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Isis Mobile Wallet goes national

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

The creators of Isis Mobile Wallet said Thursday that their mobile wallet has launched nationwide more than a year after they started their pilot test.

The newest version of the mobile wallet is available for download in the Google Play app store and at retail stores run by developers AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Isis Mobile Wallet stores virtual versions of participating prepaid or debit cards along with coupons and store loyalty cards. Customers simply tap their phones at checkout terminals equipped to process contactless payments, eliminating the need for them to carry debit or credit cards. The technology uses near field communication technology, or NFC, to make the payments.

Isis Mobile Wallet debuted last September in a limited launch in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, as it worked out any kinks in the mobile wallet's technology.

"There were some saying it was taking too long to get to this point, but the makers behind Isis are such trusted brands. They wanted to put something out there that had been fully tested," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance.

He called the nationwide launch the largest mobile wallet rollout in U.S. history due to the number of consumers who will have access to it. He noted that the Google Wallet, which was introduced in 2011, has lacked marketing promotion, and the adoption of the wallet has been "pretty small."

"The companies backing this have stocked their stores with NFC-enabled phones, set up a way to upgrade phones for existing customers, explain to customers how it works and provide great offers with merchants," says Vanderhoof. "That makes it a much more significant rollout."

The Isis Mobile Wallet launch comes with several promotions with participating partners and retailers. For example, users get their first three soft drinks free at Coca-Cola vending machines. Jamba Juice is giving away one million free smoothies to users, while American Express is offering 20 percent back on purchases made using the wallet (up to $200 through the end of January).

"I think consumers are now going to start to find out how NFC works," Vanderhoof says, "and how it's an important improvement over traditional methods of payment."

Will you get a mobile wallet? Why or why not?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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