Amex Sinks $19 Million in Mobile Payments Processor

April 14, 2011

American Express has thrown its hat into the mobile space with a $19 million investment in mobile payments processor Payfone. The companies, both based in New York City, will partner to create and power a new global mobile checkout service that will enable consumers to pay for e-commerce transactions using their cell phone number. Payfone said it will combine its advanced mobile authorization and payment services with American Express’ recently launched digital payments platform, Serve. Consumers will be able to link their mobile numbers to a variety of payment methods including their pre-or-postpaid mobile operator account, as well as via a customer’s Serve account. “This alliance brings together Serve’s unified online, mobile and real-world functionality with Payfone’s advanced mobile authorization and payment services to deliver a seamless payment solution,” said Dan Schulman, group president, Enterprise Growth, American Express. “The alliance is an important next step for the international roll out of Serve. Payfone co-founder and CEO Rodger Desai noted that, while more than 5 billion people worldwide currently have mobile phones, less than 2 billion have credit cards. “It’s our goal to make the mobile phone number the new accepted way to pay.”