Just as Google has begun talking up contactless payments via Android, three of the biggest US operators have announced a nationwide mobile wallet service.
AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless unveiled their Isis joint venture Tuesday, promising to deliver a point-of-sale mobile payment network across the country within 18 months.
GE Capital veteran Michael Abbott will head up the venture, which will provide contactless payments using near field communication (NFC) technology to their combined 200 million subscribers.
“We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes,” Abbott said.
Isis’ mobile payment network will be based on Discover Financial Services current infrastructure, used by seven million US retailers.
Credit card firm Barclaycard, a pioneer of NFC-based contactless payments, will be the first issuer. Barclaycard had deployed eight million of the ten million contactless payment cards in service by end October and will also likely handle the financial risk management.
Isis will go head-to-head with rival mobile payment services being developed by Visa, MasterCard and American Express, WSJ.com notes.
Take up of contactless payment technology in the US has been slow to date, with only 150,000 retailers on-board at present, Reuters reports.
A recent study of 2,000 US consumers conducted for mobile research agency mobileSQUARED found that 7.5% are happy making purchases on their mobile phone, though a further 6.6% said they would only spend up to $10 (€7.42).
Google CEO Eric Schmidt told an industry conference Monday that the latest version of Android, due to debut in a few weeks, will feature NFC technology New York Times reported.
He said mobile payments “could replace your credit card” because the card industry believes NFC chips are more secure than today’s cards.