ISIS's Abbott Emphasizes Merchant Buy-in as Key in Mobile Payments

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

As readers of Mercator Advisory Group’s commentary on mobile payments have heard us espouse in the past, merchants – who have often felt (and in some cases, rightly so) that they get short shrift in the traditional payment value chain – will be vital to the success of an NFC-based mobile payment system.

This just so happens to be also the sentiment of Michael Abbott, CEO of ISIS, as he communicated it to GigaOM earlier this week. The article characterizes the recent shift in strategy at ISIS as incumbent on Abbott’s and the joint venture’s “key lessons” from engagement with potential merchant stakeholders in the originally planned mobile payment network.

Abbott, who joined Isis in November after ten years as CMO of GE Capital, said the carriers all considered their own payment services but they realized after talking to merchants and businesses that they didn’t want a bunch of competing options from the operators…. Then when they took their [joint] payment service to the merchants, they were again told that they don’t want a separate payment network apart from the big players like MasterCard and Visa. They wanted a solution that works together.

“It was always part of our plan to go open but we thought we needed to catalyze the new NFC payment network first,” said Abbott. “Once we started talking to merchants and banks, the merchants said flat out, if we enabled NFC, they didn’t want another network.”

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