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Isis is the ancient Egyptian goddess of simplicity among other things  (Source: Wikipedia)
Isis will create a mobile payment system using mobile phones

In some countries paying for things using your mobile phone is common today, but here in the U.S. it is still a rare occurrence. That will change in the future, though, if major carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have anything to say about it.

The three wireless carriers announced that they are forming a joint venture that will construct a nationwide mobile payment infrastructure through a joint venture called Isis. The goal of the three firms is lofty. They want to fundamentally change the way consumers pay for goods and services. Isis will focus on building a mobile payment system network allowing mobile phones to make purchases at the point of sale by using smartphone and NFC technology.

Isis plans to introduce its technology in the next 18 months in key demographic markets. The CEO of the Isis joint venture will be Michael Abbott. Abbott was formerly with GE Capital and he is a financial services veteran.

"Our mobile commerce network, through relationships with merchants, will provide an enhanced, more convenient, more personalized shopping experience for consumers," said Michael Abbott, Chief Executive Officer of Isis. "While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start. We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes." 

Isis is working with the Discover Financial Services payment network to develop its infrastructure. The first company to roll out the service to consumers is expected to be Barclaycard US.

"We believe the venture will have the scope and scale necessary to introduce mobile commerce on a broad basis. In the beginning, we intend to fully utilize Discover's national payment infrastructure as well as Barclaycard's expertise in contactless and mobile payments," said Abbott. "Moving forward, Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers." 

The system will operate by using contactless NFC mobile payments with short-range high frequency wireless tech that will be encrypted and able to exchange data only over short distances. Isis is building the tech with "strong" security and privacy safeguards. The three mobile carriers first announced their plans in August of 2010.

Bloomberg quotes analyst Philip Philliou, a payments industry consultant from Philliou Selwanes Partners, as saying, "[Abbott as CEO] should definitely cause MasterCard and Visa to take this initiative very seriously. You have someone who understands consumer payments, as opposed to this being someone from the telecom industry."



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By DanNeely on 11/16/2010 11:25:49 AM , Rating: 2
Won't happen. A (small) minority of businesses are already in revolt over Discover/Amex's higher fees (I think only a 1%ish difference); if they tried pushing fees that high there'd be a mass revolt of merchants.


By HrilL on 11/16/2010 2:02:50 PM , Rating: 1
I tend to agree. Last place I worked in a retail environment. Was a Medical Marijuana dispensary and while we could technically process Discover and AMX we didn't take them. It was 1%-2% more than Visa and Master card.

So lets see you go to a bar and want to have an open tab? So you have to leave them your phone? I think I'll stick with my good old plastic cards that are not constantly broadcasting my payment information out.

Their system will likely be hacked pretty quickly. Everything else the Telecoms touch gets hacked and they try to keep it secret. I hardly trust these companies with my phone service I'm sure as hell not going to trust them with my money. I'll be a hold out on this one.


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