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American Express expands mobile payments through Verizon partnership

August 2, 2011

American Express has teamed up with Verizon to let its customers make payments and redeem offers for goods and services via their mobile devices and tablets.

Verizon phones will be powered with American Express’ mobile payment service Serve. This news comes recently after Serve was also introduced to Sprint handsets.

“Serve’s collaboration with Verizon highlights the speed at which Serve is evolving to reach a wide audience,” said David Messenger, executive vice president of the enterprise growth group online and mobile business at American Express, New York.

“This makes the mobile payment process so fast, flexible and easy that there is opportunity for direct carrier billing to be as commonplace as paying by cash or credit,” he said.

Carrier cash
In the next few months, Verizon customers will have the option to set up Serve accounts on their mobile devices.

With Serve, consumers type in a mobile number on their smartphones. Once the number is authorized, they can then make purchases directly from the screen.

Consumers using Serve can connect their payment options to a variety of payment methods, including accounts with the carrier or through a Serve account.

After opting-in, consumers receive a four-digit code to enter at checkout.

“Verizon wireless customers will be able to use Serve through BillMyPhone to purchase physical goods and virtual goods exceeding the $25 bill cycle limit,” Mr. Messenger said.

“Verizon wireless customers will be able to use Serve through BillMyPhone to purchase physical goods and virtual goods exceeding the $25 bill cycle limit,” he said.

Specific Verizon models have not been confirmed for Serve yet, but Serve will be included on most smartphones and tablets .

Additionally, Serve will also function as a mobile wallet by letting consumers use the service for more advanced payment options, including money transfers.

Virtual credit
The Verizon and American Express news is further proof that carriers must work with financial institutions for successful mobile payment programs.

For example, Isis – the joint mobile partnership between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon – recently brought on Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover as financial institutions that back the program. (see story).

Additionally, Verizon is working with Payfone for mobile payments and will therefore work with Serve as well.

“With the move to digital payments becoming the primary driver, carrier partnerships, such as the integration with Verizon Wireless, are key to the success of mobile and digital payments,” Mr. Messenger said.

“In the near future, Serve will also collaborate with Verizon to source, distribute and simplify redemption of online and mobile offers,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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