Isis announced today that it has formed relationships with all four major payment networks here in the U.S.: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. That means Isis's upcoming mobile wallet has taken a big leap forward in terms of supporting all the ways people choose to pay, whether by credit card, debit card or even prepaid accounts.Operator-led mobile commerce initiative
Isis, which uses a wireless chipset-based technology called NFC, will enable people to use their phones to pay for transactions at point-of-sale, just by tapping or waving their phone.
Partnering with all four networks is an important milestone for the company, which had originally planned to launch with just Discover and Barclays U.S. But in May, the coalition, led by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, abruptly changed its course. Instead limiting its partnerships, it opened up to all - meaning all banks, all OEMs and mobile platforms, all payment networks, all card issuers and all operators. Anyone who wanted in, was in.
According to Jaymee Johnson, Isis' Marketing head, the change meant that Isis would be the "connective tissue" that would work to bring the payments, mobile and retail industries together at last, all of which needed to be involved in order for NFC, as a technology, to really take off.
NFC, for those unaware, is a wireless technology that enables data transfers over short distances. It's rapidly becoming the backbone of mobile payments and mobile wallet platforms, including those from Visa and Google, to name a few.
With Isis, not only will NFC support payments at point-of-sale, it will also support the ability to redeem mobile coupons and use store loyalty cards, among other things.
Isis will roll out to its first test markets, Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah, in the first half of 2012.