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Smartphone Payments Made Easy with Isis Mobile Wallet

After many months of testing in select markets, the Isis Mobile Wallet payment system rolled out nationwide this week. Isis is available for Android phones featuring the required Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. Isis currently works with American Express or Chase credit cards, or you can set up an American Express Serve account and link it to your credit card, debit card or a U.S. bank account.

Isis represents the next step in the rapidly expanding mobile payments field and is unique in that it’s the product of unprecedented cooperation between Verizon Wireless, AT&T and  T-Mobile, who are normally fierce rivals in the mobile space. The joint effort is an acknowledgement of the difficulty in organizing a fragmented and still-evolving mobile payments market, and the scale required to bring the major merchants, banks and brands on board.

While there are limitations to Isis roll-out (no iPhone app, a limited number of banks), having an opportunity to pioneer what should be an increasingly popular form of payment will be a huge advantage. Experience in Europe and elsewhere suggests that it won’t be long before smartphone payments become an accepted way to pay for goods and services, and most major stores are already preparing for that day by modifying their point-of-sale systems.

How does Isis work? As stated above, the first thing you need is an Android phone with NFC technology. At the moment, there are about 25 NFC-enabled phones across all three carriers, including most of the Samsung Galaxy line of phones and the new Droid by Motorola phones from Verizon. Next, you need to download the free Isis Mobile Wallet app from the Google Play store. You will also require an enhanced SIM card to store your sensitive information. These cards are available from your local Verizon Wireless, AT&T or T-Mobile store.

Once your new SIM card is installed and you have downloaded the app, you can set up an Isis account, add a security PIN, and start adding cards to your wallet. When you are ready to pay at a store, you simply open your mobile wallet, select the card you want to pay with, and hold your phone over the contactless symbol at checkout. Either the cashier or the terminal itself will confirm that your payment has been received.

There are currently over two hundred thousand stores accepting contactless payments, with more being added all the time. If in doubt, you can use the Isis app to find stores nearby. You can also use the app to highlight your favorite stores and access special offers. You can also add loyalty cards and any points or rewards will automatically be credited to your account when you use Isis at checkout.

As well as being PIN protected, the cards in your mobile wallet will still enjoy the same fraud protections as they do now. If your phone is lost or stolen, a call to your carrier or visit to the Isis web site will quickly freeze all your Isis transactions.

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are working with other merchants and banks to widen the reach of the Isis program, and apps for the iPhone and Windows phones are in the works. In the meantime, Isis Mobile Wallet is a welcome addition to the mobile payments space and one that looks like it’s here to stay.

The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon Wireless.

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