U.S. Mobile Operators Announce Planned ‘Isis’ NFC Service

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile USA announced their joint venture today, with plans to introduce NFC-based mobile payment in selected markets during the next 18 months.

The joint venture, calling its planned mobile-commerce network and brand "Isis," said it intends to use the carriers' massive customer base–more than 200 million combined subscribers–to lead the payments industry in the United States in the transition from cards to mobile phones. The mobile wallets the telcos offer on NFC phones will also provide membership and loyalty programs, personalized coupons, rewards and content.

The mobile carriers also announced their long-awaited pick for CEO of the venture, payments industry veteran Michael Abbott, formerly of GE Capital. The company the telcos formed, called JVL Ventures, is based in New York City.

"Our mobile commerce network, through relationships with merchants, will provide an enhanced, more convenient, more personalized shopping experience for consumers," said Abbott in a statement. "While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start. We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes."

The telcos also confirmed they will partner with Discover Financial Services to tap in on Discover’s network of 7 million merchant locations in the United States–although fewer than 2% of those are now equipped to handle contactless payments. Barclaycard US will be the first issuer of "multiple mobile-payment products." But Abbott said in the statement that "moving forward, Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers."  

While Discover’s network and its Zip contactless application is present on most of the roughly 100,000 merchant locations that also accept contactless payment from Visa- and MasterCard-branded cards, the joint venture will have to build up the acceptance infrastructure greatly if it hopes to successfully wean consumers off of cards, say observers. The telcos are expected to first target cities with high concentrations of contactless terminals, such as New York City.

Abbott joined GE Capital, the financial services unit of General Electric Co., in 2002. According to the joint venture, he led strategy, marketing and product development for the GE unit’s private-label cards division. Before that, he served as executive vice president of marketing for credit card services at FleetBoston. There he launched new card products.

The telcos had searched for a CEO for months, and NFC Times learned they had been close to making an appointment on at least one occasion. The long-overdue hiring could help bring focus to the group, which faces an uphill climb to take on the major U.S. card networks Visa and MasterCard, along with major U.S. banks, in launching a new payment service.

It was unclear if the NFC services the announcement said the venture plans to launch within 18 months are in fact the pilots the group reportedly plans to hold by late 2011. 

 

HEADLINE NEWS

Android Pay Launches in Australia with ANZ but Not Yet with Westpac or Other Big Four Banks

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Google has launched Android Pay in its fourth country, Australia, with one of the country’s big four banks, ANZ, but the launch was beset by delays that have kept another of the big four, Westpac, on the sidelines for now.

Analysis: Apple Sees Familiar Pattern with Apple Pay Launch in Switzerland

NFC Times Exclusive – Apple’s expansion into Switzerland late last week with its Apple Pay service followed a familiar pattern, as in many of the other new markets the tech giant has expanded its payments service in: support first comes from relatively small issuers while major banks hold out.

As Apple Pay Launch Looms, French Telcos Continue to Push SIM-Based NFC with TSM Hub

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – With the launch of Apple Pay imminent in France, telcos there are continuing to push SIM-based NFC technology, hiring a trusted service manager for their new NFC SIM “hub”–although No. 1 telco Orange will also support Apple Pay.

Taiwanese Telco Joint Venture Steers Course Away from TSM; JV President Blames Vendor Safran

Jul 11 2016

NFC Times Exclusive – Alliance Digital Technology Co., the joint venture of five Taiwanese mobile operators and transit fare-collection operator EasyCard Corp., is steering away from the TSM business, which was the reason it formed three years ago, NFC Times has learned. It will add a focus on providing mobile ID and authentication, the JV told NFC Times.

French Domestic Network to Provide Tokenization for ‘Pays’ Service; Seeks to Take on Visa and MasterCard

Jul 19 2016

NFC Times Exclusive – French banks and their bank-owned domestic payments network STET plan to launch mobile payments in the first quarter of next year with a “large smartphone vendor” using the domestic payment network’s own token service provider, STET told NFC Times.

Samsung Deal with Alipay in China Angered UnionPay; Device Maker Gears Up to Enable Transit Ticketing

NFC Times Exclusive – SHANGHAI, China: While Apple has signed up more banks and is believed to have more cards registered in China for its Apple Pay service–around 10 million, according to a source–Samsung is seeking to outflank its rival with more acceptance points and more applications for Samsung Pay, NFC Times has learned.

Analysis: Microsoft Considers NFC Wallet App a Must-Have for Flagging Smartphone Business

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Microsoft, which has written off more than $8 billion from its failed Nokia acquisition and which is expected to fully pull the plug on its consumer smartphone hardware business, nonetheless believes a viable wallet app is a must-have to keep its Windows 10 operating system for phones viable–although its announcement this week of Microsoft Wallet is surrounded by unknowns, including exactly when the service will generally launch.

Reality Check: MasterCard Misses Big on Goal to Bring International NFC Acceptance to Japan

NFC Times Exclusive – Three years ago, in June of 2013, MasterCard announced it would “deploy a target” of 410,000 MasterCard PayPass-enabled point-of-sale terminals, to be rolled out “throughout Japan over the next three years.”

Samsung Pay Launches in Australia but without Support Yet from Big Four Banks

NFC Times Exclusive Insight - Samsung launched Samsung Pay in its fifth country, Australia, on Wednesday, but like Apple, Samsung has had to make do without the country's largest card issuers to begin with.

Apple to Launch Payments on Web; Pursues Divide-and-Conquer Strategy for Signing Up Banks

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple, as expected, will bring its payments service to e-commerce purchases and to three new marketsFrance, Switzerland and Hong Kongthe tech giant announced during its Worldwide Developers Conference Monday.

Samsung Pay Launches in Spain and Australia Won't Support MST for Bank Payment, but Singapore Will

Jun 15 2016

UPDATED: NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Following the launch of Samsung Pay in South Korea, the U.S., and China, Samsung’s launches of its mobile payments service in two new markets, Spain and Australia, both contactless and EMV payments hot spots, will not support the device maker's proprietary Magnetic Secure Transmission technology, which is designed to make nearly all mag-stripe POS terminals potential acceptance points, NFC Times has learned. But in Singapore, Samsung Pay is expected to support MST technology.

Seamless Turns to HCE and Proxy-Card Architecture to Boost Its Acceptance Network Worldwide

NFC Times Exclusive – Sweden-based Seamless Distribution told NFC Times it will use a proxy-card architecture, along with host card emulation, to enable NFC payments from its SEQR mobile wallet, a move the company hopes will help it greatly expand the acceptance network for its wallet.