American Express Going After PayPal with New ‘Serve’ Service and iPhone App

A couple of days ago, American Express quietly launched a new mobile wallet app named Serve. Just like Paypal, Serve allows people to pay each other electronically, without having to write checks or use cash. The service offers nice features such as the ability to setup sub-accounts, to be able to pay back a friend, give your child an allowance, or receive money quickly. After a quick setup, users can make purchases, send or receive money, make payments and pay bills. Users also receive a prepaid reloadable debit card, which can be used anywhere American Express cards are accepted. While the Serve app is free, the service is not, as like Paypal, American Express charges Serve users for specific transactions. Paypal typically charges 2.9 percent per transaction when people receive payments for goods and services, while AmEx charges 2.9 percent plus $0.30 anytime money is put into a Serve account. Note that Serve’s fees can be waived, as long as the user’s account is funded via a cash deposit, a debit, or an ACH (bank account transfer). Serve has no fees to open an account, no monthly fees, no fees for person-to-person transactions, no fees to set up sub-accounts (up to four accounts), and no fees to use the app. So, did AmEx launch a PayPal killer? Potentially, depending on your needs: if you happen to receive a lot of money for good and services via Paypal, Serve will most likely be more suitable for you, as unlike Paypal, AmEx doesn’t charge Serve’s users when they receive money. For more details about Serve, click here.