Mobile payment JV Isis signs up credit card allies

Isis, formed from an alliance among Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile, has allied itself with BarclayCard, Capital One, and Chase.

BARCELONA, Spain--Isis, a mobile-payments joint venture among three of the major wireless carriers, is taking the slow and steady approach to its mobile wallet. And it appears to be working.

An image of the Isis mobile wallet. Isis

The venture, formed from an alliance between Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA, said today that BarclayCard, Capital One, and Chase will place their debit and credit cards into the Isis mobile wallet. The agreement marks a further strengthening of the circle of partners for Isis.

While Google has shot out with its Google Wallet service, Isis has taken a more methodical approach in its digital wallet, lining up partners and slowing treading into the mobile-payments water. The venture had previously signed up credit card issuers Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, the first to get commitments from all of the major players.

Isis is on track for trials in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas, in the middle of the year. The carrier, like Google, are lured into the area by the prospect of not only handling customer transactions but taking advantage of the purchasing data that comes from doing so. Companies in this area are looking to deliver targeted ads and other services in conjunction with mobile payments.

"Mobile commerce is more than a new way to pay; it's about extending the relationships consumers enjoy with their banks and merchants into a powerful and convenient new form factor," said Isis CEO Michael Abbott.

Abbott is scheduled to speak at Mobile World Congress later this week.

"By working with Isis, we are excited to help pave the way for innovation in the mobile payments space and to provide cardmembers with a secure option for easier and faster payments on the go," said Richard Quigley, president of Chase Card Services.

The slower approach, which garnered some criticism when Google launched its service last summer, may end up paying off. The company has taken its time to align itself with merchants, credit card issuers, and banks to ensure broad acceptance of its services.

While Google Wallet is out in the market, it only works with a limited number of merchants, a few phones compatible with a technology called Near-Field Communications, and a few credit card issuers. The selective players means few customers can actually take advantage of the service.