Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) announced Monday that it will partner with American Express (NYSE:AXP) to bring its customers mobile phone payments. The Amex-designed payment software, called Serve, will come preloaded on Verizon phones and tablets, allowing users to send and receive money from their devices using Amex accounts.
Many wireless companies are teaming up with both software providers and financial firms to break into the burgeoning mobile payments market. Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S) recently teamed up with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to provide payment services for phones using Google’s Android operating system. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) have both established a service for transferring money between a user’s various accounts via a mobile device. Even Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is trying to get a first mover advantage in mobile payments.
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Last year, Verizon entered into a joint venture with AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA to create a mobile payments network called Isis, which would bypass any involvement on behalf of financial companies and instead have users set up accounts directly with carriers. However, last month, the plan widened to allow credit card companies. Verizon President Greg Haller says the Amex deal will allow users to make payments from anywhere, while the Isis program was limited to in-store purchases.