US telcos hire GE Capital's Abbott to lead contactless m-payments venture

US telcos hire GE Capital's Abbott to lead contactless m-payments venture

US wireless firms AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have appointed GE Capital veteran Michael Abbott to head up a new contactless mobile payments joint venture.

The telcos confirmed earlier reports that they are teaming up on the Isis national mobile commerce network that "aims to fundamentally transform how people shop, pay and save".

This will initially focus on contactless mobile payments at the point-of-sale, with the partners - who claim over 200 million US customers between them - tapping the Discover network.

Barclaycard is expected to be the first issuer on the network, offering multiple mobile payment products but the partners say that in the future Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers.

GE Capital's Michael Abbott, a veteran financial services executive with experience in the payment and technology industries, has been named CEO of the venture.

Says Abbott: "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."

The venture is another sign of the growing momentum behind contactless m-payments. Yesterday Google revealed that the latest version of its Android operating system will have NFC, a move expected to be replicated by Apple with the iPhone 5.

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