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Isis wallet debut within 16 days

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

The creators of the Isis Mobile Wallet are using the last hours of summer to make good on their promise to roll out a rival to the Google Wallet before fall.

A spokesperson for the Isis joint venture -- AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile -- confirmed in a recent Bloomberg report that it will unveil its mobile wallet by the end of summer, which officially falls on Sept. 21.

That leaves just 16 days for the new mobile wallet to make its debut, albeit a small-scale one in just Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas. Plans for a national launch haven't been announced. Isis previously hoped to introduce the wallet by midyear, but key business changes delayed the rollout.

For example, Isis decided that credit card companies would process transactions instead of cellphone carriers. The venture also has spent considerable time making sure payments can be made securely.

During the holdup, Isis' main competitor Google made big strides with its mobile wallet. The search engine giant said last month that Google Wallet can replace any debit or credit card. (American Express is the one holdout. It's currently in talks with Google about being included.)

Last month, Discover also added a button on its cardholders' online accounts to make it easier to store its cards on Google Wallet. Google also plans to replace other cards, such as forms of identification or transit cards, sometime down the road, according to a YouTube interview last month with the developers of Google Wallet.

All the while, Isis kept pushing back its coming-out party. But it still may have an edge, despite its slow start, according to many techies in the blogosphere.

That's because Google has relationships with only two smartphone makers: Sprint and Virgin Mobile. Isis will be available on some of the most popular smartphones from its developers, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, along with those made by HTC, Motorola, Research In Motion, Samsung Mobile and Sony Ericsson.

As for cards that can be used, Isis Mobile Wallet accommodates personal and small-business American Express cards, the Capital One Cash credit card and the Chase Freedom credit card. Other debit and/or credit cards can transfer money into the reloadable Isis Cash Card that can be stored on the wallet.

What do you think? Are you ready to move your wallet to a smartphone?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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