Can ISIS Surprise to the Upside?



Much has been written about how ISIS just cannot work. Just this week a well-known fintech blog pointed out all the problems: consumers must have the right phone model with the right SIM and pay at an NFC-enabled register, key retailers don’t support near field communication (NFC), most banks aren’t supporting it, and on and on. Even Google has faltered.

Isis-logoAs the years have passed without a successful NFC payments deployment, it has increasingly appeared that it is just too hard to integrate the U.S. NFC ecosystem seamlessly from a technical, financial and customer experience perspective. Even the sheer power commanded by a cooperative effort from three very large and highly competitive mobile network operators (MNOs) hasn’t seemed to be enough.

So what’s the prognosis for ISIS? On the heels of the ISIS announcement of a national rollout (which may be viewed in hindsight as a seminal announcement), we wanted to reflect on the possibility that, despite all the naysaying, ISIS may actually succeed.

Mobile payments are coming. There is no doubt. It can be argued that they may or may not involve NFC (see Why NFC Makes Sense for Mobile Payments), but the reality is that people really do like the convenience of paying with their phones once they try it. Driven by companies like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, the concept of paying with your phone has started to take hold. It will happen — and it is happening already.

Is ISIS the push that’s needed to make mobile payments really catch on? We’re certainly hoping so. Or should we be worrying instead that ISIS is destined to follow the Betamax and the Concorde (and perhaps even Google Wallet) into oblivion?

About the Author:

Paula Berger has been working in NFC since 2005 in a variety of roles. She is currently involved in expanding the NFC Bootcamp, the only globally standardized NFC training program.  She was VP Marketing and Communication at Sequent, an NFC Trusted Service Manager (TSM). She was Executive Director of the NFC Forum for six years, from the association’s launch through the rollout of the certification program. Paula has been a writer for NFC World publications and she is on the Planning Committee for the NFC Circle Boston, a program of the MIT Enterprise Forum that supports the development, adoption and commercial success of NFC. Paula has extensive experience in communication of all sorts and in building and running training programs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *