As many as 65% of the consumers testing the Isis Mobile Wallet are revisiting merchants often or taking advantage of mobile offers, an Isis executive says.

This is an important finding for Isis, a joint venture of Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA. The venture has been testing its smartphone-based payment system in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas for the past three months.

On average, consumers in the test cities are using their mobile phones to make purchases with Isis about five or six times a week, says Jim Stapleton, chief sales officer for Isis.

Stapleton discussed these findings during a Feb. 5 media conference call at the 2013 Payments Summit in Salt Lake City hosted by the Smart Card Alliance. He did not have numbers available as to how many consumers are testing the system at this time.

"It's still the early days of testing, but we are seeing a willingness by consumers to take on the product," Stapleton says. "They trust their carrier, and they trust the names behind the card brands and issuers – American Express, Chase and Capital One."

In Salt Lake City and Austin combined, the Isis wallet is available at 200 mobile carrier stores and consumers can use it on their smartphones at 10,000 merchant locations.

Merchants are seeing "a great synergy" between contact and contactless payments at their terminals, Stapleton says.

Many of these merchants are separately being urged to upgrade their terminals to accept EMV chip cards and Near Field Communication contactless payments. Their experience with the Isis mobile wallet, which uses NFC, demonstrates how these upgrades will serve their future needs, Stapleton says.

Consumers get some security benefits from switching from plastic cards to mobile payments, he says.

"If they lose a phone with Isis mobile wallet on it, they can make a single call to deactivate the cards," Stapleton says. "You need a consumer pass code to get into Isis, but a leather wallet doesn't have a pass code."

As expected, Salt Lake City has turned out to be a prime location for mobile wallet testing because of its existing infrastructure, Stapleton says.

"One of the reasons we chose Salt Lake City was because the Utah Transportation Authority had a system in which commuters tap on and off during rides," Stapleton says. "It's convenient for the consumer and it drives the adoption of Isis."

Isis markets to transit passengers by offering a free ride for those choosing to use Isis to pay their fare, he adds.

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