For the last few years, the digital payment space has centered around one main company – PayPal. If you wanted to buy or sell things online or send online payments to friends or family members, then PayPal was one of the few available options. But that has been changing over the last few years. One of the current options which offers even more flexibility is Serve® from American Express®. Serve is a digital prepaid account that gives users a safe way to pay in stores, make online payments, and even send money via email, text message, and FaceBook. In short, it can be a game changer for how people send and receive money. Let’s take a look at the features, what it takes to open an account, and show you how you can get a $25 new account bonus when you open an account.
Serve from American Express – Features
To start with, Serve is a prepaid account that anyone can open. There are no credit checks and no monthly or annual fees. There are several ways to use this account. To begin with, you can use it like a prepaid credit card or debit card. The Serve Card is accepted everywhere American Express Cards are accepted. You can also use it at an ATM. (Serve will waive ATM the $2 fee for the next few months, but the servicing bank may still charge a withdrawal fee).
Send money via e-mail, text and FaceBook. Having a prepaid card is gives you flexibility, but these features go above and beyond. You can send and receive money through your smartphone via email, text, or through your FaceBook account. Serve also has apps for the iPhone, Android, and Windows platforms, making it easy to send and receive money on the go.
Easy to open and fund your account. Opening an account is very simple – it takes about 5 minutes, and we’ll walk you through the process. Funding is also easy – you can link a bank account, your credit or debit card, or by purchasing a MoneyPak®. Let’s take a look at the process.
Opening a Serve Account
This is the best link to open an account right now, as there is currently a $25 opening bonus for new users. Once you arrive on the page, click the “Sign up to Get Started” button and enter your info. You need to provide your basic personal information, such as your name, address, and telephone number. Serve is set up to use a physical address instead of a PO Box. You can still use a PO Box, but you will need to call their customer service at 1-800-954-0559 if you need to use one.
Serve is a paperless service, so be sure to use an email address you access frequently if you will need to check your statement often. The only thing your address will be used for is to send you the Serve card, which can be used anywhere American Express is accepted, and to send important updates. Everything else is handled electronically.
Once you fill out the above form, you need to enter your email address, date of birth, last 4 of your SSN, and create a password and PIN. Then you need to verify the application in an email they send you. The entire process takes less than 5 minutes.
Funding Your Serve Account
Serve is a digital payment system, so the easiest way to fund your account is by linking it to an online bank. You can do this quickly and easily through the interface by simply adding your bank routing and account number. Then you need to verify the account through one of two methods – a verifying a small deposit, which can take 3-4 business days, or via an instant verification. The instant verification requires you to provide your customer number and password. Since this company is operated by American Express, I feel comfortable providing this information (this is also the same process for verifying your banking information with companies and products like Mint.com).
You can also fund your account by linking it to a credit or debit card. There are no fees for loading a credit card or debit card through March 15, 2013. However, your credit card company may charge you a cash advance for this option. Be sure to verify any possible fees before choosing this funding option. And to be safe, it’s best to use an ACH transaction through a bank, which is free. Here is a list of Serve fees:
Get $25 For Opening a New Serve Account
Serve and Verizon Wireless are offering new account owners a $25 sign up bonus when they open a new account by September 30, 2012, and fund it with a minimum of $25. This is a limited time offer. Here are the details:
Offer expires September 30, 2012 and is not available to existing Serve account holders or any person that has previously canceled his or her Serve account. To receive the $25 from Serve, you must open a new Serve account (subject to approval) and add $25 or more, which must post to your new Serve account on or before September 30, 2012. In some instances, it may take several days for added funds to post to your account, so please allow sufficient time for that process to occur. Serve will provide a one-time credit to your Serve account of $25 within thirty (30) days of you satisfying the above requirements. Funds loaded via person-to-person send/receive money transactions will not satisfy the account funding requirements. Limit one (1) $25 credit per new Serve account. Subaccounts are not eligible for the credit. Offer subject to change or cancellation at any time and cannot be combined with any other offer(s).
Thoughts About Serve
Overall, it looks like Serve offers a great product in the digital payment space. It’s a flexible payment system that virtually anyone can use and a better alternative than many prepaid credit cards, which often come with high monthly or annual fees. Given that no credit check is required this is a good option for people with bad credit or no credit to get a card they can use online or at a point of sale. But it isn’t limited to people with credit issues – this card is a flexible option for sending and receiving money. It can be a great tool for freelancers, students, and anyone who frequently sends or receives money.