Isis Launches Nationally In the US
Today Isis, the NFC-based mobile wallet, has announced its availability across the US. After all the setbacks, Isis must feel very proud today being able to launch nationally.
However, it doesn’t mean that the road ahead is going to be without challenges. The launch really means a national availability of handsets at the operators; it does not mean national acceptance, which is going to remain the biggest stumbling block, largely outside of the operators’ control. And while EMV will help drive change in the acceptance infrastructure, the process is going to take time.
With PayPal also making its new wallet much more widely available as a result of its partnership with Discover, the competition for mobile payments at the POS is heating up. And I am sure, MCX will want to have a say in what wallets will be accepted at their participating merchants, as it seeks to provide a consistent payment experience to their customers and merchant employees.
Participation of issuers and ability for consumers to add their cards to the Isis wallet is another challenge. Capital One is no longer taking part in the rollout, so Isis is left with only two issuers, American Express and Chase.
The new wallet features a re-designed user interface, which highlights the importance of the user experience. Even if the product is functionally rich, it won’t succeed in the market if the user experience is cumbersome.
Perhaps the biggest coup for Isis lately has been its partnership arrangement with Amex Serve. Not only it enables those that do not have Amex or Chase credit cards to make use of an Isis wallet, it also gives the wallet more versatility. Through Serve account, customers can send money to their friends (P2P) or pay bills online; they are no longer limited to only physical POS transactions via NFC. Integration of offers, such as with Coca Cola, Jumba Juice and others, into the wallet experience is another important feature.
After all the hard work, the Isis team deserves congratulations for reaching such an important milestone. Getting the customers to adopt and use the wallet and transactions flowing through the system must be the next goal.