Mobile wallet service Isis, developed by phone carriers AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, is set to launch nationally. The service was first announced in November 2010, with support from several payment heavyweights, including Verifone, and Equinox Payments.
See if you meet Isis’s requirements for phone model, phone carrier and credit card service. If you do, purchase an enhanced SIM card and turn on NFC to get started with Isis.
Isis, a mobile wallet by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, finally launches across the U.S.
Isis, which uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow users to tap their phone at payment terminals to make purchases, launches for Android users Thursday, though those on the Sprint network will not have immediate access. Support for iPhone users is expected to arrive sometime in the future, but not until Apple puts NFC into the phones.
Other restrictions will curb the number of Isis users for the time being. Only American Express and Chase credit card users can access the system, as other banks and card companies have yet to come on board. Users can set up an American Express Serve account if they don’t have a Chase or American Express card, which lets them link a different credit card, debit card or bank account to a reloadable prepaid account. Even users who meet all these requirements will have to buy a new, specially secured SIM card if they want to pay with Isis.
The NFC technology in Isis links users’ credit card to their phones, though they’ll still have to enter a PIN number on their phones when they make their purchases. Security measures also include the ability to freeze the account if the phone is lost or stolen, and Protective ID, which sends a transaction ID each time you pay, guarding against fraudulent use. The SIM card required, called Secure Element, stores payment information in a secure location so that only authorized apps can access it.
The “Where to Pay” section of the app lets users search for nearby stores that accept Isis. From a quick search, stores like Walgreens, Urban Outfitters, Foot Locker, Jamba Juice, as well as hundreds of thousands of other retailers, services and restaurants are already available to use with Isis. Users can also search for deals and offers from merchants or link up loyalty cards from participating stores. Currently, free Jamba Juice smoothies and free Coca-Cola vending machine drinks are being offered as a part of the Isis launch.
The mobile payment space has seen a flurry of new roll-outs in the past year, from players including Google, PayPal, Apple, Square and many smaller startups. Google Wallet, much like Isis, uses NFC to operate, while Apple relies on Bluetooth and Square works with an attachable dongle. According to Gartner, NFC will only account for five percent of mobile payments by 2017, though the total transaction value of mobile payments at that time will hit over $720 billion, with over 450 million users. Currently, mobile transaction value in 2013 is $235 billion, with over 245 billion users.
Amy Lee is a business and technology reporter for CruxialCIO. She has written on technology for the Huffington Post and is a 2010 graduate of Yale University in English and writing.