Isis Starts to Come Out

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

At this week’s Smart Card Alliance Mobile and Transit conference, Isis started to speak more openly about its plans. While hardly an open book, Jim Stapleton, leader of sales and account management at the well-backed start-up, made it clear that Isis is interested in working with multiple issuers and is concentrating on the merchant’s needs. He also made plain that the consumer will pay nothing for using the Isis wallet. And that means someone has to pay, like the merchant.

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The venture is looking at transit systems, quick-service restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, parking providers, and other merchants that generate frequent transactions as businesses that naturally would be interested in its system. Stapleton, a keynote speaker Wednesday at the Smart Card Alliance’s 2011 Mobile and Transit Payments Summit in Salt Lake City, told the audience consumers won’t have to pay to make their handsets capable of making Isis transactions. “There will be no charge to the consumer,” he said.

Also, while Barclaycard is the first partner to manage Isis accounts, it likely won’t be the only one. “We are open to working with all card issuers,” Stapleton said. Isis also could open its system to other telecommunications carriers.

In addition, Stapleton said the company is interested in integrating its system so that Isis-enabled smart phones could pay contactless fares on transit systems that currently use closed-loop, or proprietary, fare cards. Transit is the only merchant category that generates twice-daily transactions, Stapleton noted. Isis also is looking at adding capabilities to handle private-label retail cards and gift cards.

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