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AmEx Seeks Mobile Payment Partners

SAN DIEGO -- CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2011 -- The mobile payments revolution is not upon us today, tomorrow or maybe even next year, according to American Express Company President of Enterprise Growth Dan Schulman, who took the stage here Wednesday.

One might think the head of one of the world's biggest credit card companies would be a little more bullish about mobile payments, but Schulman said it will take partnerships in order for the market to really take off.

"There's too many of us to do it alone," he added.

This is the same message Pyramid Research has been preaching because the risks are lower and the business model more certain. On the other end of it, the more parties involved, the less revenues there are to be shared, which is one reason the market isn't yet exploding as many had predicted. (See Carriers Can't Take the Credit and Who's Holding Up NFC?)

American Express is angling to be the credit card partner of choice and already has gotten a number of wireless operators on board. It's a partner to Isis , the joint venture among the three biggest U.S. mobile operators. It also has its own mobile commerce platform, called Serve, that's agnostic to the device, operating system or form of payment. (See US Wireless Operators Spend Big on mCommerce and AmEx Serves Up mCommerce.)

Like most in the industry, AmEx is waiting on Near-Field Communications (NFC) to really kick-start the market. Schulman, formerly of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s Virgin Mobile, believes the contactless technology will come about in the next few years and become the de facto standard, but it'll take time and partnerships to put it to work.

"Each of you bring something to the table as well," Schulman concluded. "We look [ways to] reshape e-commerce. The end result can be a system in which businesses, merchants, consumers and the ecosystem that comes together to enable it can be much better off."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

Anne Morris 12/5/2012 | 4:51:18 PM
re: AmEx Seeks Mobile Payment Partners

Hmm. AmEx is just saying what others have been saying for years. Indeed, operators and banks have been busy partnering all over Europe and it's also not going to be about one bank/credit card company with NFC: all banks, operators and service providers (transport companies et al) will need to partner in each market for this service to work so that users don't see the joins. The UK operator plan to form a common platform that any service provider can use sounds pretty sensible...

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