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Isis Mobile Payments Plan Moves Forward
By Craig Galbraith
July 31, 2013 - News
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The joint mobile-payments venture created by AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless is ready to take a big step forward.

Isis, as it is known, has revealed plans to roll out the Isis Mobile Wallet nationwide. There's no specific date for the national launch, but the company says testing in Austin, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah, was successful. It'll happen sometime before the year is out.

“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."

The Isis Mobile Wallet uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to allow consumers to pay, redeem coupons and present loyalty cards by using their smartphones. To use the Isis Mobile Wallet, consumers need an NFC-enabled smartphone and a SIM-based secure element, which together make the device Isis Ready.

Apple's iPhone, the world's most popular smartphone, doesn't yet support NFC, but it is widely rumored to be incorporated into the next version of the device, likely debuting in September. Many Android phones are NFC-enabled. Isis says it will support the iPhone, but users of older iPhone models – as well as the new one, if it's not NFC-equipped – will need an NFC-enabled case to use Isis, TUAW pointed out. In all, 35 of the carriers' devices are NFC-enabled.

Consumers who activate the Isis Mobile Wallet can pay at retail locations that accept contactless payments, the number of which has steadily grown over the past several years. Twenty-five of the top 100 national retailers have deployed or are deploying contactless terminals, Isis said.

Findings from the Isis pilot project showed that: On average, active Isis Mobile Wallet users tap more than 10 times per month; two-thirds of active users opted in to receive offers and messages from their favorite brands, following an average of seven brands; contactless acceptance nearly quadrupled to more than 4,000 locations in Austin and Salt Lake City; more than 80 percent of transactions take place at everyday spend locations such as quick-service restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, convenience and grocery stores; and wallet users engaged in loyalty and offers tap up to two times more frequently than users who only make payments.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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