Feeds

US operators shelve banking plan for Isis

Isis will be a wallet, not a bank card

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.