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American Express teams with Sprint to promote digital payments platform

A new deal between American Express and Sprint allows American Express to compete with other digital payment companies and marks Sprint’s Serve digital wallet’s first relationship with a mobile carrier.

Serve enables users to “spend, send and swipe – online, offline and mobile,” allowing American Express to compete with digital payment companies such as PayPal, Boku, eBay-Zong and Visa, according to VentureBeat.com.

Visa bought PlaySpan earlier this year for $190 million.

This summer, Sprint customers in the Sprint Zone using Android and Apple iOS operating systems will have access to Serve’s mobile wallet application. It unifies online, offline and mobile payment options into a single account and can be funded from a bank account, debit, credit or charge card.

“We believe that customers will benefit greatly from taking advantage of Serve’s functionality as a quick, user-friendly way for tackling the often tedious task of paying bills and making mobile payments,” David Messenger, the executive vice president for enterprise growth at American Express, said, according to VentureBeat.com.

The deal allows American Express to reach consumers who are young and tech savvy and don’t use traditional credit cards. It will also help the company tap into the cash ruling markets overseas.

Serve card users will be able to make purchases at American Express participating merchants. Users can create sub-accounts for spouses or children. Eventually, users will be able to use their Serve account to send and receive money to friends, pay bills and make online purchases.

Sprint Nextel served more than 51 million customers at the end of the first quarter in 2011, VentureBeat.com reports.

Serve card users will enjoy a six-month free period then will pay 30 cents per spending transaction and a 2.9 percent fee for each transaction where a user transfers money into a Serve account. The first ATM transaction in a given month is free, each subsequent transaction will cost $2 each.

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