American Express to release API for mobile wallet service

US financial services giant American Express (AmEx) plans to release an API for its mobile wallet platform, Serve, in a bid to attract developers as it attempts to capture a large chunk of the mobile payments market. AmEx has already secured partnerships with big-name internet brands, including Foursquare, Zynga and Facebook. Its agreement with the latter allows American Express cardholders to register their cards on the social network, receiving personalised offers and recommendations. The firm plans to leverage its market-leading position in the US credit card sector, with more than 100m users, to drive more powerful data and personalisation services. “The magic is going to be in marrying structured data and unstructured data for results in real-time,” Enterprise Growth Group VP Harshul Sanghi tells TechCrunch.

The Serve platform faces competition from established players in the technology sector, including Google, as well as rivals in consumer financial services such as Visa, but the dominant position of American Express is likely to give it a significant headstart. “It is difficult for mobile payments startups to scale without partnerships with some of the major financial partners,” says Sanghi. “There are a lot of regulations in terms of moving money and fraud management and we want to be the partner mobile payments startups think of in this space.”

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