American Express Can’t Seem to Grow Mobile Payments, Mobile Commerce Services Fast Enough

Credit card giant American Express can’t seem to expand fast enough into the mobile channel, say sources close to the biggest credit-card issuer by purchases.

According to published reports this week, American Express is determined to become a dominant player in mobile payments and online commerce in emerging markets. And it looks like that’s going to happen in short order.

In a report yesterday from Bloomberg, AMEX Executive Vice President David Messenger revealed that his company is actively “considering deals in developing regions such as China, and investments in or purchases of smaller Silicon Valley startups with valuable technology.”

In 2010, American Express agreed to a $660 million acquisition of Loyalty Partner, a marketing firm with customers based primarily in Europe.

“You shouldn’t assume that’s the largest acquisition we can do,” said Messenger. “We are very active, and acquisitions are a key component of our strategy.”

American Express wants to gain a bigger foothold in the growing market for Internet commerce and payments over wireless devices, seeking to challenge rivals such as Visa Inc. (V) and Google Inc. (GOOG), which have announced their own mobile-transaction services.

Recent data from Juniper Research must still be ringing in the ears of AMEX executives eager to gain as much control of this lucrative, emerging market as possible.

Juniper estimates that payments made with mobile phones will top $670 billion worldwide by 2015.