Photograph by Scott Eells — Bloomberg via Getty Images

The financial services giant is debuting a new way to use your AmEx card online.

By Leena Rao
July 9, 2015

As the war to own the digital wallet continues, American Express is joining the battle with Express Checkout, a new way to pay using your AmEx card online.

AmEx Express Checkout is similar to the way PayPal works. If you see an AmEx checkout button when paying for an item with an online merchant, you login using your AmEx online credentials, choose the AmEx card you want to pay with, and the transaction is complete. AmEx will autofill all the shipping and billing information as well. And the card member’s account information is transferred to the merchant securely, says AmEx.

As a security protection, each time card members click on the AmEx Express Checkout button on a merchant site, they will be required to login.

At launch, AmEx has partnered with a number of high-profile online merchants including Burberry, Tory Burch, The Wall Street Journal, Ticketmaster, Avis Car Rental, Cole Haan, Warby Parker, and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM.

Merchants who use Stripe, a technology that lets businesses accept online payments, will also be able to integrate AmEx Express Checkout using Stripe’s existing technology.

AmEx checkout aims squarely at PayPal’s own merchant offerings, which has long offered consumers a way to sign and pay for items online using their PayPal account. Similar to AmEx Checkout, PayPal allows people to store multiple credit and debit cards in one account and send money from these different credit card accounts to merchants or people. Of course, with AmEx Checkout, the wallet is a bit more sparse as you can only use the financial services company’s credit cards, whereas with PayPal you can use Mastercard or Visa cards. Visa and Mastercard have their own merchant checkout options as well.

The other competitor is the merchants themselves, who store credit card info in customer accounts for repeat use. But AmEx says that the majority of consumers don’t actually create separate accounts with each merchant, and merchants face problems like shopping card abandonment when it comes to the complexity of entering credit card details at checkout.

AmEx also says that the majority of card holders have online accounts and pay their bills online, so most shoppers who want to pay with their cards will have a login.

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