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. 



NFC No Longer in a Starring Role at Identiv?

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – The new leadership at U.S-based Identiv focused primarily on its premises and identity products, particularly its new partnerships with Cisco, and mentioned its transponder business only briefly, without direct reference to NFC, in its most recent earnings call.

OTI Share Price Falls After Disappointing Q3 Earnings Report

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Three months after new CEO Shlomi Cohen took the reins, Israel-based NFC and contactless vendor On Track Innovations reported a 31% sequential drop in revenue and a continued slump in contactless point-of-sale reader sales for the third quarter.

EMVCo Promises Token Service Provider Registry This Year; Without it, Third Party TSPs Can’t Fully Compete with Schemes

Nov 17 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – EMVCo, the commercial standards organization owned by the world’s largest payment networks, has promised to have its registration process for token service providers ready by the end of the year. Until then, even EMVCo acknowledges that it is more difficult for third-party suppliers to offer tokenization under its specifications–a market that the major payments networks that own EMVCo now dominate in the early going.

MasterCard Licenses HCE Technology for On-Behalf-Of Service in Europe

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – MasterCard’s Poland-based payment transaction processor, Trevica, has licensed host card emulation technology from Turkey-based Cardtek in order to provide a managed HCE service to banks it serves in Europe.

Analysis: Chase Pay Deal with MCX–All About Economics

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – While Chase Pay will offer merchants in the MCX consortium a potential consumer base of 94 million Chase payment card accounts and the promise of integration with their loyalty programs and offers, the essential element of the deal was the very low transaction fees Chase will charge.

After False Start, NXP Adds Wearables as Target for Embedded Chip Loader Service

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – NXP Semiconductors will take another crack at rolling out its “loader service,” which seeks to make it easier for service providers to load payment and other applications on the chip maker’s embedded secure elements by managing keys on the chip.

RBC Drops All Support for NFC SIMs in Favor of HCE; SIMs Created Too Much ‘Friction,’ Says Bank

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – It looked like a promising compromise at the time, when Royal Bank of Canada launched RBC Secure Cloud in January of 2014–a hybrid approach to NFC payments that combined cloud with SIMs, storing a small applet on SIM cards.

NXP Semiconductors Finds Apple Pay Business a Tough Act to Follow

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple Pay is proving to be a tough act to follow for NXP Semiconductors, with the Netherlands-based chip maker projecting lower sales next quarter for the business unit that includes its NFC chips, as part of an overall revenue decline for the vendor, which NXP largely blames on the Chinese market.

Deal with AmEx Highlights Continued Problems Frustrating Apple as It Seeks to Expand Apple Pay

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple’s announcement of its expansion of Apple Pay to five more markets, including Australia and Canada this year, with only one major issuer– American Express–underscores the problems the tech giant is having in signing up banks for the overseas expansion of its mobile-payments service.

Chase Pay to Challenge Payment Networks, NFC Technology

Oct 28 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – LAS VEGAS, Nev.: In a surprise move, JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. credit and debit card issuer by payment volume, announced plans to launch its own wallet app–along with a low-cost mobile-payments service accepted by Wal-Mart Stores and other big U.S. merchants in the MCX merchant consortium.

While Competition Heats Up Among HCE Vendors, Published Certification Lists Remain Thin on the Ground

Nov 6 2015

NFC Times Exclusive – MasterCard has released its first list of certified vendors for host card emulation products supporting its cloud-based payments specifications, though the list includes relatively few suppliers so far. Meanwhile, neither Visa nor MasterCard has apparently certified tokenization suppliers.

Researcher: Apple Bungled Apple Pay Launch from Merchant Acceptance Standpoint

Oct 22 2015

NFC Times Exclusive –  Apple mishandled its rollout of Apple Pay from the standpoint of merchant acceptance, according to a principal with the payments service practice of research firm Phoenix Marketing International, who said a significant percentage of consumers have told the firm they are having trouble finding places to tap their iPhones to pay, along with experiencing other “checkout issues.”