Mobile payments step closer to broad availability

Summary:Mobile commerce company Isis signs deals with Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Will it speed up adoption of near-field communications technology?

The ability to pay for goods in a store without breaking open your wallet just took a giant leap forward.

Mobile commerce company Isis announced on Tuesday that it had signed deals with the parent companies of all four major payment networks -- VisaMasterCardDiscover and American Express -- paving the way for broad availability of an ecosystem that will let American consumers use their smartphones at the cash register.

Isis, a joint venture between U.S. wireless carriers VerizonAT&T and T-Mobile, is the first company to sign deals with all four major financial platforms.

Its mission: accelerate mobile payments adoption.

The levers are in place to do just that. The company now has availability across all the major payment platforms, and three of the four largest companies that sell smartphones in the U.S. will offer Isis-ready phones with support for near-field communication, or NFC, technology.

The general concept is to consolidate payments for goods, coupon redemption and loyalty point accumulation in one place: your phone. A lot of puzzle pieces must be assembled to make that happen, but from the looks of things, Isis is doing the difficult partner work now so that the process is a bit more seamless for consumers when it rolls out.

Speaking of which: Isis announced earlier this year that it will launch in "the first half of 2012" in a limited fashion -- only initially in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas.

We'll see what happens in those markets, of course, but if I can find a way to get all those thumb-sized loyalty cards off my keyring, I'll be one step closer to nirvana.

Related on SmartPlanet:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.