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AmEx Seeks Mobile Payment Partners

American Express's head of enterprise says mobile commerce won't take off without more industry unity

Sarah Thomas

October 12, 2011

2 Min Read
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

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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