One of the names that keeps popping up over and over in discussion about mobile payment system is Isis. The group was formed last year through a collaborative effort between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, hoping to set up a common platform through which users could conduct transactions via their smartphones, including the ability to use NFC for payment authorization. Since then we’ve learned more about how the system might work, including the revelation that it will all still be tied to credit cards for billing, instead of going directly through your mobile provider. Discover, Visa, and Master Card eventually all got on-board, and now American Express has decided to join in on the fun.
With all the major credit cards backing it, and a significant fraction of mobile users getting their cellular service through one of these carriers, Isis has the support in place to see it take off as a leader in mobile payments. Sure, it will have competition from the likes of Google Wallet, but one of the key factors in seeing who will end up winning this game is how many retailers get behind one system or the other; with all the credit card companies now affiliated with Isis, that could mean the market penetration it needs in order to see ubiquitous deployment.
Now, bring on more smartphones with NFC abilities, and let’s finally get this mobile payment competition really started!