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Isis — the payments consortium, not the jihadist group — rebrands its mobile wallet as Softcard

The Isis mobile wallet just got a new name: Softcard. For those of you that haven’t been keeping up with global affairs, another organization called ISIS — English shorthand for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — has been dominating the headlines, known for its acts of terror rather than smartphone payments.

Given the horrible coincidence, Isis announced in July it would rebrand. Today we’re getting a preview of that strategy.

Isis Softcard

The consortium, which is made up of carriers Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, will excise the Isis name from its app, service and all marketing (technically Isis operates under the name JVL Ventures), and in a few weeks it will replace its existing mobile wallet app in the iTunes and Google Play stores with a new Softcard-branded versions. As existing Isis customers update their wallets the Isis name will disappear from their phones.

Isis is also getting a new website under the URL, though the current URL will redirect to the new page.

Even before the negative connotations of its moniker began to surface, Isis was already struggling to popularize its mobile wallet in a U.S. market that just wasn’t taking to smartphone payments. The name change will help with PR, but it Softcard is facing an increasing amount of competition. Apple is expected to announce its mobile wallet offer next week for the new iPhone. And today, the MCX consortium of the top U.S. retailers announced its smartphone payments app will go live in 2015.

5 Responses to “Isis — the payments consortium, not the jihadist group — rebrands its mobile wallet as Softcard”

  1. Jim Wells

    Silliest thing I’ve heard since the nonsensical “death of cash” theory.

    Wonder how many people would actually confuse a moribund, US mobile payment scheme with a blood-thirsty, Middle Eastern terrorist group? Far more likely that the ISIS (payments) folks are seeking to blame the lackluster performance of their network on the similarity of the names rather than an insufficiently compelling consumer value proposition and lack of functionality.

    Would Jeff Bezos change the name of his company if a terrorist group called themselves Amazons? I think not. Jim Wells

  2. Reblogged this on and commented:
    What’s in a name? The only time that anyone should use an acronym to describe a name is if it’s already well-accepted (FBI, CIA, IRS, etc), or if they are speaking to people who already understand their jargon (The DOD states that the NCO was abducted by UFOs and is now MIA). Or there’s always those obscure names that are so horribly long and complex that anything is better than trying to remember what it is, let alone trying to explain what it means so that others can adopt it. ISIS was one of those acronyms that almost nobody knew the meaning of to begin with. We knew that it was a competitor to Google’s wallet, and everyone who liked NFC solutions was hoping that it would finally put mobile payments on the map of Consumer consciousness. But then along come ISIS, the infamous Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and suddenly ISIS becomes a dirty word, that only the Ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility would find sexy. So now we have something called SoftCard. Same idea, same obscurity in the public consciousness, just a different name.

    To be clear, Softcard (née ISIS) still represents a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the mobile payment space, that was announced back on November 16, 2010. The system is based on near field communication (NFC) and allows users to pay by tapping their mobile device to a payment terminal. 4 years later, we’re all still waiting for NFC to finally take off as a boon to online payments systems…Despite the lingering public public fears, confusion and even ongoing paranoia about anything that relates to RFID.

    Hopefully a much better name, that doesn’t sound like a cabal of Big Bankers and Telco companies, will do better than ISIS has. Because we’re all still waiting for the future to arrive, and it’s already been quite awhile…