Isis, the mobile commerce network founded by three of the nation’s biggest wireless carriers — Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile — will launch in its first two cities, Austin and Salt Lake City, on Monday, October 22. It’s partnering up with major retailers including Foot Locker, 7-Eleven, McDonald’s and Sports Authority.
Isis backers include Chase, American Express and Capital One, which plan to make their credit and debit cards available for use with Isis’ mobile wallet app.
The Isis system relies on NFC (near-field communications) chips, a short-range wireless technology. NFC builds upon RFID systems by allowing two-way communication between endpoints. But few smartphones actually have NFC on board.
“By year end, as many as 20 Isis Ready handsets are expected to be in market,” Isis’ head of marketing, Jaymee Johnson, said in a written statement. “We look forward to sharing more details on Oct. 22.”
An Isis representative would not comment on when the service is expected to roll out nationwide.
Meanwhile, Google Wallet allows consumers to store credit card and store loyalty card information in a virtual wallet and then use an NFC-enabled device at terminals that also accept MasterCard/PayPass transactions.
Other mobile payment systems include eBay’s Paypal and Square, created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, which currently serves more than 8 million customers a day through its mobile apps and recently landed a major deal with Starbucks. Dozens of other startups like Venmo are also trying to carve out a foothold.
Isis’ powerful backers could make it a major force in the still-nascent mobile payments field.