One of the most hotly anticipated smartphone technologies is mobile payments, or paying for stuff using a smartphone app linked to a credit or debit card. The biggest obstacle is the lack point-of-sale machines, though the upcoming Isis system has just scored a deal with POS machine vendors.
Near-Field Communications or NFC technology isn’t new; it’s simply an RFID chip scanned by a reader in close proximity. The use of NFC systems for the purposes of mobile payments is relatively new, as few vendors are currently using it, which is a hindrance for the growing mobile payment industry. Being able to pay for purchases with one’s smartphone using an on-board NFC chip linked to a credit or debit card account is possible, but the only active system right now is Google Wallet. It’s available on a growing list of phones, but the hitch is, it can only be used at stores that have the MasterCard PayPass Point-Of-Sale machine, which few do. The Isis mobile payment system has just inked a deal with several companies that will make mobile payment options more widely available, according to CNET.
Isis, according to CNET, is a joint venture between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Isis is an NFC mobile payment system; it will be a chip implanted on phones and an application installed on them. However, Isis’s development has been slow, but the past few weeks have been fruitful. After signing deals with Barclay, Chase and Capital One, Isis has also just inked deals with Ingenico, ViVOTech, Equinox Payments and Verifone. Ingenico and Verifone, according to Techcrunch are POS machine and software vendors. ViVOTech is an NFC technology company and Equinox is a transaction processing company. Isis is gearing up to get the technology out there soon.
According to the press release on Engadget, Isis is set to launch sometime in the middle of this year, so it may start appearing in retail stores just in time for back to school shopping. The premise of the system is pretty simple. Vendors get a POS machine that has an NFC reader in it, just like with Google Wallet. People who have phones with the Isis NFC chip and program simply go up to the register and hold their phone up to the reader. The NFC chip’s code is detected, deducting the payment from the linked credit or debit card account, completing the transaction. The potential is pretty huge, as it gives smartphones even greater utility.
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