American Express will allow its credit cards to use the Isis Mobile Wallet once the technology is deployed in Salt Lake City and Austin this summer, Isis announced Thursday.
American Express joins Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard in announcing Isis support earlier this year. Amex will allows its consumer credit card and other cards to be part of Isis Mobile Wallet.
Smartphone customers who have devices loaded with a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip and an Isis mobile payment app will be able to tap the phone on an NFC-ready reader at a store to make a purchase. Many mobile wallet applications also require inputting a PIN before the transfer is completed for added security.
NFC phones are widely used in South Korea, Japan and parts of China for transit and small retail purchases. The technology hasn't caught on in many regions, including the U.S., because of a shortage of NFC-ready phones, NFC-ready payment terminals and cooperative agreements among wireless carriers, credit service providers and banks, according to analysts. The weak economy has also been cited as a reason for the slow growth.
Isis is a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, but the mobile commerce network that Isis is building will be open to all merchants, banks, payment networks and wireless carriers, Isis said.
Google Wallet, first deployed in the Nexus S smartphone sold by Sprint last September, has been slow to catch on. Sprint is now also selling the Galaxy Nexus, including an unlocked version, with the application installed. Google has also worked with various retailers to offer mobile coupons via NFC a to promote use of the technology.
The Amex statement with Isis follows MasterCard's announcement Monday of PayPass Wallet Services, a digital wallet that is open to third parties to create payment systems under their own brands. PayPass can be used with NFC-ready phones for tap-to-pay or for phone or Web purchasing.
Along with Google and MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and other financial services companies also have digital wallet systems.
Isis officials haven't specified which smartphones will work with the Isis Mobile Wallet nor have they given a date for the launch of the service in Salt Lake or Austin, saying only that the launches will occur this summer.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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