Isis mobile payment system for Android finally launches

After months of delays, mobile-payment service Isis Monday launched in its first two test cities. The service is available to those using Android smartphones in Salt Lake City. Utah, and Austin, Texas.

In Salt Lake City, Isis will process fare transactions for the Utah Transit Authority, while in Austin select retailers now offer Isis as a payment option. The Isis Mobile Wallet service is a joint venture of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.

When Isis was first announced last April, the goal was have the service live in the first half of this year. Changes in strategy—where the credit-card companies process the transactions rather than the carriers—and concerns over transaction security delayed Isis’ rollout.

NFC getting more popular

Tap-to-pay (or near-field communication) is becoming more popular. Sprint went its own way and partnered with Google Wallet on its own mobile-payment solution, and both Microsoft and Google appear to be pushing their partners to include NFC in new devices.

In order to use Isis, consumers in Austin and Salt Lake City will need to visit their local AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon store to ensure their handset is Isis-ready and, if necessary, receive a special secure SIM card.

Users will need to download the Isis application from Google Play. They will then be able to load either an eligible American Express, Capital One, or Chase credit card into Isis, or use the preloaded Isis cash card that comes with the app itself.

On Verizon Wireless, only the Droid Incredible 4G LTE is Isis-ready. T-Mobile says its HTC Amaze 4G and Samsung Galaxy S 4G, S II, and S III phones will work with Isis. AT&T has not announced its Isis-ready lineup. As many as 20 compatible phones will be available by year's end, Isis says.

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