Forget Google Wallet. Isis plans to sweep the nation with contactless payments later this year.
The idea of tap-and-pay is awesome. Take a NFC-equipped phone, tap it on a NFC-enabled cash register, and automatically pay for purchases with a virtual card stored on the phone. Google Wallet seemed to pave the way for this type of payment, but very few Android phones actually support this feature despite having an NFC component. The Nexus tablets support tap-to-pay, but who wants to whip out a tablet instead of a wallet?
Enter Isis, a joint venture between Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA. Like Google Wallet, it allows users to tap their NFC-packed phone to make an instant payment rather than dig through a wallet or purse for a credit card. Isis also allows users to redeem coupons and present royalty cards with a simple tap too at checkout.
The New York-based group announced on Tuesday that it plans to roll out the Isis Mobile Wallet nationwide later this year, following successful pilots in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah. Perhaps this is why Google seemingly really hasn't pushed Google Wallet on Android: because the three carriers supporting its OS have a solution of their own.
"Over the past nine months, we have proven the power of an open platform, creating an ecosystem of literally hundreds of partners dedicated to making mobile commerce a reality," said Michael Abbott, chief executive officer, Isis. "As part of our commitment to consumers, we are incorporating feedback from our pilots into the next generation of the Isis Mobile Wallet as we prepare for national availability later this year."
Close to 20 million smartphones on the market currently have an NFC component, and millions more are being shipped each month. The Isis group said that 35 mobile devices across AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile US Inc. and Verizon Wireless currently support Isis, and the number will continue to grow. Support for iPhone, Windows Phone and Blackberry 10 is expected to be introduced later this year.
As previously stated, NFC devices can pay at retail locations that accept contactless payments. Twenty-five of the top 100 national retailers have deployed or are deploying contactless terminals in the near future. Around 1.3 million locations in the United States are expected to have contactless-ready payment terminals by the end of the year.
"Working in partnership with Isis, we have been witness to the power of mobile payments and loyalty," said Rick Kanemasu, vending technology strategy, Coca-Cola North America Group. "More than one-third of active Isis Mobile Wallets users in Austin have loaded a My Coke Rewards card into their Wallet since our pilot began and 90 percent of these are new to the My Coke Rewards program."
To see Isis in action, head here.