Isis Touts 600,000 Monthly Account Activations, as Pace Doubles (May 15, 2014)
The tide may be turning for Isis, the mobile wallet venture AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile launched nationwide last November after many delays. Isis on May 14 said consumers activated an average of 20,000 mobile wallets per day over the past 30 days, doubling its growth rate over the prior month. Isis CEO Michael Abbott said in a blog post that “the right ecosystem” is coming together to support its take-up, with 68 million devices from its telecom partners now supporting its wallet. Isis also comes preloaded in 14 different types of smartphone, with more preloaded devices in the pipeline, he said.
Diverse factors are helping to drive Isis adoption. Employees at the carriers’ stores are trained to help customers with phones preloaded with Isis to understand how the NFC-based mobile wallet works. American Express’ Serve digital prepaid account offers to waive the card’s $1 monthly fee for any customer that signs up for Isis and links the card to it.
“With Isis, we’re able to reach a whole new customer base of tech-savvy users,” Stefan Happ, American Express general manager of U.S. payment options, said in the Isis press release. And Jamba Juice, which gives Isis users one free smoothie when they pay initially with Isis, says it has given away 270,000 free smoothies during the first quarter and expects to hit 1 million free drinks via Isis this fall.
Many analysts admitted to some original skepticism about Isis’ chances of gaining scale with an NFC-based model, and notching 600,000 monthly activations at this point is certainly good news, James Wester, research director, global payments, IDC Financial Insights, tells Paybefore. However, he expresses concern that mere “activation” may not mean customers have loaded funds into the account and are using it regularly. “Regardless of how activations are defined, the big number is how many purchases and transactions are being completed with Isis,” according to Wester. “Increasing the number of people actually using the mobile wallet is how Isis will convince merchants to adopt contactless in their stores.”
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