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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 fic2 on 11/16/2010 1:00:57 PM , Rating: 2
Most places I do business with take Discover - this is in Colorado. But when I was in AZ a 2-3 years ago it seemed like very few did. I know the gas stations didn't. Even though there was a large Discover call center there.
CO governments don't seem to take Discover but they do take AmEx.

I did have an amusing experience several years ago. I was at someplace (don't remember where) and tried to use my Discover card. The place didn't take it. I asked what they did take: Visa, MC, AmEx, Carte Blanche, Diners Club. I don't know anyone except my dad who has a CB and DC card and just laughed that they would take those but not Discover.

By The Raven on 11/16/2010 2:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
This is so funny because we just had this conversation in our office yesterday. (In our office of 5 people) one guy comes in and complains that Nieman-Marcus wouldn't take anything but AMEX, and then says that that is like saying that they only take Discover because no one uses that. Then 2 of my co-workers piped up with me saying how we love our Discover cards. I told him that Costco is Amex only, and that Sam's is Discover.

I mentioned that I only use my Visa or Mastercharge only when there is not the option to use Amex or Discover which is rare really. I just went to a mom and pop Chinese restaurant the other night and they only did MC Visa (please don't hurt 'em). That is the only time in the past month where we have had to use either of those (FYI we are in the StL area).

One of my co-workers said that Discover is the only CC she has. Otherwise she uses Visa debit.

By fic2 on 11/16/2010 4:07:15 PM , Rating: 2
I have Discover and Visa. Have had Discover since '84 - a friend's father worked on the startup of it from Sears via DeanWitter. It was pretty cool seeing the card mockups and stuff before it had even been announced. I use my Visa about 4 times a year. Otherwise Discover or cash.

Discover was much better back in the day when you could take a free cash advance, put it in your money market account at 5% interest and pay them back in 60 days.It was a good way to make beer money.

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