How to Use American Express Serve Bill Pay

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Now that you can use gift cards to load American Express Serve accounts at Family Dollar, Million Mile Secrets’ readers have been asking how Serve works and what you can do with it.

Like Bluebird, Serve can be used to pay bills online.  You can pay any bill, including mortgages, car loans, student loans, utilities, and credit cards.  You can even pay individuals, like your landlord, handyman, or kid’s music teacher!

And since you can load Serve with gift cards bought with a miles and points earning credit card, this means that you’ll get miles and points paying bills that can’t normally be paid with a credit card.

Serve Bill Pay

You Can Use Serve to Pay Any Kind of Bill or Even People!

How Does Serve Bill Pay Work?

Link:   American Express Serve

Serve allows you to pay a business (like a bank or utility) or an individual person.  Many common businesses, like credit card companies, banks, telecom companies, and utilities are already pre-registered.  This means that Serve can transfer money to them electronically rather than sending them a paper check.

Serve Bill Pay

Serve Has Many Pre-Registered Payees They’ll Send Money to Electronically, Including Banks and Credit Card Companies

For businesses that aren’t pre-registered, or for individuals, you can enter the payee’s details (account number, address, and phone number) and Serve will mail them a check.

It takes 2 days for pre-registered business to receive payment, and 4 days for other businesses or individuals.  And as long as you pay a bill at least 6 days before it’s due, Serve guarantees that payment will arrive on time.  If it doesn’t, they’ll cover any late payment charges, to a maximum of $50 per bill.

How Do You Add a Payee?

Once you log-in to your Serve account, select “Pay Bills” from the “Pay and Transfer” pull-down menu.

Serve Bill Pay

Find the “Pay & Transfer” Menu Then Select “Pay Bills”

Then, from the Pay Bills page, select “Pay a Bill.

Serve Bill Pay

Select “Pay a Bill” to Add Payees or Pay Existing Payees

Pay a Pre-Registered Business

You can add a business or a person.  For businesses, you can search to see if your payee is already pre-registered with Serve.  I searched for Citi and it returned lots of results.

Serve Bill Pay

Enter the Name of Your Payee In the Search Box to See If It’s Registered

Once you’ve found the business you want to pay, you’ll be prompted to add a nickname for the bill and your account number.  Then you can save and pay the bill.

Serve Bill Pay

Add Your Account Number and Nickname for the Payee If Desired

After adding the payee, you’ll have the option to pay a bill right away or come back later and pay.  You’ll just need to enter the amount and a memo if you wish.  Serve will also advise you of the delivery date at the bottom of the screen.

Serve Bill Pay

Enter the Amount You Want to Pay and a Memo If Needed

Pay a Non-Registered Business

If the business you’re paying isn’t pre-registered with Serve, or if you’re paying an individual, you’ll have to enter the payee’s address details and your account number if required.  For example, I searched for “Joe’s Lawnmowing” and it’s not a registered payee.

Serve Bill Pay

You’ll Be Prompted to Add Details for Non-Registered Payees

Fill in the payee’s nickname (optional), address, account number, and telephone number.  Then, when you pay this business, Serve will send them a paper check.

Serve Bill Pay

Add Your Payee’s Details Including Address and Phone Number

Then, when you’re ready to pay a bill, you can enter the amount and a memo just like with a pre-registered business.  But it takes 2 days longer to pay because they’ll send a paper check.

Serve Bill Pay

Payments to Non-Registered Businesses Take 2 Days Longer Because They’re Mailed

Pay a Person

Much like paying a non-registered business, you can pay a person by entering their name, address, and phone number.  Serve will also send them a paper check when you pay them.

Serve Bill Pay

Add Your Payee’s Personal Details Including Address and Phone Number

When you pay a bill, you’ll be able to enter the amount and a memo.  As with non-registered businesses, because they’re sending a paper check, Serve takes an extra 2 days to pay the bill.

Serve Bill Pay

You Can Pay Your Babysitter, Handyman, Music Teacher, or Landlord

Note:   If the person you want to pay also has a Serve account, it’s much quicker to do a direct money transfer.

Once you’ve added a payee into the system, you don’t have to re-enter their details again.  The next time you log in and select “Pay Bills,” a list of payees you’ve already set up will appear.

Serve Bill Pay

You Won’t Have to Re-Enter Payees Info Once You’ve Set Them Up

Bottom Line

You can pay any bill to a business or person using American Express Serve‘s bill pay feature.

Many payees are already pre-registered in their system, and Serve will pay these businesses electronically so payments take 2 days.  For non-registered businesses or individuals, payments take 4 days because Serve mails a paper check.

In either case, as long as you pay a bill at least 6 days before it’s due, Serve guarantees it will be paid on time (and will cover up to $50 in late fees if it’s not!).

What do you think of paying bills with Serve?

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28 responses to “How to Use American Express Serve Bill Pay

  1. Thanks for the overview D. I have searched online, and tried to find it with FT, but I can’t seem to find the max that you can direct a personal payment to an individual with without raising red flags. With BB I always kept this under 2k, and didn’t have any issues. I suspect Serve keeps this vague intentionally.

    As a general warning to those who may be new. Serve has awful customer service, as did Bluebird, and you basically need to go into this asking yourself: Am I ok with potentially having $1,000 tied up for “account review” at any given time? If not, stay away.

  2. Agreed SERVE SUXS- period

  3. @Brian B
    What do you mean? Why/when would they tie up your money for “account review”? I used Bluebird a lot for Vanilla Reloads and then paying off bills such as credit cards, mortgage, etc without any issues. The only time I needed to call customer service was to cancel my Bluebird recently so I can apply for Serve.

  4. I’ve been using Serve for just over a month, and have been pretty satisfied. I love being able to pay my student loan via credit card through Serve, and transferring/receiving half of the rent each month through Serve is nice as well. It’s been great for MinSp, esp as AP is going away.

  5. Can you schedule payments to be made every month?

  6. From what I can see, you can set a recurring transfer to Add Money to your account each month, but I don’t see a mechanism to see a recurring bill payment each month.

  7. I made the mistake of being up wayyyy past my bedtime one night and mistakenly used bill pay service to pay the card I use to load my Serve and have been unable to load funds since. Am I blocked using this card forever or something a simple call will fix?

  8. ttn32- I would warn you about customer service at Bluebird. I have found it was by far, the worst bank I have ever dealt with. When I wasn’t getting anywhere with them thru India, they could not put me thru to USA. Then, they never did respond to my email complaint. I had to spend a lot of time searching for a portal to actually email them, but now I see why it is well hidden. I can only speak for my experience; I had to give up and have them close the acct and send me a check for the balance.

  9. @ttn32 -> Why would you do that? Don’t pay back the CC you use for serve, then they would think that you’re using it only for that purpose, to make $10, gain 1000 miles or points. What you can try is register your bank account and send loans through it, just for the time being. Don’t just pay CC, pay utility, car, mortgage, others, etc…Be smarter.

  10. I mean to say transfer $$ from your bank account.

  11. I have to add a data point regarding miserably poor customer service with BlueBird, as I’ve now unfortunately had a bad experience with them. I used BB to pay my (fortunately small) balance on a Citi ThankYou Premier card. BB said that the payee received the funds, but this was never reflected on my Citi account balance, and I had to pay it a 2nd time from my checking out in order to avoid a missed payment deadline. I initiated inquiries, but BB would only ever provide me a check # they claimed was used. They could never tell me whether payment had been electronic or via paper check, and were unable to furnish “the documents they relied upon in making their determination” despite having sent me a form-letter email advising that I could request such. Citi, too, was deficient, in not being able to locate the account to which the payment must have been erroneously applied, despite having the supplied “check #”. I found this appalling, consider modern data processing, not to mention Federal Reserve standards for payment processing. This money just vanished, and I’ve had to accept that it’s lost and waste no further time on it (except for writing this blurb). Fortunately, it was only a payment for US$ 33 or so; had it been more, I’d be feeling a lot of pain. But this soured me on BB. I just can’t trust it anymore. Between that and how difficult it is to use anymore w/ credit cards, I’ve emptied the account. I’ll also be closing the Citi TY card once I’ve transferred all my points out. I won’t be paying $125 annual fee for disinterested, ineffective issue resolution like this.

  12. On another note (unrelated, except that it has to do with an AmEx credit product): I was just approved the other day for an AmEx Platinum (targeted offer), and have a $3,000/3-mos. minimum spend to meet. I’m thinking of paying off my brother’s car loan to take care of a little over 2/3 of that. Was debating Amazon Payments if I can make the deadline, or simply use PayPal and accept the 3% surcharge (not bad; my brother will eventually pay me back on the loan, so my cost will only be the 3% over time). My question is, will AmEx treat Amazon Payments and/or PayPal charges as 1) valid toward the minimum spend requirement on a Platinum card and 2) NOT treat either as a cash advance? I would think especially PayPal would not be likely to be viewed as a cash advance, but wish his loan as a viable candidate for meeting minimum spend, I want to be sure to play my cards right so that I can be sure that it does. Thank you for any insight anyone can provide!

  13. Helpful post Daraius, thanks. I hadn’t realized you could use Serve to pay individuals before.

    I’m wondering though, can we use serve to pay legitimate tax bills? With BlueBird, I use their provided checks to pay local property, state/federal income tax bills…. I’m guessing it wouldn’t work to have Serve pay tax authorities? Or could we?

  14. Rendering a guess at my own question, those with Serve may still be only able to pay official tax bills with “Official Payments” … and that web site squirrels away their “convenience fee” data — 2.5% or more per transaction. (non-starter)

    Again, anybody know other ways to write checks to taxing authorities using Serve? If “official payments” is the only way, I’ll stay with BlueBird (reluctantly).

  15. What is the difference between Bluebird and Serve? I’ve had BB for 2 years, and a couple of times have had the unfortunate experience mentioned about where a payment I made “disappeared”. It’s an issue with cards from the same bank – like American Express (Starwood, Delta Skymiles), etc. and PO boxes.

    Can I have both? I’d like to try out Serve before I ditch BB.

  16. Is there a way to use this if you don’t have access to a Family Dollar store? Can it be used totally on-line?

  17. daraius – prolly a silly Q, but for ex the account number what do you put in there? if I’m paying off a Citi card – do I just put in my 16 digit CC number? or do I have to go look up my statements and find a specific account number?

    also in the ex above, you chose “Citi Cards” which ties upto your Citi Exec card. however, in the drop down there are a few other Citi CC options such as “Citibank Credit Card” etc. so how do you know which is which, as in which actually corresponds to the payer you intend to pay off? or does that not matter once you enter your account/CC number, that the system will auto match everything up and send it where it needs to go?

    just a bit confused about this, I plan to only use Serve BP to pay off CCs. but wanna make sure I do it right instead of sending money off into the abyss. and ofc I’d do a small payment first just to see if everything posts ok but still a heads up in the right direction would be great. thanks for any insights!

  18. @Adam, I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you, but I’ve wondered the same thing about their being more than one Citi entry in the Payees selection. One or two were obviously for things like car loans instead, but I recall their being ambiguity about which was “right” for paying my credit card. I’ve wondered if my missing payment was due to having selected the wrong one. But what’s odd is that I had paid one other Citi card in the past successfully, and used the same selection for the payment that disappeared (albeit a different card/acct. #), so I’m not sure there is any rhyme or reason in what happened in my case. But you raise an interesting point, so let’s hope Daraius or somebody else in-the-know can clear it up. Might be too late for me this time, but would be greatly helpful to others going forward!

  19. @Ed L – thank yo for the info. My acct is still open just can’t load my CSP.

    @JC – thank you as well. It was a bonehead mistake as I usually just transfer the funds to my bank acct. I’ve increased my regular spending on the serve so they’ll see I use it as intended and hopefully they’ll remove this restriction. If not I’ll have to try and add a different card and see if the issue still exist.

  20. Remember that it is only a wash because while one pays his//her mortgage with Serve loaded from CC earning miles, one has also to pay his/her CC bill as well. From where? The answer is from the “mortgage money” in your checking account which means it is only fictive that you pay mortgage as you can pay your CC with Serve as well. Be careful not to pay CC you used to load Serve.
    Just my 2 cents.

  21. So you’re saying I can use a credit card (not Am Exp) to load Serve, then use Serve to pay off the bill? Is there a maximum number of bills that be paid each month with Serve? Only $1,000 per day can be put into the account? Any way to increase this? It would be great if you could please clarify for us rookies. Thank you.

  22. I contacted Serve and they indicated adding gift card balances is not a reloadable option.

  23. If I use my C.C. to load my serve account will it be considered a cash advance? If that’s the case it might be useless.

  24. I am wanting to cancel my Serve account to open a RedBird account. I last issued two checks to pay bills from my Serve account. Those checks have already been issued and the amounts have been deducted from my account.

    If I cancel the Serve card and those checks have not yet been deposited by the payees, will the checks still work and not bounce? Thank you all for your advice!

  25. Will the Serve bill pay work even if my utility company does not accept American Express online, in person, or over the phone? My utility companies are pre registered payees with Serve but they do not accept American Express.

  26. if i load my serve with my amex gold i don’t get points on it because it wasn’t hard swiped. i thought this website was about tricks for gaining points and miles on your amex card and this was a way to do it. but i called my amex and they said no points are given to me for transferring money onto serve so i can pay my mortgage and rack up major points…am i missing the “secret” here on million mile secrets???

  27. Kisia,

    Serve can mail a check to anyone including your utility, so yes.

  28. How do i go to online banking. For my account