Serve Online Payments Gives Paypal Run for the Money

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A new digital payment platform Serve, American Express’ answer to PayPal, is now available in the U.S., making it possible to add, send, spend and receive funds more effortlessly online.

Once a Serve account is set up via website, or by way of an iOS or Android smartphone app, users can deposit funds from credit and charge cards, bank accounts or debit cards. Rather than juggle multiple forms of currency, it’s then possible to quickly pay bills, buy items or transfer money to (or receive payments from) friends online. A reloadable prepaid card linked to the account, usable at merchants and ATMs that accept American Express cards, will also be given to all subscribers.

Serve hopes to make online shopping via PC or smartphone less obtrusive by centralizing digital purchases and payments in a single all-purpose account, saving you from juggling multiple payment solutions. Options to access the service via mobile devices and Facebook also clearly speak toward the platform’s determination to make convenience a watchword in an era of hyperactivity and mobility.

In addition, loyalty rewards programs are  planned, including a just-announced partnership with Ticketmaster, which “will offer Serve as a platform for customers to make and collect payments toward ticket purchases from other customers.” Multiple widgets (sharable software programs) compatible with the payment platform are also due for release, allowing for charitable donations or giving enterprising bands and promoters the option to sell branded goods and merchandise through social networks.

“Serve is a new type of payment platform that isn’t tied to a single card or mobile operating system. It’s a flexible, easy to use platform [that] gives consumers an option to shop online and offline at millions of merchants,” said Dan Schulman, Group President, Enterprise Growth, American Express. “We intend to quickly evolve the Serve platform by adding new features and functionality.”