Capital One Exits Isis Mobile Wallet (Sept. 16, 2013)
Capital One Financial Corp. this week ends its trial run with the Isis Mobile Wallet, raising questions about what combination of payment cards Isis will have when the wallet officially launches later this year. The Isis wallet, backed by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile and Verizon, has undergone several key changes within the last several weeks as it prepares for its national rollout. American Express Co. last month announced plans to integrate its Serve payments platform—including a prepaid card and mobile app—with Isis. JPMorgan Chase & Co. simultaneously said it will enable its credit card brands to operate with Isis when the wallet becomes available across the U.S. Chase said the Isis pilot, which began in the fall of 2012 in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, generated “positive results.” Isis was formed in August 2010 with Discover Network as its first partner. Competition is simmering among a variety of mobile and digital wallets.
Capital One tells Paybefore it has declined to go forward with Isis for the present. “Beginning this week, Capital One cards will no longer be available in the Isis Mobile Wallet,” a Capital One spokesperson tells Paybefore. “We will continue to work with Isis to evaluate options for a continued presence in the Isis Mobile Wallet,” he adds.
Does Isis need Capital One to succeed? Not necessarily, according to Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst with Aite Group. Having a bank partner with Capital One’s size and reach is important for product utility and for consumer promotion, Oglesby notes. But there are plenty of other fish in the sea. “There are other [card] options, so this is far from a devastating blow,” he says.
Capital One may have other reasons for bailing out of Isis, suggests James Wester, research director at IDC Financial Insights. “It’s quite possible Capital One has its own efforts on the mobile payment front and would rather devote its resources to those initiatives,” Wester tells Paybefore. But losing Cap One is not good news for Isis, he believes. “Had Capital One been seeing some value, or had the expectation of seeing some value, they wouldn’t have pulled out, especially now when Isis is just about to roll out nationwide,” Wester says.