American Express Co. plans to allow users of its digital wallet, Serve, to link their account to another digital wallet, Isis, a venture of several U.S. carriers, the firms said May 10.

Amex plans to first link its consumer and Open small-business cards to the Isis mobile payments system. All of these payment products will be linked to Isis this year, Amex said in a press release.

Isis, unlike Serve, plans to rely on Near Field Communication technology to allow mobile-phone users to make contactless payments at the point of sale. Serve users can already make purchases in stores through the use of a linked prepaid card.

Amex's Isis deal is an indication that payment products cannot stand alone, the New York company says.

"We do believe there is no way to do this on our own," an Amex spokesperson tells PaymentsSource. "We have always been really transparent about that."

Amex is separately working with Verizon Wireless to link the Serve wallet to Verizon's mobile phones and tablets. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are the backers of the Isis venture.

"When Serve does go into the Isis wallet as an accepted card … it will mean that consumers who do not want or qualify for our credit and charge products will be able to enjoy the benefits of [American Express'] service and the Isis wallet," says Meron.


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