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American Express is launching its electronic micro-payment system called Serve. The service is aiming to rival with PayPay from eBay. Unlike its competitor, American Express already has presence in many places, which will honor Serve system.

Customers subscribed to Serve, can make purchases and person-to-person payments online (serve.com), via mobile phones (iPhone, Android) and Facebook at millions of merchants who accept American Express cards. Serve unifies multiple payment options into a single account that can be funded from a bank account, debit, credit or charge card, or by receiving money from another Serve account. ]

Users can also set up  sub-accounts for their friends, family members or colleagues. Sub-accounts are linked to the master account and allow users to set spending profiles for everything from children’s allowances to dog walker fees.

How it works
Consumers set up an online account at Serve.com or through a smartphone app. Funds can be added from bank accounts, debit cards, credit and charge cards, or other Serve accounts. Customers can use those accounts to send and receive money to friends, pay bills and make purchases online. Serve bridges online and offline commerce – each customer will be issued a Serve reloadable prepaid card linked to their Serve account that can be used at any merchant or ATM that accepts American Express cards.

American Express is waiving its consumer fees for the first six months. Afterward, these fees will be:

  • Putting money into a Serve account — 2.9% plus 30 cents per load, discounted to 0% for cash, debit and ACH
  • ATM cash withdrawal — One free each month, then $2.00

American Express will have a much easier start than PayPal, however over time, PayPal has gained acceptance amongst online users and online merchants. It is unclear how Amex will integrate to popular service such eBay which is the PayPal owner, 

[Source Amex]

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