American Express Serve Prepaid Debit Card
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.
With a low, avoidable monthly fee, the basic Serve card will likely be the top choice of the three for most people. If you’re looking for an alternative to a bank account, this card offers many of the same services and features.
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.
4.0 / 5.0
The American Express Serve prepaid debit card has some of the lowest fees among prepaid debit cards. Over a year, the monthly maintenance fees add up to just $12. For residents of New York, Texas or Vermont, there is no monthly fee.
Purchases and withdrawals
4.5 / 5.0
Serve charges fewer transaction fees than many prepaid debit cards. There are multiple ways to spend your balance without paying fees.
» Check out other American Express prepaid options: NerdWallet’s Bluebird review
4.5 / 5.0
You can avoid fees by using electronic features to reload the card. And you can load cash for a fee at thousands of retailer locations, including: CVS, Dollar General, Rite Aid, Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven.
4.5 / 5.0
The Serve card offers many features for free that other prepaid cards charge for or don’t offer at all. 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 a long list of other services.
» Is prepaid right for you? What you need to know about prepaid debit cards
Still curious about the other Serve cards?
Compare the costs for the three Serve cards below.
|Serve||Serve Free Reloads||Serve Cash Back|
|Monthly fee||$1 (waived with $500 monthly direct deposit)||$4.95||$5.95|
|Unlimited 1% cash back?||No||No||Yes|
|Cash reloads||Up to $3.95||$0 at more than 45,000 retail locations, including CVS, Dollar General and Walmart||Up to $3.95|
Many options, straightforward fees
The American Express Serve prepaid debit card has low fees and many helpful services.
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.
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