While browsing the web last night, I ran across an interesting article about “Serve, ” which is a new online payment service from American Express. AmEx is touting this as “the next generation digital platform, ” and it’s clearly intended to compete with PayPal. I haven’t had a chance to play with it myself (yet!), but the signup process is reportedly very easy.
As for using Serve, you can move money into your account from a bank account, debit card, or credit card, and money can also be transferred between Serve accounts. You can use your Serve account to send/receive money amongst friends, pay bills, make online purchases, etc. You will also receive a re-loadable, pre-paid card that is linked to your account for offline use at any merchant or ATM that accepts American Express cards.
There are apparently no fees for transactions between Serve users, but there are some other fees that you’ll want to know about. For starters, there’s a 2.9% + $0.30 fee to load your account with a credit, though that discounted to 0% for cash, debit, and ACH transactions. There is also a $2.00 fee for ATM cash withdrawals. Note that all fees are waived for the first six months*.
*Note: It has not escaped my attention that you might be able to use Serve to generate credit card rewards and/or break through cash back tiers, at least until the fees for funding your account with a credit card kick in.
10 Responses to “PayPal vs. AmEx Serve”
I’m not seeing any of these problems…I transfer funds from my bank account daily via debit card…no fees and yet have been charged any fees. This may change as the promotion period ends in March but compared to Paypal, I love it never have had to pay fees unlike PP.
Serve closed my account and took the $10 account opening bonus from my balance. My account has opened for about 4 months. I got email stated I violated one of their term. Can’t no longer log in.
Complete waste of time! Their site is totally confusing! They debit your money from your Checking account in 1 day but take FOREVER like 5 days to make those funds available in Serve! Serve doesnt compare to Paypal at all!!!
Because so far they havent charged any trasaction fees.
It’s limited to $250 per month from credit card though.
IMO it does end up being a waste of time since their site is confusing and there are unspoken limits.
I don’t see why anybody would use this over PayPal. Both are restrictive to credit cards (PayPal less so), both to my knowledge charge merchants the same rates (although PayPal is cheaper for them if they experience more spend), and both offer an offline card.
Why would somebody sign up for Serve when they already have PayPal?
Looks like the Terms & Conditions won’t allow you to take out a cash advance against a credit card to yourself.
Section 11 Restricted Activities
a. Restricted Activities
(7) Provide yourself or Authorized Users a cash advance from your credit card;
Would have been great though.
I believe paypal gives the same warning, no?
It looks like funding the account with a credit card would be treated as a Cash Advance by your credit card company. Can anyone confirm this?
Basically, when I started to fund with a credit card it popped up with a warning message indicating that my credit card issuer might charge a cash advance fee.
It looks like the maximums on these accounts are pretty low: just $2,500 per month. With a 1% cash back card, that comes out to $150 max over 6 months.
I had the same thought…too good to be true though, right? I’ll wait a month or two and see if they take any action to prevent abusing the system.
Practically, it sounds like paypal with fewer fees, which is great! However, until people and businesses open accounts and use them regularly too, having it myself won’t help much.