Mobile payment joint venture Isis, the product of Verizon, AT&Tand T-Mobile, announced its first banking partners. Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard will place their credit, debit and pre-paid cards on the Isis wallet when it launches this summer. The three card issuers cover 100 million card holders in the U.S. and should give Isis a solid start when it rolls out in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City.
Isis — a mobile payment platform that utilizes near field communication (NFC) for contactless payments — is poised to be the main rival to Google Wallet, another NFC-payment service that launched in September. Isis has lagged behind Google Wallet but has secured some very important partnerships, locking up deals with the four main payment networks - Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover and hardware manufacturers HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, RIM, Samsung Mobile and Sony. Now with three major financial institutions supporting it, Isis is showing again that while it’s behind in its rollout, it’s lining up important partners for its payment effort.
“Today’s announcement is testament to the vision and commitment of Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard to make mobile commerce a real and positive experience for their customers,” said Michael Abbott, CEO, Isis in a statement. “Mobile commerce is more than a new way to pay; it’s about extending the relationships consumers enjoy with their banks and merchants into a powerful and convenient new form factor.”
The banks will tailor their cardholder experience within the Isis wallet, which will contain payment, coupon and loyalty services. Isis is reportedly not taking a cut of the payment volume but is requiring rent from financial institutions to have their cards placed on the Isis wallet. There was some questions about whether banks would embrace this model but it looks like Isis has been able to persuade at least three major financial institutions to jump on board.
The first screen shot of the Isis mobile wallet was also released, showing what consumers can expect to see. It shows the ability to load up both payment and loyalty cards and includes a news feed and directory of merchants. Users will be able to “follow” participating merchants to receive discounts and offers. And they’ll be able to clip other offers from print, posters and online displays using QR codes. Isis will reportedly have as many as 1,000 merchant terminals supporting its launch this summer in Austin and Salt Lake City. The service will expand across the nation after the initial soft launch.
Isis has been interesting to watch because it is run by the two of biggest carriers in the U.S. That has led to what appears like a problem for Google, which has not been able to activate Google Wallet on its flagship Android product the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. With an official launch coming for Isis, we will have to see if carriers such as Verizon enable Google Wallet and other NFC wallets once they are in a better place to compete with Isis.