Mobile Payment System Isis Looks Set for September Debut
By Ed Oswald
Mobile payment system Isis, which is supported by the major mobile carriers, appears set for a September debut. This is after several delays, including a change in how the service works.
A group of carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, launched Isis in April of last year, originally hoping to have the service live in the first half of 2012. The group ran into issues that included security concerns, and later opted to leave credit-card operators to process the transactions rather than the carriers themselves
When it rolls out next month, the Isis service will initially be available in Salt Lake City and Austin. In Salt Lake City, Isis partnered with Utah Transit Authority to process fare transactions, while Austin was selected for its tech-savvy culture and will see the terminals at selected merchants around the city, according to Isis CEO Michael Abbott.
What About NFC?
Tap-to-pay (or NFC) in mobile phones has recently begun to catch on. Competing service Google Wallet has begun to push its service heavily alongside its wireless partner Sprint, and carriers are releasing more and more devices with built-in NFC capability.
Even the upcoming “iPhone 5” is said to have NFC capability, although AppleInsider said Tuesday that those rumors likely are false. Either way, mobile tap-to-pay is catching on.
While Google Wallet and other similar services have had a tough time making it in the market, the reason could be lack of support from both carriers and phone manufacturers. With Isis, the system has been built with the blessing of three of the four major carriers, which in turn should move phone manufacturers to include NFC.