American Express Serve announced on Tuesday the addition of new money management capabilities to its reloadable prepaid account, as well as a free nationwide cash load network, designed to meet the needs of the underbanked.
New features include direct deposit, bill pay, personal financial management tools, mobile check capture and reserve, which allows customers to put money aside for future expenses.
“Unfortunately, the traditional banking system is not easily accessible to large segments of the population, making managing money cumbersome and expensive for many,” Dan Schulman, the group president of enterprise growth at AmEx, said. “We launched Serve two years ago with the simple idea that consumers needed a better way to move their money. Today, we’ve added a number of new features to make the management and movement of money more affordable and convenient for everyone.”
Data from Javelin Strategy & Research showed that 41 percent of underbanked Americans pay a fee of between $3 and $3.99 to reload prepaid cards. As part of an effort to offer cost-free services to the underbanked, beginning in November, AmEx Serve customers can receive cash-back at the register at participating CVS and 7-Eleven stores, and customers can add their paycheck or government benefits directly to their account through Serve.com
AmEx Serve will begin charging a monthly fee of $1 on Dec. 3, which is substantially lower than the average $4.57 monthly fee paid by individuals with the most popular prepaid cards. The fee can, however, be waived if the customer uses direct deposit to load their account or adds $500 or more to their account within a monthly statement period.
“We are striving to provide the best value and convenience for the underserved market,” Schulman said. “We’ve added a slew of new features to American Express Serve in an effort to build one of the most comprehensive full-service reloadable prepaid offerings available today.”