We’ve been hearing about Isis for a while now but at SXSW 2012, the NFC-based payment system had its first real coming out party and we had to check it out. With the backing of nearly every major U.S. carrier and pledged support from most of the largest credit card companies, Isis has the potential to actually kill your physical wallet.
This is the first time we’ve seen the Isis application in the wild and it looks pretty darn good. From the phone, you’ll be able to access your payment options, offers and even a social stream which will enable merchants to reach out to you with deals if you want. The payment part itself is pretty simple: you open the app, click on the payment portion, slide your phone near an NFC-enabled point of payment and the transaction is complete.
While Google Wallet is slowly gaining support, I believe Isis will ultimately be more successful in the United States because of who’s backing it. The folks at Isis said they didn’t believe Google Wallet was a real competitor because the NFC-payment market is so young that anything which educates users on paying with your phone is beneficial. That’s a very make-nice statement but it’s also bull – the two are going to have to battle for hearts and wallets of users and merchants over the next few years.
Some other interesting things we saw from Isis is the ability for merchants to offer discounts through RFID-enabled banners: you walk into a store, pop open your app, scan it near a poster and you can redeem a discount. Pretty neat.
The Isis NFC-payment solution will be rolling out in Austin and Salt Lake City in
June“Summer 2012” with a national rollout to follow. The initial rollout will work with Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard first but expect all the major players to offer support eventually. You can find out more about Isis here.