Setting the scene for intensified competition in the hotly
contested online payments market, American Express (AmEx) is to
acquire US-based Revolution Money for $300 million.

AmEx’s outlay brings with it Revolution
MoneyExchange, a free online person-to-person (P2P) and
micro-merchant payments service with some 400,000 users, and
RevolutionCard which offers a PIN credit card accepted at some
650,000 merchant locations and 85 percent of ATMs in the US. Also
offered is a prepaid card linked to Revolution P2P accounts.

“While Revolution Money is a young and
relatively small company, we believe it has big potential,” said
AmEx chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault.

He continued: “Revolution Money has a lot of
room to grow as it competes head-to-head with other online and
person-to-person payment providers.

“We are committed to using our global brand
recognition, marketing reach and network expertise to help reach a
critical mass of customers.”

Chenault said that to expand Revolution’s
reach AmEx’s initial areas of focus include:

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• Developing re-loadable, prepaid
products for new market segments;

• New products for card members who
currently use other alternative payment systems;

• Payment alternatives designed for
social media sites; and

• Mobile payments solutions in the

He added that other opportunities include
expanding Revolution Money payment solutions internationally,
extending product offerings to banks that issue cards on the AmEx
network and creating new PIN-based debit products.

AmEx also announced that Revolution’s founder
and CEO, Jason Hogg, will continue as president and chief
executive, while Revolution’s chairman and a major shareholder, Ted
Leonsis, will become a digital and online payments strategy adviser
to AmEx.

Revolution Money will be the first component
of AmEx’s Enterprise Growth unit formed to drive diversification
into new payment areas and extract value from its global

Backing AmEx’s drive is its formidable brand.
In the 2009 Best Global Brands study by US publication Business
Week and consultancy Interbrand it ranked first among financial
institutions and 22nd overall.