Amex and Sprint to Deliver 'Serve' Mobile App

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In a move that beefs up its reach into the card industry as it battles ISIS to build a telecom-driven mobile payments network, Sprint has become the first carrier to link to American Express' Serve.

Serve's mobile wallet application will be made available in the Sprint Zone to Sprint customers using select Android smartphones. Sprint Zone is an application Sprint offers its customers to pay bills, manage their account and check voice and data usage from their mobile device.

Serve is a cloud-powered digital payment platform that combines online, offline and mobile payment options in a single account, with uses including person-to-person payments, bill payment and online purchases. Serve supports the Android and Apple mobile operating systems and will be further developed to support Microsoft, RIM and others.

Serve's model is similar to PayPal in that consumers set up an account that is funded by an existing card account. Users can also use a Serve debit account to withdraw cash at ATMs and make purchase at merchants that accept American Express.

By partnering with Amex, Sprint—which is also a partner in the Google Wallet product (though a spokesperson says the two initiatives are not connected)—can attempt to attract card issuing institutions by selling ease of use made possible by leveraging Amex's extensive prexisting digital payments technology and large merchant network. ISIS has already partnered with Discover.

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