NerdWallet’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0
The American Express Serve prepaid debit card offers helpful features without hidden fees. There are three different versions of the Serve prepaid debit card: the basic Serve (reviewed here), Serve Free Reloads and Serve Cash Back.
The bottom line
- A low-fee alternative to a traditional bank account.
- A feature that lets you set money aside for future goals.
- A large ATM network that allows free withdrawals.
|Purchases and withdrawals|
Read on for more details about the Serve card’s fees and services.
4.5 / 5.0
The American Express Serve prepaid debit card has some of the lowest fees compared to other prepaid debit cards. Over a year, the monthly maintenance fees add up to just $12. For residents of New York, Texas or Vermont, it’s free.
Purchases and withdrawals
4.5 / 5.0
While other prepaid debit cards might charge fees to make certain transactions or withdrawals, the American Express Serve card doesn’t. You have the freedom to do more without the excessive fees.
3.5 / 5.0
You can avoid fees by using electronic features to reload the card. You can load cash for a fee at thousands of locations: CVS, Dollar General, Rite Aid, Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven.
4.5 / 5.0
The Serve card offers many free features that other prepaid cards charge for. For example, it offers “reserve,” which is similar to a savings account that allows recurring transfers to build toward a future goal.
Cardholders aren’t charged for adding or transferring money to “subaccounts” for their kids or another payee, replacing cards or other services listed below.
Many options, straightforward fees
If you want to avoid fees completely, the BlueBird prepaid debit card by American Express is also a good option.
Weigh the options and choose the prepaid card that makes sense for you. If you decide to go with an AmEx Serve card, skip the purchase fee and order your card online for free.
Updated Nov. 30, 2016.
NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each category: general account fees, transactions and funds access, reloads and other services. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include fees, ATM access, reload options, breadth of merchant acceptance, account features and limits, user-facing tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to prepaid debit card ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.
What the ratings mean:
— Among the very best
— Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
— Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
— Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
— Poor; proceed with great caution
(or below)— Best to avoid