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If you’ve been looking for an alternative to Paypal, American Express may have just the thing for you. They have just announced a new service called Serve, which offers similar features to Paypal, from receiving and sending money online, to making purchases with a credit card issued by Serve.

With American Express behind the new service, you should probably expect to see lots of online services making Serve payments the newest option, with TicketmasterConcur and Flipswap amongst their first partners. Serve could potentially be the first company to pose serious competition for Paypal, a popular service that hasn’t been without its share of negative publicity. While Paypal does have a leg up on Serve when it comes to some of the service charges on transactions, there is something to be said for having another solid option for online transactions.

After signing up for the free service, you can then link your Serve account to your bank using your bank account number, your credit card number or even the last four digits of your social security number. Once your bank account has been verified, you will automatically receive a Serve card in the mail.

As with Paypal you can add funds to your Serve account from your bank account or credit card, and can also withdraw funds into your bank account. One of the major differences between Paypal and Serve is that, while you can add funds to both services using bank transfers or a debit card, with Serve, you can also add funds using your credit card. That extra service does come with a fee of 2.9% + 30 cents. That said, Serve will not begin charging a fee for credit card funds for another six months. ATM withdrawals with your Serve card will be charged at $2 per transaction, with one free transaction per month, as opposed to Paypal’s $1 per transaction.

Signing up for Serve gives you several payment options all in one account, including person-to-person (P2P) money transfers, mobile payments, in-store card payments and online transactions. You can also access your Serve account on the go with their free iPhone and Android apps, allowing you to send, request and receive money no matter where you are.

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While Serve is currently only available for US bank accounts, if and when they begin to expand geographically, Paypal may lose some business.

Are you going to sign up for a free Serve account? Would you be willing to abandon Paypal in favour of the new American Express service? Let us know in the comments.

  1. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    ah, I see - comment box does NOT allow links

    • Aibek
      March 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      :-) just tried the link without WWW and it worked fine.

      • bobconstans
        April 1, 2011 at 11:57 pm

        Huh! must just be one of those weird occurrences that happen with PCs
        (mine especially) Thanx!

  2. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    hmmmm, couldn't get link to work until I added WWW to url

  3. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    hmmmm, couldn't get page to come up until I changed url to http://WWW.serve.com

  4. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    until I complain about it, apparently :-P

  5. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    can't get comments to work, looks like

  6. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    hmmm, wouldn't let me access page until I changed the url to http://WWW.serve.com.

  7. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    hmmm, wouldn't let me access page until I changed the url to http://WWW.serve.com.

  8. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    hmmmm, wouldn't let me access the page until I changed the url to http://WWW.serve.com.

  9. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    hmmmm, wouldn't let me access the page until changed the link to http://WWW.serve.com.

  10. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    hmmm, wouldn't let me access the page until I changed it to http://WWW.serve.com/

  11. bobconstans
    March 30, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    hmmm, wouldn't let me access the page until I changed it to http://WWW.serve.com/

  12. Zhirkow
    March 30, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Oh, they just get blocked in China :-(

  13. Anonymous
    March 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Two major disadvantages to Serve:

    1. The Serve card does not give you cash back like PayPal's card does. Luckily, I still have their old 1.5% rate. This adds up nicely each month when you use it to pay for everything like I do.

    2. Serve charges you extra if it needs to fund the balance of a transaction with your linked bank account. PayPal does not charge for this. Although, you may need to sign up for their Business account, which is free, anyway, even if you're not really a business!

    • Aibek
      March 31, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      thanks for the input

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