Joining the ranks of other payment processors that are taking advantage of the growing smart phone market, American Express (NYSE:AXP) recently announced its launch of a new digital payment and commerce platform that will allow its customers to send and receive money through their mobile phones.

The payment process will officially roll out a new product called Serve(SM), which is expected to allow consumers to make transactions online through on their mobile phones anywhere that American Express is accepted. The service will also allow its users to combine person-to-person money transfers, mobile payments, in-store card payments and online transactions into one account.

To help American Express with the launch of its new online service, the company will partner with three companies—Ticketmaster®, Concur® and Flipsaw®—who will now use the new product to provide offers available for Serve customers.

“A cornerstone of the long-term vision for Serve is developing partnerships with commerce, gaming, entertainment, and social networking organizations…These companies have loyal communities of customers, and we are thrilled to partner with them as we grow and expand Serve’s reach,” said Doug Schulman, the Group President of Enterprise Growth for AmEx.

How the Service Works:

Serve works by first allowing customers to set up an online account–either on the program’s official website or through their smart phone.  Once an account has been established, customers can then use the account to send and receive money from friends, pay bills and make purchases online. Customers can even set up sub-accounts with spending profiles for friends or family members. In addition, customers who Serve accounts also receive a reloadable prepaid card linked to their accounts that can be used at merchants that accept AmEx cards.

American Express indicated in its announcement of the new service that the fees associated with would be “highly competitive.” Those fees include:

  • An initial 2.9% fee to put money into your account, plus a 30c/per load, which will be discounted to 0% for cash, debit or ACH
  • A monthly $2.00 ATM cash withdrawal fee

The company said it will waive its initial 2.9% fee for new customers for the next six months.

Mobile banking and payment platforms have gained popularity with consumers with the rise of the smart phones. More than 70% percent of smart phone users use mobile banking and payment services on a regular basis, according to a Mobile Money study.

For more information about the new service or to open an account go to

Check out: Banks target Mobile Banking for their next round of Fees

Read: Financial Accounts Accessed By 30 Million U.S. Mobile Device Users in Q4 2010

Learn: American Express (AmEx) Partners With Foursquare To Link Cardholders

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  • Does anyone know if this is set to integrate with anything else?

    • Carolyn

      Hey Rob-

      It doesn’t look like Serve(SM) will be integrated with any of American Express’s other products as of yet, but the company does plan to expand its list of partners providing special offers for those that use the service. I hope this helps to answer your question.

    • Simon Zhen

      From the details provided at the American Express Serve website, the platform will act very much like PayPal.

      You’ll be able to link bank accounts, debit cards, and credit cards to your Serve account. You’ll also be able to fund it from a bank account. If you don’t have funds in the Serve account, your back-up sources will be tapped. You can spend it through the Serve card (at anywhere American Express is accepted). Money can be transferred to other Serve accounts for a fee.

      So in the end, think of Serve as a direct competitor to PayPal. PayPal has the same features and also offers a PayPal Debit MasterCard to access PayPal funds.

      • Right on. I also read that AMEX merchants will be able to get the benefits of serve right away. It mentioned ticketmaster for example, and explained how they will create a unique partnership to benefit both companies.