American Express’s payment service Serve has announced that it will be available in partnership with Verizon over the coming months. The Servedigital Wallet let’s users easily make purchases via their cell phone without having to enter in lots of credit card data. The move builds on previous announcements that Verizon will integrate with Payfone’s pass through carrier billing service, which American Express has also partnered with.
Serve also offers merchants a streamlined approach for managing processing and settlement statements. Over time the system will also allow for the redemption of coupons and other offers.
From the press release:
“Our collaboration with Verizon highlights the speed at which Serve is evolving to reach a wide audience,” said Dan Schulman, group president, Enterprise Growth, American Express. “Verizon Wireless customers will soon be able to complement their busy lifestyle with a trusted payment platform that delivers a fast, flexible and secure way to manage their day-to-day mobile purchases, and together we’re taking the necessary steps to make mobile commerce a reality.”
Greg Haller, president, Enterprise & Government for Verizon Wireless, said, “Serve provides a quick and intuitive way for our customers to use their mobile service in a refreshingly convenient way. Our commitment to building the entire mobile payments ecosystem, through our Isis joint venture and now with Serve, gives customers incredible new ways to use their mobile devices.”
“This is really just a partnership announcement for now with many details to come. We don’t know exactly how many merchants will accept Serve payments. And it’s unclear what devices will ultimately support Serve payments. But it shows that Serve is preparing to be a big player that can take on PayPal for online and eventually more offline payments. Serve lets people fund a separate account with credit cards (American Express and others) and through bank accounts. Users can pay for things online with merchants who take American Express and they can also use a pre-paid card to pay for offline purchases.
For Verizon, it shows that it’s not just putting its eggs in the Isis basket. While the Isis near field communication joint venture won’t appear until next year, Verizon is working to enable other forms of payments. It’s not a bad idea because NFC will take a while to pick up momentum with consumers and merchants.
Serve is still quite young but American Express is working to make it a viable contender in the mobile payments space. It’s a reminder that the mobile payments market will be crowded with big players like PayPal, Google, the credit card companies and the carriers competing with start-ups like Square and others. This is going to be a fun and potentially confusing battle to watch over the next few years.”
From the Serve blog:
“Until now, there have been a lot of limitations on people’s ability to make purchases by entering their mobile number and or billing purchases back to the carrier. We are changing all of this with Serve’s integration onto Verizon mobile phones. Available later this year, Verizon customers will be able to purchase virtual or physical items, of any price, in just a few clicks. We are able to do this with Verizon by integrating with the capabilities of Payfone – we made a strategic investment in this high-growth start-up earlier this year.
So for example, if I wanted to purchase a new pair of shoes on my mobile phone I will be able to simply provide my phone number and pin at checkout and have the payment rolled directly to my Serve account—eliminating the need to enter lengthy personal or financial information into my mobile’s tiny interface. The Serve mobile application will also be pre-loaded on many Verizon mobile phones, helping spread the word on Serve and our P2P services.”