Isis, the mobile wallet venture of AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile, has activated an average of 20,000 new mobile wallets per day in the past 30 days.
"The right ecosystem support is in place to bolster growing consumer adoption," Isis CEO Michael Abbott says in a May 14 blog post. "As of today, 68 mobile devices across AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless support the Wallet. The Wallet now comes preloaded on 14 smartphones with more preloaded devices in the pipeline."
The carriers' stores are a significant factor in Isis adoption, American Express' Stefan Happ told PaymentsSource last month at SourceMedia's 2014 Card Forum and Expo. The Isis wallet offers to open an Amex's Serve prepaid card for consumers who do not have a card from one of Isis' issuer partners, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.
Carriers' sales teams are "the biggest driver of Isis and Serve adoption," said Happ, Amex's senior vice president and general manager of online, mobile and Serve. Isis activations (and, by extension, Serve activations) get a boost whenever a hot new smartphone comes out, he said. When store employees activate a customer's new phone, they offer to set up Isis.
"There's a significant contribution that a sales rep in a store makes," he said in last month's interview. "That is the bread and butter of what the carriers do in the store."
It may not yet be evident to Isis whether these new customers will become loyal users of its mobile wallet, says Richard Oglesby, senior analyst at Double Diamond Payments Research.
"Right now, Isis is doing a lot of incentives to activate the wallet," Oglesby says. "What it means is they are having some success in getting people to try it out, but it will be some time before we know what the longer term use patterns will be."
Jamba Juice, which offers a free smoothie to patrons who pay with Isis, has seen "more than 50 percent month-over-month growth in Wallet use," James D. White, Jamba Juice's CEO, says on the Isis blog. "By the end of the first quarter Jamba Juice customers had redeemed more than 270,000 free smoothies and we expect to hit one million by this fall."
It will be interesting to see if Isis use persists after consumers redeem all of the available offers, particularly since there is little other promotion around mobile wallets, Oglesby says.
"Right now, Isis is the one pushing this thing the hardest," Oglesby says. "If they had other competitors pushing it hard, it would be easier to create consumer awareness."
The Isis wallet app allows consumers to make contactless Near Field Communication payments with their phones and a linked card account. It also includes merchant offers that can be redeemed when paying with Isis. The mobile wallet launched nationwide in November after extended public tests in Austin and Salt Lake City.