Review: American Express Serve

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As long as you're not trying to build your credit score, this low-fee prepaid card can be a great alternative to a credit card.

This post comes from Logan Abbott, editor of the credit cards section of MyRatePlan.com.

Sometimes you need the convenience and versatility of a credit card, but don’t want to deal with fees, credit checks, and all the other things that come along with applying for a credit card. With the American Express Serve card, you get a card that can be used like any credit card, but the funds are preloaded by you online.

Advantages

  • No credit checks or credit history required for approval. Unlike a credit card, the American Express Serve is a prepaid card, so it does not require a credit history or credit check for approval.
  • $50 bonus eligibility. Cardholders can earn $50 just by enrolling in direct deposit before the end of September.
  • Purchase protection. Cardholders’ purchases are protected from theft or accidental damage for 90 days.
  • Roadside assistance. American Express will provide emergency roadside assistance to cardholders traveling in the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico.
  • Entertainment access. Cardholders get exclusive access to select events, tickets and shows.
  • Global Assist services. Cardholders are able to phone American Express Global Assist for emergency medical, legal or financial help when traveling more than 100 miles from home.
  • No annual fee. There is no annual fee to use the card. In fact, unlike many other prepaid cards, Serve is not loaded with fees. For instances, it has no activation or monthly fee. ATM use is also free if other conditions are met.
  • Digital features. Does someone owe you money? Serve offers “safe ways to digitally split the bill, pay someone back or collect money from friends using email, text, or our free mobile and Facebook apps,” the card’s website says.

Disadvantages

  • Does not report to major credit bureaus. Because this is a prepaid card, it doesn’t report to the major credit bureaus, which means you can’t build your credit by using this card.

Bottom line

Get it if: You want the convenience and versatility of a credit card without the hassles associated with using a credit card.

Forget it if: You want a traditional credit card, you want a rewards program, or you want a card that will help you build a good credit history and credit score.

Follow Logan Abbott on Google+

This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program. Also note that any terms, rates or other features described in this article can change without notice. Always double-check everything with the issuer before applying for any credit card.

Stacy Johnson

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