American Express introduces Serve: Just another PayPal?

There's nothing exciting or innovative about the release of Serve, by American Express. The concept has been done over and over again by PayPal, one of the leading online payments system for consumers. When there are multiple ways to innovate, why do the same old thing?

Even the pricing, albeit the most obvious place to differentiate in this realm, is the same. PayPal charges a basic 2.9% + .30 per transaction, with a rate decrease at higher volumes. Serve is exactly the same, except that there is no free break at the higher volumes.

Features? Nothing new here either. You can both send and receive (request) money, as well as check transaction history and manage you account on a mobile device. 

A physical card to swipe? OK, so PayPal doesn't give you a card to use and swipe at retailers. Serve does. Why? I already have one from my bank account, and if I can get a credit card, I have one of those as well. Many pre-loaded cards are available through Visa and Mastercard. I'm not sure that we need more ways to pay, and that's exactly the point.

You have to think, what is American Express thinking here?


Matthew Koren is the President of Priority Payments Northwest, a credit card processor and payroll service provider located in Portland, OR. He runs his company, as well as partnering with a consulting practice: Causeit, Inc. You can contact him by filling out the Contact Us page, or by calling 866-402-1485, ext 750.