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Isis strengthens mcommerce goal via Visa, MasterCard relationship

July 20, 2011

Payment networks join Isis

Isis can now count Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover among its partners as its looks to bring mobile commerce to a broad cross-section of U.S. consumers. 

Visa, MasterCard and American Express  have all formed news relationships with Isis to help drive mobile payments via Isis-enabled phones. With Discover –which partnered with the AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless joint venture last year – Isis becomes the only mobile commerce platform with support from all four payment networks.

“The fact that Isis has been able to pull together the payment networks really signifies that Isis has the right model and the right open platform so merchants can have certainty and ubiquity,” said Jaymee Johnson, head of marketing at Isis, New York.

“This is the big foundational piece,” he said. “It provides the necessary elements for scale to be brought to mobile commerce.”

Isis is a joint venture between AT&T Mobility LLC, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless that was formed last year to develop a mobile commerce platform.

Banks next
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 technology.

Customers will be able to pay, redeem coupons, and store merchant loyalty cards, all with the tap of a phone.

By working with the four payment networks, Isis will be able to provide consumers with the ability to choose which account they want to enable for mobile payments. At the same time, the payment networks will be able to bring existing cardholders directly into the phone.

Support from the payment networks will provide Isis scale as it tries to encourage banks to sign on to enable widespread adoption of the mobile commerce platform.

“The next big building block that we are working on will be the issuer relationships,” Mr. Johnson said.

Tectonic shifts
The other pieces of the puzzle need for scale in mobile payments are consumers, who will need to have Isis-enabled phones and merchants who will need the right payment terminals in place.

The relationship with the payment networks is important as Isis looks to gain acceptance from merchants.

“What this means for merchants is that they can have certainty around acceptance, processing and standards,” Mr. Johnson said. “This allows merchants to be able to prepare for mobile payments and provides a little more visibility into how this will play out.”

The initial launch markets for Isis will be Salt Lake City, UT, and Austin, TX.

“We will be in our launch markets mid to early part of next year and we’ll have broad distribution right after that,” Mr. Johnson said.

Isis is competing with several other mobile commerce solutions for dominance in this space.

Google introduced its mobile wallet this year, PayPal has been building out its NFC platform and American Express teamed up with Spring this week to offer a mobile wallet application.

“The mobile commerce space is very hot and that means folks are jockeying for position,” Mr. Johnson said. “Some of the tectonic shifts that need to take place are beginning to happen.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is assoc. editor on Mobile Commerce Daily

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