Feeds

ISIS puts off US NFC pay-by-bonk bid

We said summer launch ... but never said which summer

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A consortium of US operators backing the ISIS electronic wallet platform has admitted that a promised "summer" NFC payments launch is not going to happen, but isn't saying what the new schedule is or even if there is one.

ISIS was supposed to launch in Salt Lake City and Austin during the summer, but with the official end of summer only a couple of weeks away the operator-backed consortium has admitted that the schedule has slipped and won't say when the public will be able to start using ISIS.

What the consortium is saying, in various statements and interviews, is that the delay won't change the technology or business model which ISIS will eventually offer. That's a relief as major changes have already been made in the hope of making pay-by-bonk more attractive to banks and credit-card companies. There's not much more that could be altered, so the delay is just about putting all the pieces in place.

ISIS is an electronic wallet platform, stored on the SIM but standardised between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, so companies can develop an ISIS-compatible instance of their payment/loyalty/ticketing cards and deploy across the networks.

The UK's Project Oscar, which recently got EU approval, attempts to achieve the same thing and similarly locks out one mobile operator (Sprint was the unlucky mobe-co in the US, Three was left out the UK). Pay-by-bonk in the UK is eased by the fact that almost all cards are already bonkable, and terminals are rapidly becoming bonk-compatible, so phones will slot into that existing infrastructure. The US, on the other hand, will need greater investment to make it happen.

Getting that infrastructure in place is probably what's delaying the ISIS deployment. Although the consortium hasn't admitted that, it has failed to provide any alternative explanation. Wanting to get it right is admirable, and with Apple still eschewing NFC and Google Wallet stumbling along one might conclude that the delay won't be significant, but that would miss just how clever Google's new approach is.

Rather than storing instances of payment cards on the phone, Google's new approach is to store one (Google-branded) card on the phone and put all the customer's credit cards in the cloud. Payments are made from that one card, which works even without connectivity, with the balance being deducted from the customer's credit card as soon as connectivity is available.

The beauty of this is that the banks don't need to create Google Wallet versions of their cards, and now that the card companies are signing up to Google's "Save To Wallet" system, the end users don't even need to know all that is happening.

Save To Wallet is now embraced by Discover, Barclaycard US and half a dozen others, according to NFC World. The system provides a button on the card-issuer's site which copies the card details into Google's cloud with a single click. But even more interesting, it copies the card's logo into the Google Wallet application on the phone, so when the user makes a payment they can select which card to use just as though the card were stored on the wallet, which it isn't.

In fact the tap notifies Google that this payment should be deducted from that card, when connectivity is available, but the bonking payment is still made using the Google-backed card embedded in the phone.

Whether that model will extend to loyalty cards and the ticketing applications which are expected to drive NFC adoption is debatable, but for basic proximity payments it removes the need for each card issuer to create their one bonking app while maintaining the illusion that they have one - a perfect result for all concerned, except ISIS and Oscar, which are both planning to make money hosting those very apps. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.