Google Play now offers Isis, an NFC-based mobile-payment app backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
The Isis Mobile Wallet app is now available for nationwide use, almost three years to the day since Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile first announced their support
for the NFC-based (near-field-communication-based) mobile-payment solution. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play store.
Isis CEO Michael Abbott called the launch of the app a "milestone for consumers, merchants and banks," and the start of a "smarter way to pay."
Along with its partners, Isis has built a "seamless mobile commerce experience," Abbott continued. "We're pleased to bring the magic and simplicity of the Isis Mobile Wallet to consumers across the U.S."
The app works like this: Download it, plug in credit card or banking information and then visit the issuer's Website to complete the process. When it's time to pay for something, select the card to be charged (several or one can be plugged into the app), tap a phone to the contactless point-of-sale module on point-of-sale machines (where you swipe your credit card), and the charge is made.
The app can also be paired to prepaid cards, loyalty cards and coupons.
Since its inception, says Isis, the app has been redesigned and given a simpler, cleaner user interface. It's also been integrated with American Express Serve.
"Serve makes it convenient for Isis Mobile Wallet users to load funds to their American Express Serve account from a U.S. debit or credit card, bank account or through direct deposit, as well as pay bills online and send money to friends and family using an American Express Serve account," Isis said in a Nov. 14 statement.
More than 40 smartphones are now Isis-ready. These include the Samsung Galaxy S III, S 4, S 3 Mini and Galaxy Mega, the Sony Xperia TL, the LG Optimus G and the HTC One, One X and First.
A security element is on the SIM card. Users with NFC technology but not a secure-element SIM (identifiable by its gray corner), says AT&T, can swap out their SIM, at no charge, at any AT&T store.
Within the app, retailers will be working hard to make their Isis-support known, offering coupons and deals.
Jamba Juice, for example, is getting behind Isis by offering 1 million free smoothies to Isis Mobile Wallet users across the country, and Coca-Cola is offering Mobile Wallet users their first three drinks free from Coca-Cola vending machines.
In the app, users can view offers from all stores nearby, or view only offers from their favorite stores. (Tapping a heart beside a participating store indicates it's a favorite.)
Juniper Research has called Google Wallet and Isis "tipping points" in the mobile payments market. The firm expects mobile payment transactions
to exceed $1.3 trillion by 2017.
Part of the delay of the Isis launch was reimagining the offer
. Initially, the carriers had devised a solution that worked to leave out Visa, Mastercard and American Express (and the inevitable fees they'd earn). Eventually, they realized the necessity of teaming with the major credit companies.
Aite Group Senior Analyst Rick Oglesby said in a statement that the national rollout of Isis "is an important step towards making mobile payments a part of everyday retail experiences."