Verizon and American Express can’t be bothered to wait for more NFC-compatible devices to enter the market. No, they are kickstarting the mobile payment revolution themselves with a new joint venture that will tie your phone number directly to your Serve account. Serve, as you may recall, is American Express’ PayPal-like payments solution designed to eventually ride into the sunset on the back of some NFC-capable horse, but for now it will be relegated to a more simplistic approach. Verizon users will be able to enter their mobile number during an online checkout, provide a pin, and make a payment directly from their Serve account. It’s not quite as simple as swiping your phone across a terminal at the checkout counter — it really doesn’t do much to solve the problem of using your phone as a wallet replacement all — but it will in some way or the other bridge the gap between old school transactions and the transaction of the future. That is, one based around your phone. If it accomplishes anything, it will at least get consumers into the habit of associating that phone with the ability to make purchases, a key stepping stone to NFC payments.