Walmart stores across the United States are set to begin carrying American Express Serve reloadable prepaid accounts. Customers will be able to purchase a Serve card for $1.95 in Walmart’s prepaid card section, located near the checkout stands.
New and existing Serve customers can also now load funds to the card for free at any Walmart, as the superstore is now part of Serve’s free cash reloading network. CVS pharmacy and 7-Eleven convenience stores also offer free cash reloading, as part of the Serve and InComm network. That brings Serve’s total number of free cash loading locations to 19,500.
Serve lets customers load anywhere from $20 to $500 in cash to their accounts. They can add the funds at the register at any participating CVS, 7-Eleven or Walmart store and they will be available on their cards immediately.
People can also have their paychecks directly deposited into their Serve accounts. If customers use the direct deposit feature or add at least $500 to their account during each statement period, the monthly account maintenance fee of $1 is waived.
Serve also allows customers to pay bills online, add paper checks to their account using the mobile check deposit feature on the Serve app, and withdraw cash for free at 24,000 participating ATMs.
Prepaid cards offer alternative to checking accounts
Walmart and American Express already offer Bluebird prepaid cards as an alternative to traditional banking and checking accounts. Bluebird is targeted toward the unbanked demographic: people who cannot get regular checking accounts or do not want to use traditional banking because of fees or other charges. Bluebird cards offer direct deposit, bill pay and cash withdrawals.
Serve accounts can also act as alternative checking accounts, offering many of the same features as Bluebird. One thing that differentiates Serve is the ability to set money aside in a linked “reserve” account that acts like a savings account. This is meant to encourage customers to save up for big purchases or emergency funds. Money can be transferred between the reserve account and the regular pool of Serve funds at any time.