The mobile payments arena was starting to look very fragmented with several different players each attempting to offer their own NFC-based system. Google announced their Google Wallet service in partnership with MasterCard, Visa hinted at its own service, while Discover teamed up with the ISIS network. But surprisingly, in an announcement today, it was revealed that MasterCard, Visa, and American Express have now all joined ISIS.
The ISIS network at one time had to scale back its ambitions in the face of Google Wallet and potential competition from Visa. Instead of rolling out a more comprehensive network, it seemed like the group had to push forward smaller incremental offerings to catch up with Google Wallet. But today's announcement tips the power balance with all four major credit card companies now on board with ISIS. This leaves Google with only a partnership with the NowNetwork carrier and the double-dipping MasterCard.
ISIS was formed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon to launch an NFC-based mobile payment network by 2012 that was originally intended to usurp the established credit card payment networks. That didn't sit well with Visa and MasterCard, but it looks like they've worked things out. Now, with ISIS being comprised of three of the four major U.S. wireless carriers and all four of the major credit card companies, Google is suddenly the odd kid out. We'll have to wait and see if all the major credit card companies also sign on board for Google Wallet.