Isis

Headquarters: 
United States

The Isis joint venture, formed by AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA, seeks to use the combined market clout of three major U.S. mobile carriers to roll out NFC phones and services.

The telcos are building a uniform platform for their NFC-based Isis wallets, which would be loaded with payment, couponing, ticketing and other contactless-mobile applications.

The joint venture, announced in November 2010, had originally planned to launch its own payment scheme at the physical point of sale in the United States, taking on payment giants Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide.

But by early May 2011, the joint venture confirmed it had abandoned that plan. Isis had found signing up merchants a tough slog and their business case for rolling out an Isis-branded payment service became increasingly tenuous after the U.S. Congress passed legislation mandating lower merchant fees on debit transactions, the so-called Durbin Amendment.

In the months leading up to its change of course, Isis had already been pushing the message that it was open to a variety of service providers for its wallet.

And in July 2011, the joint venture announced agreements with the four major U.S. payment networks, including Visa and MasterCard, which said they would support the Isis wallet. The deals, however, aren’t exclusive and the payment networks could work with other NFC wallet providers, such as Google, or, in the case of Visa, continue to advance their own wallets.

But the agreements will help Isis recruit more banks and other payment issuers for the Isis wallets. The announcement also helped Isis to win back some respect in the fast emerging U.S. mobile-payments ecosystem. Abandoning the plans for a new payment scheme had caused the Isis mark to lose a bit of its sparkle.

The other networks forging agreements with Isis are American Express and Discover Financial Services.

Discover was already working directly with Isis, back when the telcos planned to introduce their own payment brand. Discover would have served as the sole retail acceptance network for Isis applications. With the new agreement, Discover probably will issue its own Zip contactless application on Isis phones. But a Discover spokeswoman said its role will be “processing mobile payments that run over the Discover network. Readers at the POS will be ZIP-enabled.”

Besides enabling payment by other issuers, the Isis telcos also plan to enable merchants and consumer products companies to deliver coupons and other mobile promotions to subscribers’ phones, among other applications.

Instead of earning merchant transaction revenue, Isis intends to charge fees from banks and other service providers for hosting their applications on the Isis NFC phones. It also will charge fees from advertisers for delivering the coupons and other offers to consumers.

And members of the Isis JV, such as AT&T, plan to introduce their own NFC services

In February of 2012, Isis announced its first three banking issuers, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard US, which plan to launch credit, debit or prepaid cards for the joint venture's planned two-city trial planned for Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas. American Express later said it would participate in the Isis Wallet, but Barclaycard US is delaying its participation. 

Plans called for the two-city trial to begin in early to mid-2012; then the launch was moved back to the end of summer. And in September 2012, Isis announced a delay in the pilot until at least October 2012.

Key NFC Personnel: 
Michael Abbott, CEO
Ryan Hughes, chief marketing officer
Jim Stapleton, chief sales officer
Scott Mulloy, CTO
Ed Busby, chief commerce officer
Jaymee Johnson, head of marketing
John Theiss, VP, merchant sales
Major NFC and Contactless competitors: 
Last Updated: 
Sep 2012
Author: 
Balaban

HEADLINE NEWS

In-Depth: NFC Wallet Use for Open-Loop Transit Grows but Still Makes Up Relatively Small Share of Contactless Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – When New York City transit officials announced Tuesday that the 1 millionth ride paid for through their new OMNY open-loop payments service had arrived ahead of schedule, they also proudly noted that 80% of the contactless payments had come from NFC wallets, not physical bank cards. 

PayPay Gets Off to Quick Start as One of Many Digital Payments Services in Cash-Loving Japan

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As Japan continues to fight what to date has been a losing battle against cash, an announcement by the joint venture behind QR code-based payments service PayPay offers a little bit of encouragement. 

Research Firm Projects Use of NFC Mobile Wallets in U.S. to Remain Disappointing This Year

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As Apple Pay approaches the fifth anniversary of its launch in the U.S., there is more research showing that most American consumers simply don’t see the value of tapping to pay with NFC-based payments services. 

In-Depth: Five Years After Transport for London Launched Contactless Across Its Transit Network, UK Open-Loop Rollout Remains Uneven

Aug 15 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Five years ago next month, Transport for London introduced open-loop contactless payments across its transit network, including metro, trams and commuter rail, following an earlier launch on buses. The service now accounts for more than half of all pay-as-you-go journeys and has become a global showcase for the technology.

Apple Again Promises to Push Transit Ticketing as It Seeks Broader Adoption of Apple Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While noting to financial analysts late Tuesday that Apple Pay is now approaching 1 billion transactions per month globally and is in 47 markets, perhaps Apple CEO Tim Cook’s most significant comments about Apple Pay this week was to again emphasize that Apple wants to enable users to routinely tap to pay for bus, subway and other transit rides with their iPhones and Apple Watches. 

Chinese Mega Wallets Continue to Expand QR Code-based Transit Ticketing, while Major Agencies in West Stay with NFC

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– China’s mega-mobile wallet providers have continued their rollouts of transit payments in China, with Tencent Holdings announcing Tuesday that two years after launching its first QR-code-based WeChat “Ride Code” service in Guangzhou, total users for its transit payments services has reached 100 million.

Sydney Transit Authority Gives Users of Contactless Bank Cards Nearly All Discounts They Get with Closed-Loop Opal Cards

Jul 29 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Transport for New South Wales, Australia, the authority that oversees transit in and around Sydney, has taken a step toward phasing out its closed-loop contactless Opal fare card, today extending nearly all of the discounts it offers on Opal to users of open-loop Visa- Mastercard- and American Express-branded contactless cards.

In-Depth: 2020 Could Mark Landmark Year for Contactless Payments in U.S.

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight– October will mark the fifth anniversary of the launch of Apple Pay in the U.S., Apple’s first country for its groundbreaking NFC payments service. 

Filings Point to Plans for Global Expansion of Apple Card and Apple Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Following Apple’s imminent entry into the credit card business in the U.S. with its planned Apple Card, the tech giant is showing signs it is looking to roll out the branded credit card in a number of other countries, as well.

Analysis: It's Likely Too Little, Too Late for LG Pay

Jul 25 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – It was the fall of 2015, and interest in the Pays wallets was burgeoning. Google and Samsung had each launched their respective payments services in September of 2015 in the U.S., following introduction of Apple Pay a year earlier.

Apple Pay to Finally Support Octopus Card in Hong Kong, as Competition Grows in Market

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight –  Apple Pay will offer support for Hong Kong’s popular closed-loop contactless transit and retail payments card Octopus later this year, adding a much-needed service to an Apple Wallet that launched three years ago in Hong Kong for credit and debit payments at retail.

Visa Promotes QR Codes in Contactless Hot Spot Taiwan, Hoping to Capture Merchants That Refuse to Accept Cards

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While Visa’s country office in Taiwan was touting the fact that Taiwan ranks as one of the top countries in Asia Pacific for acceptance and use of contactless payments only six months ago, that hasn’t stopped the big payments network from actively promoting QR code payments on the island nation, too.