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AmEx cards join mobile wallet

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

American Express credit cards are now available in virtual versions on your smartphone.

The credit card issuer Thursday said its cardholders will be able upload their cards to the Isis Mobile Wallet. American Express joins Chase, Capital One and Barclays in adding its cards to the virtual wallet. The company's payment network is already on board.

The Isis Mobile Wallet -- a venture among Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile -- will allow phone users to store loyalty cards, coupons or credit, debit and prepaid cards on their phones. Phone users simply tap their phones at enabled terminals to make purchases or redeem discounts.

The Isis creators plan to launch the service later this year in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, before rolling it out nationwide. The four major payment networks -- Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover -- have all signed up as partners.

The wallet is going head to head with Google's version of a cellphone wallet. The search engine giant partnered up with MasterCard, Citi, First Data and Sprint and unveiled its wallet last summer.

The Google Wallet has lagged Isis in getting loadable cards. Only the Citi MasterCard and the Google Prepaid card can be uploaded to the Google Wallet. But last September, Visa, Discover and American Express signed on for future versions of the wallet, but none specified when.

The smartphone wallet is part of the bigger movement in mobile personal finances. Banks have debuted banking apps that allow Americans to manage their checking and savings accounts via phone. Some retailers have unveiled virtual gift cards that can be saved on a smartphone, while digital coupons are becoming more common.

What's next? Your driver's license?

Is your phone replacing your wallet? Do you want it to?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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