First announced in March, Ticketmaster last month began advertising a new digital payment platform in conjunction with American Express that will allow people to buy tickets quickly and then send money requests to friends for repayment.
The payment platform, called Serve, allows people to create online accounts that can be prefilled with money from a bank account or credit card. The user can then make purchases online with a computer or mobile device, or offline with a Serve card.
Purchases can be made wherever American Express cards are accepted. Additionally, users can send money electronically to others and make withdrawals from automatic teller machines.
Ticketmaster is promoting Serve as an easy way to purchase tickets for friends and be repayed in a timely manner.
“With Serve you can request money from your friends and get paid back instantly through e-mail, from your computer, or on your mobile device,” reads a promotional statement on Ticketmaster’s section of the Serve Web site. “So you can get the money you’re owed quickly and settle up with anyone, practically anywhere.”
A small banner ad for Serve has turned up on select Ticketmaster.com event pages, such as one for an upcoming Radiohead show in Florida. (See the screenshot below.)
Currently, Serve is free to use. But starting January 1, funding a Serve account with a credit card will cost a fee of 2.9 percent of the amount transferred into the account and $0.30 per transfer. The first ATM transaction per month will be free, but after that there will be a $2 charge on top of any fees the ATM operator may charge.
A Ticketmaster spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the company’s Serve initiative.
Serve was created by American Express to enter the digital payments market and reach beyond its traditional high-income customer. A person does not have to be an American Express cardmember to open a Serve account, and according to the Wall Street Journal, AmEx sees the service as a competitor to other digital payment platforms such as PayPal and Google Wallet.
“We’re trying to address new segments of the market that we traditionally haven’t been able to,” Dan Schulman, president of AmEx’s Enterprise Growth Group, told the Journal.
In addition to Ticketmaster, AmEx is also partnering Serve with Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and Foursquare.
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