Isis, the mobile wallet venture led by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, is launching nationally after extended public tests.

Coinciding with the launch, Isis has redesigned its user interface and implemented a deeper integration with American Express, one of its test partners. Isis began testing its mobile payment system last year in Austin and Salt Lake City, and began preparing for its nationwide rollout in July.

The Isis Mobile Wallet is available for download in the Google Play app store and can be set up at retail stores operated by the three participating telecoms. The mobile wallet allows payments at contactless payment terminals, and delivers special offers and loyalty systems for merchants. To use the Isis Mobile Wallet, consumers link a payment card and then tap their smartphone on the point of sale terminal.

As part of its nationwide launch, Isis is promoting its mobile wallet with Jamba Juice and Coca-Cola. Consumers using Isis can get free soft drinks at Coca-Cola vending machines and free smoothies at Jamba Juice. Consumers can also get 20% back on purchases made with Serve, Amex's digital wallet.

Consumers with one of the more than 40 Isis Ready smartphones available from AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless can ask for an enhanced SIM card from their wireless carrier. Customers who visit a carrier store to activate the Isis Mobile Wallet can receive support from store associates. Users must also download the Isis app.

“Today’s nationwide launch of the Isis Mobile Wallet is a milestone for consumers, merchants and banks. It’s the start of a smarter way to pay,” says Michael Abbott, Isis’ CEO, in a Nov. 14 press release.  “Together, with our partners, we’ve built a seamless mobile commerce experience. We’re pleased to bring the magic and simplicity of the Isis Mobile Wallet to consumers across the U.S.”

Isis earlier announced that Amex and JPMorgan Chase, two of its test partners, would remain for the nationwide launch. Capital One and Barclays, which participated in the wallet's earlier tests, declined to participate in the nationwide launch but claim to still be involved with the mobile wallet initiative.

Isis' technology model differs from other mobile wallets in its reliance on Near Field Communication for contactless payments. Starbucks, MCX, and PayPal are favoring software over NFC to deliver mobile payments. Google recently rolled out a software-based alternative to conventional NFC payments, called Host Card Emulation.

An NFC-focused approach has drawn some criticism—payments consultant Richard Crone likened it to “chasing where the puck was” in an interview with PaymentsSource earlier this fall, though Isis countered that many point of sale terminal manufacturers support NFC payments via peripheral add-ons, enabling existing terminals to process both mag-stripe and mobile payments without a complete replacement of the terminal. 

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