Isis, the mobile wallet created by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, is out being tested at hundreds of merchant locations in Austin and Salt Lake City, where consumers now have the option to "wave and pay" with their NFC-enabled smartphones.
Early testers in the area can visit any of the three carriers' retail stores in either city to get their phones outfitted with a secure element SIM card; download the Isis Mobile Wallet app for Android, load any eligible American Express, Capital One, or Chase credit card; and start wallet-free spending at hundreds of merchant partners including McDonald's, Whole Foods, CVS, and Home Depot. Isis also comes with an Isis Cash Card that acts as a reloadable debit card of sorts, and comes preloaded with $10.
The cast of characters involved, including carriers, hardware manufacturers, payment networks, and merchants is an attempt to provide a one-wallet-fits-all solution that supports multiple banks, networks, and smartphones, with the conspicuous exception of the iPhone--Apple notoriously has yet to jump onboard with NFC. That fact has not limited the speculation about when Apple might.
[Image: Flickr user Andres Rueda]