Possible Cash Advance Fees on Serve Loads
Earlier today, Greg the Frequent Miler reported that some of his readers have been getting charged cash advance fees for Serve online loads made with their U.S. Bank credit cards. As of now it appears that only U.S. Bank is charging these fees, however I did a little digging and found something interesting.
My Personal Experience
This month I have personally done Serve loads with both a Barclay’s Arrival Plus & Citi AA Executive Mastercard. I thought I would dig into the transactions to see if I could notice anything different.
Barclay’s Arrival Plus
As you can see, everything still looks exactly the same as it has in the past. The merchant category remains the same between the transactions and the only difference between them is the date. This appears to be business as usual. Now let’s look at what caught my eye at Citi!
Citi AA Executive
While both of the Citi transactions were still treated as purchases, you can see that the merchant category changed from “BUYING/SHOPPING SERVICES CLUBS” to “POI FUNDING TRANSACTION/EX MC MONEYSEND” between the 10/6 transaction and the one on 10/8. To me, that second merchant category sure sounds like something that would be classified as a cash advance.
The Dates Matter
My last Barclay’s transaction was done on the 7th and the last Citi transaction was done on the 8th. It is possible that American Express changed their merchant category between those dates. The good news at least for now is that Citi didn’t consider it a cash advance even with the new category.
Cash Advance Limits
My recommendation is to lower your cash advance limit to $0 for any card you plan to use to load Serve. This way if the bank does classify it as a cash advance, the charge won’t go through and you won’t be hit with a hefty fee. Hopefully this is just a small hiccup, however it doesn’t seem to be. It looks to me like American Express changed the way they report Serve credit card loads. Only time will tell.
At this point we know that Barclay’s and Citi are not charging cash advance fees (yet) for Serve loads while it appears that U.S. Bank is. I am sure this story will develop over the weekend as data points come in from others in the community. Please post your experiences and data points in the comments. Greg is also asking for people to report their experiences over on his site.