Thank you for being a member of American Express Serve. Please review the fee changes along with the updated Consumer User Agreement by December 3rd. You don’t need to take any further action to accept the updated Consumer User Agreement. If you choose not to accept it and want to close your Account, you may call Customer Service at 1‑800‑954‑0559 — we are available 24/7. You may also close your Account online at www.serve.com. Please note, we are no longer able to accept Customer Service inquiries or requests via email.
We are dedicated to delivering you exceptional customer service, and we will continue to add new Account features and benefits to better serve you.
The American Express Serve® Team”
You might be wondering…
Should I cancel my Serve card after Small Business Saturday so that I can get a $10 statement credit?
No – Serve, Bluebird, and prepaid American Express cards do not qualify for Small Business Saturday.
If you have a zero balance on your Serve account, do they still charge the $1 monthly fee?
YES. Even with a zero balance, they will deduct $1 a month from your account, and the next time you reload, they will deduct that negative amount from your reload amount. However, if you end up canceling the card later on and you have a negative balance only due to the $1 monthly fees, (meaning you had no reloads and kept a zero balance) they will not try to bill you for it – a nice courtesy, but still not worth the hassle of keeping the card open and never using it IMHO, because after all, the card is tied to your SS#.
Are there any states that are exempt from the monthly service fee?
In fact, yes – NY, TX, and VT will not be subject to monthly service fees.
Should I just keep my account open to take advantage of future Serve promotions, if any?
Sure, you can – to each their own. I personally have not given my Serve account any attention since late 2011, so I doubt I’ll be keeping Serve promotions on my radar. It’s just easier for me to forget about it and go on with life, but that’s just me. :)
For those like me who still have an active Serve account, what do you plan on doing now that they have announced the monthly service fees?