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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
FCC: Gonna need y'all to cough up $1.5bn to put broadband in schools
Kids need more fiber, says Wheeler, and you'll pay for it
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
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.
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 and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.