Sprint and AMEX Serve Up Serve

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

AMEX’s digital payments scheme Serve is now available through Sprint, and the mobile operator’s customers are now a potential market for AMEX. Serve can be used to pay an account holder’s mobile bills and to make point of sale payments where AMEX is accepted via the Serve card.

Serve is AMEX’s attempt to offer PayPal-like capabilities while leveraging its card issuance and acceptance footprint. What will be interesting to watch will be how it participates in incentives, i.e. discounts and coupons. AMEX has always excelled in serving its account holders, especially its small business account holders, with incentive programs, funded out of the higher costs it has charged merchants. With so much attention being lavished on merchants by numerous companies for that business – Google among them – AMEX will have competition (as will this entire segment) as merchants try to steer more transactions to debit.

Serve is an easy-to-use digital payment platform that unifies online, offline and mobile payment options into a single account. Serve can be funded from a bank account, debit, credit or charge card, or by receiving money from another Serve account. Sprint customers who register and qualify for a Serve account will be able to use their Serve card for making purchases at American Express participating merchants, paying their Sprint mobile bill, and in the future, for redeeming offers on goods and services. Across carriers, Serve supports Android and Apple iOS operating systems and will continue to be developed to support additional operating systems including Microsoft and RIM operating systems.

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