Isis, the mobile payment joint-venture between Verizon, AT&Tand T-Mobile, has been on a slow-and-steady march toward an initial rollout this summer, lining up an array of partners across payment networks, handset manufacturers and banks. Now, it is partnering with big point-of-sale payment systems providers VeriFone, Ingenico, VivoTech and Equinox Payments.
The companies will support the Isis Mobile Commerce Application in current and future products. Consumers who use the Isis app on their phones will be able to tap their phones at point of sale terminals to pay and redeem coupons and enter loyalty information. Retailers will need to upgrade their existing terminals in some cases with hardware add-ons and in other cases, through remote software updates.
The Isis system, like Google Wallet, relies on near field communication (NFC) for contactless payments. That requires NFC chips inside both a handset and at the point of sale terminal. By lining up partnerships with the big POS terminal makers, it makes it easier for retailers to move forward and adopt Isis, which will launch first in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah this summer.
Isis previously won agreements from hardware manufacturers HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, RIM, Samsung Mobile and Sony and also signed up the four main payment networks - Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Last week, it announced its first banking partners: Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard, who will place their credit, debit and pre-paid cards on the Isis app. Isis also showed off the first look of its mobile wallet app.
Isis is not rolling out as fast as chief rival Google Wallet, which launched in September. But it’s methodically lining up all the pieces it needs to make a big push. And since the venture includes three of the four biggest carriers, they have the inside track in pushing an NFC-based wallet, since they can control the NFC secure element. Isis still has a lot more to show off and the launch this summer will help determine how viable the venture will be. But looking at the deals it’s lined up, Isis is serious about being a contender.