Heavyweights back mobile payment system

Well, it looks as if it’s finally happening: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have announced their plans for a mobile commerce system allowing customers to pay for goods with a swipe of their phone.

Under discussion for some months, the Isis system is similar to existing schemes in  Japan, Scandinavia, the UK and Canada, and should be up and running within the next 18 months.

The technology is based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, and requires phones to be equipped with an NFC chip – which most US phoes currently aren’t – to communicate with the retailer’s reader.

Our mobile commerce network, through relationships with merchants, will provide an enhanced, more convenient, more personalized shopping experience for consumers,” said Michael Abbott, Isis CEO.

“While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start. 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.”

Isis is working with Discover Financial Services’ payment network, currently accepted at more than seven million merchant locations nationwide, to develop the infrastructure for the venture.

Barclaycard US is expected to be the first issuer on the network, offering multiple mobile payment products to meet the needs of every customer.

“We believe the venture will have the scope and scale necessary to introduce mobile commerce on a broad basis,” says Abbott. “In the beginning, we intend to fully utilize Discover’s national payment infrastructure as well as Barclaycard’s expertise in contactless and mobile payments. Moving forward, Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers.”