Back in November of 2010, before we even had the Nexus S and its NFC transceiver, we heard about a plan involving most of the major US carriers to offer mobile payment services conducted over NFC, called Isis. Well-over a year later, we’re still waiting for the service to materialize. Today we get a few updates on its deployment, learn about some new partners, and get our first look at the user interface.
Wide-scale testing for the system is set to take place in Salt Lake City and Austin, beginning sometime this summer. Assuming everything goes smoothly following this smaller launch, deployment will scale up to a national level.
Isis is shaping-up to be the chief competition to Google Wallet, with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile all aligning with Isis; this is why you can get Google Wallet on your Nexus S 4G with Sprint, but not with the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. Ideally, we’d leave things up to individual smartphone owners about which payment system they’d like to use, but it’s increasingly looking like we’ll be facing a situation where carriers take that choice away in favor of their approved payment method. Adding to the clout of Isis, today we learn that financial institutions Chase, Capital One, and Barclaycard just signed-up to join.
The Isis app will let you link your phone to credit cards, debit cards, and store loyalty cards. We can see that it will feature an “Isis Feed” screen, which may be something along the line of Google Offers, telling you about upcoming opportunities for discounts. We should know more once Isis testing gets started.