For the longest time you could only get one prepaid American Express account per social security number. If you had a Serve or Bluebird card tied to your name & SSN and you wanted to also get Prepaid REDcard (Redbird) for Target shopping discounts or its other benefits
, you couldn't register for it unless you first closed your other Amex prepaid account. This "one Amex prepaid account per user" restriction has now been lifted.
Is this change confirmed?
Yes. A couple of people who got their temporary Prepaid REDcard
from NoonRadar.com had stumbled on it and notified me about the change. I waited on posting about this until they confirmed that they were able to register for and receive their permanent Prepaid REDcard even though they had a current Serve or Bluebird account on their name.
Are there any limitations for having multiple prepaid accounts?
When you go to register for Prepaid REDcard (see picture above) the American Express website states that for the time being you can't transfer money from and to your Amex prepaid accounts to other people with such accounts. Here's the exact verbiage:
Have Serve or Bluebird Account? Users with more than one Account are unable to send and request money from other users and deposit money by check through our app while we make improvements to our site.
This restriction seems to be temporary while Amex works on improving their prepaid platforms. This on itself is good news because it indicates that the Amex prepaid cards are here to stay.
The same language now appears wen you go to register for Serve
. There is no dedicated mobile app yet for Prepaid REDcard, but based on a couple of pieces of information American Express has been working on developing one. There's no confirmation yet as to when/if Amex will materialize this project as far as releasing the app publicly.
You can register with the same email & phone number as your existing prepaid Amex account
If you currently have Serve or Bluebird under your name & social security number and you want to also register for Prepaid REDcard
(Redbird), during the online registration process use the same email and phone number that you have on your Serve or Bluebird profile (you can see this when you login if you click on Settings and Profile). I did test this myself and the registration was approved automatically and instantly. The same applies if you already have Prepaid REDcard and want to also get Serve or Bluebird.
Due to technical glitches, last year (2015) when people were closing one prepaid Amex account to register for another one, they were having issues when using the same email address and phone number on the new account as what they had on the old one. For that reason the advise given then was to use a different email address & phone number. This issue has now been fixed by Amex so there's no need to do that anymore.
Be mindful of shutdowns: Don't lose sight of your long-term savings venues
If you're going to also register for Serve and /or Bluebird so you can use them for MS (manufactured spending) and churning credit cards, keep in mind that you risk being banned from all prepaid American Express accounts. That includes losing your Prepaid REDcard and all the things you can do it with as well as the ability to register for it antyime soon.
Since late last year, Amex has closed in waves many Serve and Bluebird accounts and the closures were often followed by banning the account holder (social security number) from any prepaid Amex cards. The one account activity these mass closures and black-listings had in common was loading these prepaid cards with VGC (visa gift cards), which is often done to increase credit card spending to get more rewards. Based on data points being reported there doesn't seem to be a clear pattern of what is safe MS usage with these prepaid Amex cards, but consistent high volumes of such activities month after month is likely one of the triggers.
How do you know if your prepaid Amex was closed and you were banned?
The closures are usually signaled by an email sent from Amex, but the most reliable indicator is the fact that you can no longer load money to your account. For some time after the closure Amex seems OK with letting people have access to unload/spend these funds and also login online to see and download statements and activity.
American Express will not tell you that you are blacklisted/banned, you only find out when you attempt to register online for one of their prepaid accounts. In such cases people often see a message saying something like ‘Unfortunately we cannot approve you for an American Express Prepaid REDcard/Serve/Bluebird Account right now’. I don't have too many data points on how long the banning lasts in these cases. Last year, a couple of people that were previously banned told me they were able to register for a Prepaid REDcard. In both cases the previous account closure followed by blacklisting had happened over two years in the past.