July 21, 2011, 10:06 AM

AmEx is serving up digital dough on the go

American Express is making its Serve digital payment service available on Sprint smartphones.

Kevin Woodward

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

The application lets consumers check their account balances and transfer money to other account holders.

Sprint Nextel customers using Android phones can now access American Express Co.’s digital payment platform Serve, which enables consumers to use their smartphones to transfer money to other individuals with Serve accounts. In addition to person-to-person mobile payments, Serve also enables e-commerce and store payments through a branded card.

Sprint consumers using Android smartphones can call up the Serve mobile application to transfer money to other Serve users and pay their Sprint bills. Serve is available in the Sprint Zone, an application to manage one’s account and access special features for all Android phones other than the Nexus S from Google and the Samsung Moment.  A separate Serve mobile app is available for those devices, a Sprint spokeswoman says.

Person-to-person transactions represent a first step toward transforming mobile phones into payment devices, with the ultimate goal being to enable purchases in stores. Serve competes with PayPal, eBay Inc.’s payments unit. PayPal started as a person-to-person transfer service in 1998. PayPal also is taking steps at the point of sale. Last year, it announced that VeriFone Systems Inc., a POS terminal maker, would be integrating PayPal acceptance into its devices.

Using Serve, a consumer can load funds from his bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards to his Serve account. Serve account holders also can use a Serve-branded card for transactions at online and bricks-and-mortar merchants that accept AmEx.

Serve has been available for users of Apple Inc.’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. AmEx says development continues on versions for smartphones using Windows Mobile and BlackBerry mobile operating systems. 



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