Amex Express Checkout: Joining the Checkout Fray Using Online Account Credentials for Payments

by Tim Sloane 0

This AdAge article covers the announcement that American Express will join the fray with a online checkout solution that leverages the cardholders user ID and Password associated with their American Express online account:

‘American Express is moving into digital payments with a new service called Amex Express Checkout, which allows members to quickly make online purchases using their American Express logins.

The space is packed with competing platforms like Visa Checkout and digital wallets such as MasterPass and Google Wallet, but the hassle of managing those services can prevent consumers from signing up and sticking with them, according to AmEx.

Like Visa Checkout, Amex Express Checkout is not a digital wallet. Customers don’t have to create a new login and manually connect their credit cards as they do on MasterPass and Google Wallet. In fact, AmEx members don’t have to enroll in the service at all, which is what sets the platform apart from other services. When it launches today, all U.S. cardholders with accounts — tens of millions of members — will automatically be able to use the platform with their existing login information.

“The biggest hurdle to get a consumer to set up an account is to get them to do exactly that” — set up an account, said Leslie Berland, exec VP-digital partnerships and development at AmEx. “What we have is something different that only we can do. … There is nothing new [consumers] have to think about and nothing new they have to do.”

The platform will fill in consumers’ payment details once they sign in to Amex Express Checkout on a participating retailers’ online shopping cart.

AmEx is unique in the financial services category in that it issues all of its own cards and therefore has direct online relationships with consumers. Visa and MasterCard issue their own cards as well, but they also issue cards through banks like Chase and TD Bank. In those instances, cardholders have online accounts with the intermediary banks rather than the card issuers.

We wonder how many consumers will recognize that they are already enrolled and then utilize the American Express Checkout button. And of those that do, will they remember their user ID and Password for the Amex web site? If they have three Amex accounts (personal credit, prepaid, business card), will they be confused as to which is which? Answering these will help identify the volume of consumers likely to attempt to use this service and the percent that might then abandon the cart. It is worth noting that Amex claims that a reduction in cart abandonment is the primary benefit for merchants.

Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group

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