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American Express Leverages Cardholder Online Login Information for Faster Online and Mobile Purchase

Following Visa Checkout and MasterPass, American Express launched their new Amex Express Checkout service in July, but doesn’t want it to be labeled a wallet. Cardholders that login to view or pay statements online can use the same user ID and password to submit payments online via PCs, mobile web browsers and mobile apps, and American Express will provide the merchant with a token to process payment.

American Express launched their Amex Express Checkout service on July 9th with eight online and mobile merchants, including NewEgg and TicketMaster, accepting this payment option that day. Any American Express cardholder that has created an account to manage or pay their statements online can use Amex Express Checkout by logging in with the same information to confirm payment online from a PC or mobile. Several other merchants will be accepting Amex Express Checkout soon, such as 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Hulu, Old Navy and Gap. American Express is additionally partnering with Stripe to make this payment option available to all merchants on their payment platform.

Like Visa and MasterCard, American Express is taking measures to make it as easy as possible for their cardholders to use Amex cards for online transactions, especially when coming from mobile devices. Digital wallets like PayPal expedite checkout by allowing a user to login with a username and password rather than type in a 16-digit credit card number, billing address, shipping address and other information. The two largest card associations launched Visa Checkout and MasterPass to offer this convenience, and while American Express is following suit there are some similarities and differences between the other card association wallets.

First, American Express has emphasized in their messaging that Amex Express Checkout is not a wallet. On the one hand this is referring to a unique convenience feature: that cardholders do not need to create a user account to use the service, they can use their existing user ID and password. Another notable difference, however, is that Visa Checkout and MasterPass allow users to store and use multiple cards from multiple issuers and card brands in their digital wallets. Amex Express Checkout only works with American Express cards, although if a user has multiple Amex cards they will be able to choose which one for each transaction.

Merchants can integrate AmEx Express checkout on their website, mobile optimized site and into their mobile app. The additional checkout option offers consumers convenience which could convert more sales, but the service offers some payment security features as well. Taking a page out of Visa’s book, Amex Checkout is providing merchants with tokens, rather than full payment card information, to process payments. Visa, MasterCard and American Express each launched token services in the last year, and these tokenization services facilitate the use of their cards with Apple Pay. Visa incorporates their token services with Visa Checkout, and Amex Checkout does as well. From both the merchant and consumer’s perspective this brings security benefits as each party reduces their exposure to data breaches.

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