In what is almost a slap in Google Wallet's face, the "carrier supported" Isis Wallet went live today rolling out nationwide after more than a year of testing in select markets. Making payments via your smartphone was just a matter of time – it is something most people always carry with them and saves the customer from carrying around their debit or credit card in a crowded store. The logistics of getting this all into play has been a nightmare to the vendors and companies and confusing to the public. When you are talking about a person's money and security, they tend to be a little hesitant.
These "wallets" use a NFC (Near Field Technology) chip to make a transaction, and Apple has refused to put the secure chip in their new iPhone 5s, and this has not helped the NFC Wallets and its adoption by the public or vendors. Then there was the problem that only certain phones were compatible with the system – you can go on any of the carriers websites and see what phones will work with the new Isis system.
Getting started is not as easy as they make it out to be and when things are not easy, people tend to shy away from trying the product. I went to Verizon's app to check it out, but they are all the same, and it explains you need two things to use Isis (only two, sounds easy):
- An ISIS READY® SMARTPHONE that uses NFC (near field communication) technology to send payment info at checkout.
- Check here for the latest Isis Ready phones: http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/store/controller?item=phoneFirst&action=viewPhoneOverviewByDevice&linkId=42
- An ENHANCED SIM CARD that stores and protects your payment and other sensitive Wallet information.
- To find out if you have what you need, visit http://www.paywithisis.com or http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/explore/?page=isis.
Once setup, the Isis Mobile Wallet is a free app will allow you to shop and make payments with the tap of your smartphone on the vendor's countertop reader or sensor. If you have used "Paywave" in the past by waving your debit card over the scanner, you get the idea. You do not have to carry your precious credit cards with you and you do not have to hand anything to the clerk – it's just you, your smartphone, and the scanner. You will earn loyalty points without having to carry around a bunch of "loyalty cards" or coupons. The biggest catch is if you do not have an American Express credit card or a Chase Bank credit card, then you have to setup and funnel your payments through an American Express Serve account.
Many major stores have joined in this partnership, such as, Walgreens, CVS, Macy's, Radio Shack, etc. You can find the complete list HERE for your area. Let us know in the comments or on Google+ how you feel about the Isis Wallet or Google Wallet – is this an area that you would be willing to explore?