Isis NFC mobile wallet woos MasterCard, American Express, Visa & Discover to join
Posted by Seth PlanckJuly 19th, 2011 at 5:38 PM Filed Under Latest News, Press Release, Videos
Isis NFC mobile wallet woos MasterCard, American Express, Visa & Discover to join
The Isis NFC mobile wallet joint venture has signed agreements with four of the world’s largest credit card issuers - Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. All the major credit card companies have announced they will be joining Isis, which is a partnership between Verizon, AT&T and its soon to be subsidiary, T-Mobile. The joint venture intends to bring NFC mobile payments to market in the U.S. in 2012, and has already been conducting trials in Salt Lake City and have announced that Austin, Texas will be the next city to be brought online.
The balance of power just shifted as MasterCard, American Express, Visa & Discover throw their weight behind Isis
Everybody and their mother is launching a mobile wallet. Google was up first with the Google Wallet, Visa purchased its own and multiple other companies are said to be building or launching NFC payment systems. Just this last week, American Express bolstered its Serve mobile payments with Sprint. We heard that Microsoft is working on its own NFC mobile wallet and Blaze Mobile received a patent for an NFC sticker that allows non-NFC phones to use its NFC mobile wallet. PayPal announced its own person-to-person NFC payment solution, and that is not even considering solutions like Zoosh who use ultrasonic contactless solutions to make payments. We could go on but we feel you get the point – that NFC mobile wallets appear to be ten a penny, but things are changing. MasterCard announces a partnership with a bank or mobile carrier every other day and it appears credit card companies are scrambling to make as many deals and partnerships as they can while they hedge their bets in this new space of which everyone wants a piece of the pie. MasterCard is already a Google Wallet Launch partner, so it appears to be playing a numbers game by also supporting Isis.
However, in a situation that is akin to separation between church and state, three of the biggest wireless carriers who control the mobile data in the United States have corralled credit card issuers into their NFC mobile wallet. Because the Isis members control the majority of data connections on mobile phones in the United States, it may leave credit card companies who are running around like headless chickens making deals with no option than to signup for Isis if they want to reach the majority of subscribers. Verizon said the other day at MobileBeat that they were developing AccessID, which is a system that controls NFC transactions across its network. What is unclear at this point is whether this will prevent non Isis partners who lease space on the company’s SIM card to use NFC payments over their network without paying hefty fees. It’s all about control, power and profit. Today the balance of power changed, but in September it could all change again if Apple Inc. throws its hat in the mix. The Isis carriers probably already know the answer to Apple’s plans but us mere mortals will have to wait until late August or early September.
“Since the formation of Isis in November, we have been committed to building a mobile commerce platform that aligns and advances the interests of consumers, merchants and banks,” said Michael Abbott, Chief Executive Officer for Isis. “By working with the nation’s payment networks – Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express – we significantly advance the vision of an open and secure platform that provides banks and merchants with a new and highly relevant way to connect with consumers.”
Isis has done deals with MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover, so where does this leave Sprint and Google?
At the Google Wallet launch event, Sprint announced it would not charge any fees for NFC payment traffic over its network. The company committed itself to an open network where no costs other than normal data rates would be charged. Don’t mix up Sprint’s stand with Isis’ open commerce ecosystem, which simply means anyone can pay to play on any Isis network. But where does this leave Sprint? It leaves them not profiting from transactions over its network, whether in the form of a percentage of transaction value or as a leasing rate for space on a SIM card. Sprint has a partnership with Google Wallet and is dealing directly with credit card companies to enable them to run payments over their network. This could well be making revenue from the American Express deal where they allow customers to add transactions to mobile bills. Google now has to double down and ensure it makes relationships with Visa, Discover and American Express and hope that Isis doesn’t block it from doing business on member carriers’ respective networks. Capital One is still up for grabs as a partner and only this week we reported how they had taken on a new executive to manage NFC payments. Isis previously extended a hand to Google offering to work with Google Wallet, however, we don’t know what terms would come along with that offer. The big question for Google is how do they get past the gatekeeper without paying a toll? Google Wallet does not charge for the software service it offers and relies on the Google Offers portion of its model to earn revenue. The threat Google faces is that Isis puts that model at risk by charging for SIM card space.
The question we have is what does Isis offer? It doesn’t provide NFC POS terminals. It isn’t a card issuer, it doesn’t handle security or insure transactions as that happens at the credit card company end of things – so what is Isis? From what we can gather after you strip away the trusted service management niceties - Isis is a gatekeeper, a middleman who is adding a new cost center into doing business. From a business perspective, you will still have to pay merchant fees but now you will also have their bills go up through whichever provider you use for NFC payments because that solution provider is being charged by Isis. Who ends up paying that bill at the end of the day? The consumer.
From a personal perspective, most people as they grow up are told never to keep their money in one place and to keep finances diverse. Does it make sense to have your mobile carrier who you pay a substantial monthly bill to handling your money? Does it make sense to trust companies that cannot even prevent dropped calls being part of how you pay for goods and services? Do you want your mobile carrier to know what and when you purchase goods and services? Or do you want choices of services, to use the data you pay for as you please and want to keep a healthy separation between carriers and payment solutions?
In our view, the economy doesn’t need an extra expense. There are issues of net neutrality to be explored here and if we had to pay an extra indirect tax, we would prefer to pay it to the government to get the country out of the hole rather than shareholders of a corporation or three. At the end of the day, it is your choice what you support when you pick a provider and service. Vote with your NFC mobile wallets, and if you can’t wait to comment on the latest Isis news, feel free to add comments below.
Isis Forms Relationships with Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express
Isis Becomes the First and Only Mobile Commerce Platform with Full Support of All Four National Payment Networks
Aspen, Colorado — July 19, 2011: Isis, the national mobile commerce joint venture between AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, today announced that Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express will join Isis in making mobile commerce a reality for millions of U.S. consumers and merchants. Isis’ relationships with all four payment networks mean that with Isis-enabled phones and payment terminals in place, merchants and consumers will have ubiquity and freedom of choice when it comes to payment network acceptance.
“Since the formation of Isis in November, we have been committed to building a mobile commerce platform that aligns and advances the interests of consumers, merchants and banks,” said Michael Abbott, chief executive officer for Isis. “By working with the nation’s payment networks – Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express – we significantly advance the vision of an open and secure platform that provides banks and merchants with a new and highly relevant way to connect with consumers.”
Today’s announcement underscores Isis’ inclusive approach, providing all critical stakeholders – banks, merchants and consumers – with the freedom and choice necessary to foster a robust new industry and make mobile commerce a reality.
“Visa has long championed an open approach to mobile commerce that allows consumers to choose which account they want to enable for mobile payments,” said Joe Saunders, chief executive officer, Visa Inc. “We are committed to working closely with Isis, handset manufacturers, platform providers and financial institutions to offer consumers a suite of mobile services – mobile payments, coupons tailored to location and lifestyle, real time account information and more.”
Earlier this year, Isis announced Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas as initial launch markets, slated to roll out in the first half of 2012 with support from all four payment networks.
“We fully support an open commerce ecosystem which will drive the scale necessary for widespread adoption of mobile payments, providing consumers with exciting new possibilities for shopping and saving,” said Ajay Banga, president and chief executive officer, MasterCard Worldwide. “Our work with Isis reinforces MasterCard’s commitment to the continued development, innovation and evolution of mobile payments technologies.”
Isis will bring mobile commerce to consumers and merchants by using mobile phones to make point-of-sale purchases through the use of near-field communication (NFC) technology. Isis will offer customers a secure and convenient way to pay, redeem coupons and store merchant loyalty cards, all with the tap of a phone.
“Discover has been working with Isis from the start to facilitate mobile commerce, which will provide added convenience and benefits to consumers while delivering increased loyalty and sales to merchants,” said David W. Nelms, chairman and chief executive officer for Discover. “Isis’ open strategy is the right approach to establishing a highly secure environment for mobile commerce that will be achieved through the participation of banks and payment networks like Discover.”
Since its formation, Isis has had a strong vested interest in generating industry involvement and support for a mobile commerce platform that is open and inclusive by design. By working with all four payment networks, Isis will set the standard for what it means to be open, secure and reliable in the mobile commerce industry.
“Isis is able to bring choice and opportunity to mobile commerce by helping cardmembers bring the cards in their leather wallet onto their mobile device,” said Bill Glenn, president, Global Merchant Services, American Express. “This relationship is another way for American Express to expand the digital experience in the social marketplace. As the line between online and offline continues to blur, American Express is leveraging our digital closed loop to help connect our merchant network with our cardmembers in any environment.”
Today’s announcement was made at the annual Fortune Brainstorm TECH conference in Aspen, Colorado.
The joint venture is between AT&T Mobility LLC, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless and is based in New York City. The venture is chartered with building ISIS™, a national mobile commerce venture that will fundamentally transform how people shop, pay and save. The Isis mobile commerce network will be available to all merchants, banks, payment networks and mobile carriers. Isis is a trademark of JVL Ventures, LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other logos, product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Information set forth in this press release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results might differ materially. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “may,” “plan,” “should” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, those set forth in the discussions of factors that may affect future results contained in AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG’s (T-Mobile USA is the U.S. wireless arm of Deutsche Telekom AG), and Verizon Wireless’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless disclaim any obligation to update and revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.
Isis NFC mobile wallet woo’s MasterCard, American Express, Visa & Discover to join