Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard will team up with three of the wireless phone industry's biggest brands to launch a mobile payment solution that aims to compete with Google Wallet. After operating in stealth mode for months, officials from the Isis project used their blog to announce the first three credit card issuers to confirm participation in the wireless phone payment network.
AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless will support the Isis Mobile Wallet at launch, enabling eligible subscribers to download Isis software to NFC-compatible mobile devices. Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard customers can choose to link their eligible credit cards, debit cards or prepaid cards to an Isis Mobile Wallet account. Merchants can also use Isis tools to automate shopper loyalty programs, coupons and other special perks.
Proponents of mobile payments prefer NFC-based systems to existing EMV credit cards, citing stronger security features. Isis-enabled phones only transmit account information after a user has entered a PIN, minimizing risk from rogue scanners. In addition, Isis can remotely disable payment privileges on a lost or stolen phone, eliminating the need to cancel or reissue credit card numbers.
Isis may make its first public appearance at SXSW
The Isis Mobile Wallet will launch its trial run in two tech-friendly cities: Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas. Isis representatives confirmed that they will maintain a presence during Austin's SXSW Festival in March. However, company officials would not confirm whether any of their planned "surprises" included an early test of live client devices or payment terminals.
Like Google Wallet, Isis Mobile Wallet was designed using industry standards. Therefore, merchants who invest in contactless credit card terminals capable of reading Visa PayWave and MasterCard PayPass cards can also scan Isis Mobile Wallet transmissions. Though the NFC communications standard remains secure, Google Wallet product managers suffered a setback when hackers revealed how to bypass a user's PIN and make payments on a stolen phone.