Google Wallet’s biggest competitor – which hasn’t even been released to the general public yet – is set to go live soon in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas, by October 22. This is according to the leaked document shown at the right. It appears that this initial two-city release will actually be a trial, although all customers with an Isis-compatible device in those markets will be able to start using the service right away.
According to this leak, only some banks will support Isis right off the bat. This seems to indicate that the Isis strategy is a bit different than Google’s, which decided to force compatibility with all major credit cards by creating a virtual “middleman” MasterCard, which actually processes mobile payments before billing other credit cards.
Additionally, Isis will give early adopters $10 on a virtual Isis prepaid card, so people can start using this right away.
Of course, time will tell whether or not Isis poses a real threat to Google, but it’s my hope that the introduction of a new NFC mobile payment service will motivate more merchants to obtain NFC-compatible payment terminals, and erase some of the intrigue and mysteriousness that seems to surround NFC payments among the general public. Once this becomes more mainstream, this form of payment will become much easier to use – both for consumers and merchants.