Isis, the mobile commerce joint venture created by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, has snagged deals with Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard to load their credit, debit and pre-paid cards onto the telco-controlled mobile wallet.
Isis says consumers will be able to use the virtual cards from its financial institution partners from the onset of its first commercial trials in mid-2012, starting with locations across Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas.
Last July, Isis - which has lagged rival Google in getting its mobile wallet on the high street - announced relationships with the top four U.S. payment networks: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
The joint venture says the tie-ins with banks and card schemes underscores its inclusive approach to mobile payments. So far, Google has signed only Citibank to its own Wallet service.
"We believe Isis is strongly positioned to bring the convenience, value and simplicity of mobile commerce to consumers," says Stewart Holmes, senior director-mobile commerce strategy, Barclaycard US. "We're excited to build this offering for customers and our card partners with Isis and look forward to shaping the future of payments."
Isis says it will have as many as 1000 merchant terminals supporting the roll-out at its launch locations. Subscribers to the service will be able to scroll through a list of participating stores and elect to 'follow' certain merchants to receive loyalty and discounted shopping coupons.
Gwenn Bezard, research director with Aite Group says today's announcement sends a clear signal that Isis is serious about scaling mobile payments.
"While mobile wallets may look and smell the same from afar," she says. "Isis is setting itself apart by patiently building an ecosystem of issuer, network and merchant partners, offering an open platform that leaves partners in control of how they will communicate with their customers, and leaving the partners in control of sensitive payment and marketing data transiting over the platform."