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AmEx Digital Wallet Gets Upgrade

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American Express is planning to overhaul its Serve mobile payment platform considerably in the near future, which includes adding all of its prepaid card products to the service. In fact, the product was originally launched to Serve, which was originally planned as a type of account that was targeted specifically to consumers who would otherwise not be able to qualify for AmEx credit cards or charge cards.

When Serve was originally released, AmEx also started issuing other prepaid cards which bore fewer fees, the report said. But soon, all the company’s prepaid products will fall under the Serve umbrella.

Serve will also be able to be used in much the same way as other digital wallet payment platforms, in that it could be used at the point of sale to make purchases. Similar to eBay’s plans for rolling its PayPal purchasing platform into brick and mortar stores, consumers will be able to key the phone number associated with their Serve accounts into a touchpad, then enter a PIN code, to verify a transaction. Other purchase authentication plans are in the works as well.

“We will turn our platform from a digital payments platform to a digital payments and commerce platform,” Dan Schulman, group president of enterprise growth for American Express, told American Banker.

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In addition to these changes, Serve will also soon offer consumers more benefits for using it, including exclusive deals granted through the program itself, as well as the ability to attach loyalty rewards programs to the accounts. Once those plans are in place, AmEx also plans on introducing money management tools that will allow Serve users to have better control over their accounts.

Consumers being hesitant to adopt alternative payment methods is often cited as one of the largest hurdles to widespread adoption of digital wallet programs. The companies offering these programs hope that by offering greater benefits, consumers will see the quality of the services they provide. Experts expect the mobile payment industry will be worth as much $44 billion per year by the end of 2015.

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