American Express and Verizon Mobile announced today that they will integrate Serve, a next-generation digital payment and commerce platform, on many Verizon mobile phones and tablets. The two companies will collaborate to source, distribute and simplify the redemption of online and mobile offers with participating merchants through the use of the Serve account. Moreover, Payfone’s pre-authorization and routing features will also be included to support Serve checkout on Verizon Wireless devices.
In the coming months, Verizon Wireless customers will be able to use Serve to make payments for digital goods and other transactions on their Verizon smartphones and payments. Serve is recognition that in the new digital economy, the traditional credit card isn’t enough to capture all of the transactions that happen. The deal should help grease the wheels of mobile commerce.
With Serve, American Express users will be able to “spend, send and swipe — online, offline, and mobile.” It can be used to share a bill for lunch with a friend or buy some virtual goods in online games. In that sense, a broader mobile payments ecosystem could help everyone, from carriers to mobile game publishers.
Verizon customers will be able to create Serve accounts that function as digital wallets, which they can access via smartphones and tablets. With Serve, a smartphone user could receive an offer on his or her mobile device and accept it on the spot, paying via the Serve online checkout system. In that system, the user authenticates a mobile number and then proceeds to make the purchase. The transaction appears on the Serve account holder’s bill.
The two companies are also working with Payfone to support Serve checkout on Verizon Wireless devices. Payfone’s pre-authorization and intelligent routing features will help Verizon Wireless customers who use the Serve application make mobile payments simply and securely.
“Our collaboration with Verizon highlights the speed at which Serve is evolving to reach a wide audience,” said Dan Schulman, group president, Enterprise Growth, American Express. “Verizon Wireless customers will soon be able to complement their busy lifestyle with a trusted payment platform that delivers a fast, flexible and secure way to manage their day-to-day mobile purchases, and together we’re taking the necessary steps to make mobile commerce a reality.”
Meanwhile, Mastercard is trying out its hyperlocal marketing through social networks. As part of MasterCard Worldwide’s iconic “Priceless” campaign, the brand has created a New York-based promotional event for its Priceless Cities in-market branding campaign.
Find the chairs and check-in via Facebook Places to be eligible to win special prizes, including meet-and-greets with Yankee greats, a “safari sleepover” at the Bronx Zoo, “V.I.P. treatment” at Marcus Samuelsson’s red-hot Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, and access to a new section of Yankee Stadium known as Batter’s Eye View – which hosts the MasterCard Batter’s Eye Cafe.
MasterCard’s partnership with Facebook Places also comes as rival American Express launched a program with Foursquare in June that lets card members get loyalty card-like credit when they check in. The mobile wallet space is heating up, finding ways to incorporate consumer benefits, discounts and account information every step of the way.