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]