Feeds

US operators shelve banking plan for Isis

Isis will be a wallet, not a bank card

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

US operators' initiative Isis won't be an NFC payment system as originally planned, just a wallet to hold payment cards and without a revenue stream to call its own.

The scaled-back plan will see Isis verifying payment applications from Visa, Mastercard and anyone else rather than creating anything new. That removes the need for an internationally recognised logo, but also takes away the revenue stream that was supposed to pay for the NFC handsets that everyone is being told they want.

Isis was set up last year, and backed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, who had planned to create their own payment platform and logo for a proximity payment system base on Near Field Communications. The idea was to use terminals owned by the Discover Card to take the payments, and create a viable alternative to Visa or Mastercard.

But citing "people familiar with the matter" the Wall Street Journal reports that merchants didn't like the idea of a new player, and Isis has now downgraded its aspirations to acting as a gatekeeper verifying applications from those companies with whom it had planned to compete.

NFC payment systems are based on radio communications, and a secure element which can cryptographically verify transactions. The secure element has a single owner who holds the key; no payment application can be installed without approval by that owner. Isis has moved from providing the payment application to holding the keys to the secure element.

An important role certainly, though one slightly undermined by the decision of some handset manufacturers (such as Samsung) to provide multiple secure elements under the control of different bodies.

But it's also a role with no obvious revenue-generating potential, leaving operators to sketch out ideas for making money with coupons (as Google is planning) or charging payment applications rent for the privilege of being installed.

In Europe there's a trend for operators to launch payment systems first, with the intention of integrating into NFC handsets as an option. One can imagine getting a handset from O2 that was able to run Visa or Mastercard apps, but came pre-installed with O2 Money in the hope that few people would bother with optional downloads.

That might, or might not, work, but at least it's a plan with revenue-generation potential, which is more than the Americans now have. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.