MWC: Isis, Banks Team Up in Mobile Payment Race

MWC: Isis, Banks Team Up in Mobile Payment Race

Mobile payment venture Isis will partner with Chase, Capital One and BarclayCard, pointing to its focus on establishing a secure, NFC-based payment platform as the market ramps up.

Isis already confirmed agreements with Visa, MasterCard and a number of other major credit companies.

“By working with Isis, we are excited to help pave the way for innovation in the mobile payments space and to provide card members with a secure option for easier and faster payments on the go,” said Chase Card Services President Richard Quigley.

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, which formed Isis as a joint venture into mobile payments, continues to forge ties with bank and credit companies to bolster its credibility as a well-secured, connected payment service using near-field technology, or NFC.

Google Wallet beat Isis out the gate, but security issues hamper Google’s offering and works with a limited roster of merchants.

Isis is taking a gradual approach to beef up its partnerships, and deals with key handset makers like Samsung, HTC, RIM and LG will strengthen Isis’ standing in the burgeoning mobile payment market.

Isis also boosted its security through digital security firm Gemalto, setting itself apart from the flood of competitors by planning to build security directly into SIM cards.

Isis’ announcement puts more heft behind the upcoming service, establishing its credibility in the banking industry, but rival systems like PayPal and Square are likely to challenge the venture’s market grab, targeting Isis for its reliance on NFC.

Most Android and BlackBerry phones come equipped with NFC technology, but the iPhone does not. PayPal, which suggested NFC technology won’t catch on, intends to prove itself with merchants and customers before Isis rolls out.

Recent innovations like Moneto, a service embedding NFC technology in microSD cards, make NFC technology easier to implement. Moneto cards work with a lot of handsets, enabling NFC and letting consumers access the technology without upgrading their phones.

NFC is growing more accessible, but Isis will still contend with PayPal’s strong financial transaction record and Square’s skyrocketing growth. Square’s form of payment uses an affordable dongle, and the readers attract merchants wary of costly transaction equipment and terminals.

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson invested heavily in Square last year, highlighting the start-up’s allegiance with forward thinkers, a notion underscored by the Obama campaign’s embrace of its technology in collecting campaign donations on-the-fly.

Isis faces stiff competition, and its success hinges on whether it can harness interest and momentum of both vendors and customers in its NFC system. Mobile payment security has already affected Google Wallet, and the coalition’s emphasis on the financial sector’s investment in Isis points to major power behind the alliance, which the service hopes to parlay into a solid reputation for security.

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