Feeds

US operators shelve banking plan for Isis

Isis will be a wallet, not a bank card

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.