Serve Visa Prepaid Card
Methods in our very lucrative hobby don’t always work out as planned. More advanced experiments can end with unintended consequences. Other activities can result in outcomes equally predictable and frustrating. I recently went through over two months of the latter. Today, I’ll describe my recent Serve Visa Prepaid Card misadventure and how I finally found resolution. But first, why bother with a Serve Visa Prepaid Card?
Serve Visa Prepaid Card Highlights
Issued by Metabank, a Serve Visa Prepaid Card works very similarly to “normal” Visa gift cards which many of us have often used to rack up big rewards. Also known as a Serve Pay As You Go, this card is not to be confused with the more traditional Serve cards we’ve used for years. Interestingly, the packaging states it is not a gift card, but don’t let that fool you. It’s a helpful product – when it works. So why bother?
The Serve Visa Prepaid Card’s activation fee is $1.50. A cardholder is also charged $1 for each purchase. If one loads $500 when the card is bought then subsequently uses the entire card for one purchase, that’s $2.50 in total fees. This effective 0.5% fee is attractive to many hobbyists acquainted with fees in the 1-1.2% range (or maybe higher).
My Serve Visa Prepaid Card Experience
Overall, I’ve had a positive experience with these cards. They’ve been generally available in my area, and I’ve purchased and used many of them. That’s until mid-November of last year. I bought one at a local Walmart, and the receipt confirmed the $500 load to the card, as usual. A day or so later, I attempted to use the card. The transaction errored out.
Checking the Card Balance
I then navigated to check the card balance online. After entering the card number and CVV, I received the above notification. Thinking I simply entered numbers wrong, I tried again. Same error, over and over. A trusted friend also tried on his computer, and he received the same error.
A Frustrating Phone Call
I learned the hard way that Serve customer service is lacking. Shocker – a live agent isn’t readily available. I entered card info based on the automated prompts, and the system said it didn’t recognize the card number and to try again. Thanks. After enough failed attempts, I was connected to a rep.
The conversation started off with a rehash of the exact same process above:
- Rep: Please provide your card number and CVV. [I provide the requested info.] Sir, we don’t recognize that card. Please check the number again and tell me the information.
- Me: This is why I’m calling. The card isn’t recognized by the Serve site or you. Please help.
- [We then get caught in a loop of the same responses for the next two minutes or so.]
- Me: What other options do I have for resolving this?
- Rep: Send an email describing the problem and provide photos of the Serve card (front and back), receipt, packaging, and your driver’s license. You’ll then receive a response from the Serve Prepaid Resolution Team with next steps.
Email’s A Big Waste of Time
I’m not including the email address in this article; I discourage anyone to seek resolution this way. Why? Because I followed the exact instructions and never heard back from the purported Serve Prepaid Resolution Team. A few weeks later, I was done waiting.
Disputing The Charge
As many of you know, Walmart receipts state that there are no in-store refunds for gift cards. To no one’s surprise, I didn’t obtain a refund at the store. I finally disputed the charge with Chase, advising them of the faulty card and other info. I received a temporary credit while they reviewed the situation. About a month later, Chase ruled in my favor, making the credit permanent. Finally, a resolution!
I’ve stayed away from these Serve cards since mid-November, and I have no plans to buy more even now that the situation has been resolved. I and many others have also recently noticed these cards are disappearing from store kiosks, anyway. Regardless, I’ll pay a bit more in fees for reliable cards. It’s silly that I had to resort to disputing the charge to resolve this. With other cards, I’ve been able to obtain at least some level of customer service. Not so with Serve. Nonetheless, I’m happy to put this one behind me. If you use Serve Visa Prepaid Cards or are considering them, be careful and consider the risks. Those low fees are great, but what I paid on the back end dealing with a bad card cancelled out much of the savings. Have you bought a faulty Serve Visa Prepaid Card? How did you resolve it?
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Dealing with this currently. Purchased with a Chase card at Speedway. I emailed 12 business days ago and no response. I stumbled upon lawyer while doing a Google search who takes these types of cases Green Dot, Serve, etc.). The lawyer works on contingency.
Did the number on the receipt match the number on the back of the card? Maybe it was a scanning glitch when you purchased it?
Yes, everything matched.
Evidently, you used a Chase card to purchase this Serve card. Were you trying to meet minimum spend on the Chase card? I can’t think of any other reason you’d do this. What am I missing?
Freedom 5x. I haven’t cared about new Chase cards for years.
This happened to me. I got the same response when I tried to check the value. I didn’t call. I was about to leave on a long trip. I just said screw it I’ll deal with it when I get back. A few weeks later I checked the balance again and it showed $500. I immediately went to the grocery store and bought my money order and it went perfectly
Wow, I guess that’s an unexpected resolution. I’m glad it worked out!