Isis Lures Mobile Payments Customers With Free Smoothies - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Mobile // Mobile Devices
10:15 AM

Isis Lures Mobile Payments Customers With Free Smoothies

Isis needs to do more than offer free Jamba Juice smoothies to stir up interest in its mobile payments platform.

Lost Smartphone? 6 Free Tracking Apps
Lost Smartphone? 6 Free Tracking Apps
(click image for larger view)
Isis, the mobile payments joint venture created by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, is expected to launch nationwide in the coming weeks. Today, Isis announced that the companies will give away up to one million free Jamba Juice smoothies to U.S. consumers who tap to pay using their Isis Mobile Wallet. The move is meant to bring visibility to the mobile payment service, which needs far more than free smoothies to succeed.

Isis has been in development for years and will go mainstream shortly. Isis will allow AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless customers to tap their NFC-equipped smartphone to make payments at participating retailers. Isis was trialed extensively in Austin and Salt Lake City with mixed results.

For starters, only Android phones will be supported at launch. The devices will be required to have a near-field communication (NFC) radio on board. Many of today's leading devices already do. The iPhone will not be supported at launch because the iPhone doesn't include NFC. iPhone owners who want to use Isis will need to pick up an NFC-equipped case (cost unknown) for their phone. The case won't be available to iPhones for several months. That hamstrings Isis out of the gate, given U.S. consumers' wide adoption of the iPhone.

[ Want to know the latest on Google Wallet? Read Google Wallet Arrives For iOS. ]

Worse, some of the initial financial backers of Isis have already called it quits. The service went to trial with four credit card companies: AmericanExpress, BarclayCard, CapitalOne and Chase. Both BarclayCard and CapitalOne have since dropped support for Isis, leaving only AmericanExpress and Chase.

In other words, only Android smartphone owners who also happen to be AmericanExpress or Chase credit card holders will be able to use Isis when it goes live.

Where will this select group of smartphone owners be able to make tap-and-go payments? At launch, Isis expects users to be able to make purchases at approximately 1.3 million contactless payment locations at 24 of the top 100 merchants spread across the country. Isis will work with existing MasterCard PayPass, Visa PayWave and American Express ExpressPay terminals, which will have new symbols and stickers that indicate their compatibility. Isis hasn't published a list of the merchants, but some include American Eagle, BP, Champs, Duane Reade, Jamba Juice, Macy's, New York & Company, Shop Rite, Sunoco, Urban Outfitters and others. The service will also support loyalty cards and offer savings and deals here and there.

The Jamba Juice giveaway announced Wednesday might convince a few people to give Isis a shot, but it needs heavy support from its carrier partners if it is going to get off the ground. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon need to provide an incentive for people to sign up.

Isis is entering the mobile payment game late. Google Wallet has been around for several years now, although it's had limited success. PayPal has been moving into the real-world mobile payment space aggressively. Further, Square is out there letting smaller retailers take advantage of easy credit card payments. Isis's greatest advantage over these competitors is its carrier support. Isis expects there will be about 30 million Isis-compatible devices in the market by the end of 2014.

The company has not yet specified a launch date.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Best Way to Get Started with Data Analytics
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  7/8/2020
10 Cyberattacks on the Rise During the Pandemic
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  6/24/2020
IT Trade Shows Go Virtual: Your 2020 List of Events
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/29/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
Flash Poll