Isis announced today that it has signed up all four major credit cards companies to join its NFC mobile payment platform. Isis has had some issues, including a really bad website, but it doesn’t seem like its going to go away quietly. The biggest advantage for Isis is that merchants will have an easier time incorporating the platform.
Quotes from MarketWatch:
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Overview from Gigaom:
“Isis CEO Michael Abbott told me in a previous interview that if Isis can sign up the credit card companies, it has a chance to be the one platform to tie mobile payments together. Isis will create a digital wallet app that card-issuing banks could easily have their customers tie their accounts into. The wallet could also hold loyalty card information. Consumers will interface with Isis through the mobile app, which would give them access to multiple credit and debit accounts. They can then tap their phone and pay at point of sale terminals using their various payment accounts.
Abbott said by taking a lead on mobile payments and combining with credit card companies, Isis had the chance to help standardize mobile payments and help spur adoption of NFC. While partnering with credit card companies means Isis loses out on some transactions fees, it hopes to still bring in money by building a mechanism for delivering targeted mobile offers to users based on their preferences and their behavior. Then it can take a cut of some of those deals.”
More from NFC Times:
“What this does, having all of the networks in place, it greatly expands the pool of applicable issuers,” Jaymee Johnson, head of marketing for Isis, told NFC Times, adding that the agreements also could convince more merchants to accept contactless payment and offers. Only about 125,000 U.S. merchants accept contactless payment, at present.
“Isis is focused on the right experience and the right experience is multifaceted,” Johnson said. “It’s having technology and handset breadth behind you, so you are not limited to a single handset for a single operating system from a single carrier.”
“With Isis now enabling Visa payments in its open mobile wallet, Visa has added another element to its global strategy announced in May giving consumers more ways and places to pay, whether using a card, a computer or a mobile device,” Jim McCarthy, Visa Inc.’s head of global product, said in a blog post today. “Bottom line: Visa payWave, Visa’s mobile payment application, is designed to enable Visa payments from third party open wallets, including Isis and Visa’s own digital wallet.”
“Isis will serve as an enabling platform to provide consumers with the freedom of choice to load a MasterCard card of a participating issuer into their mobile wallets,” a MasterCard spokeswoman told NFC Times. She said MasterCard’s partnership arrangements would vary according to the country. While it is working with both Google and Isis in the United States, in the United Kingdom, MasterCard has partnered only with issuer Barclaycard and telco Orange UK, so far. In Latin America, the card network is working with Telefónica group, though not yet for NFC rollouts.
“We absolutely believe that mobile payments have to be open,” he said. “So working with banks, working with mobile network operators, working with merchants, working with companies like Isis, allow us to leverage PayPass technology and everything we’ve been doing in mobile, to give as much access as possible to our customers.”
Isis needs some kind of PR win
Changing course, however, has taken some of the sheen off of the Isis initiative for the industry. Today’s announcement gives it a much-needed boost, said Todd Ablowitz, president of U.S.-based consulting firm Double Diamond Group.
“If you are Isis, it’s very important for you get a win in the world of public relations right now,” Ablowitz told NFC Times. “You have to show you are focused on aggressively driving toward rollout and adoption, given the competitive environment. You’d try to one-up Google any way you could.”