October 22nd marked the much-anticipated soft launch of ISIS, a national mobile commerce venture with a goal of fundamentally transforming how people shop, pay and save. Backed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, customers in Austin, TX and Salt Lake City, UT now have the opportunity to pay via their smartphone or tablet and receive targeted offers and deals using their ISIS mobile wallet. Available through an android-based app, ISIS’ wallet relies on near-field communication (NFC) technology and phone’s secure element to allow customers to pay with a simple tap.
Deloitte predicts that in 2012 shipments of devices equipped with NFC capabilities will likely grow to almost 200 million. And, in 2013 there may be as many as 300 million NFC smartphones, tablets and eReaders sold. Currently there are 11 smartphones that have the capability with a special SIM card and NFC chip, to support the ISIS mobile wallet. With that said ISIS already has nearly 400 businesses enabled to accept contactless payments in Austin alone and that number continues to grow on a daily basis.
Once a consumer has their ISIS wallet installed on a smartphone they can either link an existing credit card or select from a pre-paid option. The ISIS mobile wallet also serves as a central repository for special offers and coupons as well as loyalty cards. And, if a business is executing ISIS’ Pay and Save mobile commerce offers, customers enjoy even more savings opportunities.
Mobile payments offer much more than convenience and consolidation of a physical wallet into a digital one. New solutions, like ISIS, also offer integrated value-add programs that drive incremental value not only for businesses, but for consumers as well. Time will tell on the speed of NFC acceptance, but there is no denying that mobile payments and digital wallets are here to stay and they are driving significant change in the payments ecosystem.