Isis Mobile Wallet brings NFC to the payment counter, will roll out nationwide

Isis, the joint venture between T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, allows for NFC-based tap-to-pay (and redeem) transactions at the counter. The service was initially rolled out in two locations: Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas. Both initial locations were stamped as successful, and now plans have been announced to roll out the service nationwide sometime later this year.

The trial run started last October, and kicked off with partnerships with Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. Thus far, a quarter of the top 100 retailers in the US have NFC payment options, and the research group Aite Group estimates that a total of 1.3 million stores throughout the nation will have mobile payment systems in place by the end of 2013.

Some stats from the Isis trial run showed that the Mobile Wallet users averaged more than 10 uses per month, with 2/3rds of them opting in for brand offers and messages, with the average number of brands being seven per user. Acceptance of NFC mobile payments jumped by in excess of 4000 locations in the trial cities, with most of the wireless payments being made at places like cafes, gas stations, grocery stores, convenience shops, and "quick-service" restaurants.

Obviously, to use the system, buyers will need an NFC-enabled smartphone, and will also require a SIM-based "security element," which – when combined – makes the device Isis Ready. Thus far, a total of 35 smartphones on the market from the three joint-venture carriers are labeled as Isis Ready, and more are slated to follow. Eventually, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry 10 will also be supported.

Said Isis's CEO Michael Abbott: "Over the past nine months, we have proven the power of an open platform, creating an ecosystem of literally hundreds of partners dedicated to making mobile commerce a reality. As part of our commitment to consumers, we are incorporating feedback from our pilots into the next generation of the Isis Mobile Wallet as we prepare for national availability later this year."