Isis Goes Live (Nov. 14, 2013)
Three years after its initial unveiling, the Isis digital wallet has finally rolled out nationwide. The joint venture between mobile carriers AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless is now available to all subscribers of those providers via the Isis app, which can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store. And to sweeten the deal for prospective users, Isis has announced several launch promotions, including 20 percent back on the first $200 in purchases made via Isis from an American Express Serve prepaid account, free soft drinks at Coca-Cola vending machines and 1 million free smoothies at Jamba Juice locations.
Since announcing Isis in late 2010, the wallet’s telecom creators have spent years building out the platform and signing up retailers and payment providers. During that time, a number of other players have jumped into the mobile wallet arena, including tech heavy-hitters Google and PayPal, a consortium of merchants dubbed MCX, along with the one major U.S. mobile provider left out of the Isis group—Sprint, which last month debuted a system of storing payment credentials on a mobile device, seen by some industry observers as Sprint’s answer to Isis.
Aside from the numerous competitors in the mobile wallet space, Isis also faces a lingering uncertainty over NFC payments, which have yet to be fully embraced by merchants or consumers. It also remains to be seen whether FIs and mobile operators can find a workable partnership on digital wallets. Capital One and Barclays left the Isis fold in September after the wallet’s initial test run in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, though both left the door open for a possible return. For now, Isis users can pay for purchases via an American Express credit card or Serve prepaid account, or one of several Chase credit cards.