Isis Touts Progress as Wells Fargo Dangles 20 Percent-Off Promo (Feb. 6, 2014)
Isis, the NFC-based mobile payment initiative backed by the nation’s major wireless carriers, has hit a few key milestones recently that will go a long way toward building the scale vital to the effort’s success, according to Tony Sabetti, Isis merchant integration head, who delivered a keynote speech Feb. 5 at the Smart Card Alliance’s Payments Summit in Salt Lake City. The latest is Wells Fargo’s announcement this week of a promotion giving Isis users a 20 percent discount on all purchases through its mobile wallet and a $20 statement credit the first time they tap to pay with Isis.
“We’re very excited about this and other promotions from hundreds of merchants that are really starting to drive consumer awareness and usage,” Sabetti tells Paybefore. Wells Fargo in December opened up Isis to its Visa credit card customers, joining American Express Co. and Chase, whose credit cards also support Isis. Customers with accounts at other banks may access Isis by opening an American Express Serve prepaid account, and American Express continues to offer 20 percent back on purchases (up to $200) to customers who use Isis to pay via a Serve account. Isis rolled out nationally late last year.
A major advance for Isis, a joint venture of AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, is the growing availability of NFC-enabling iPhone cases certain wireless carriers are selling separately that iPhone users can buy to access NFC services like Isis, Sabetti says. The sleeves reportedly cost about $70 each.
“We understand that with NFC we’re on a journey, and we still need more merchants, more issuers, more cell phones [supporting it] and more users, but we are really focused on how we’re scaling things up,” Sabetti told conference attendees. More than 56 NFC-compatible smartphone models now are available in the U.S. and that momentum is steadily growing, Sabetti said. A significant portion of the U.S base of cell phone users get new handsets about every 12 to 18 months, and more and more of those handsets support NFC, so next year will see millions more consumers gain access to Isis via handsets, with more issuers and merchants in the pipeline, according to Sabetti.