AmEx Seeks Mobile Payment Partners
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