Three companies, which come in the top 4 mobile providers in the country, AT & T Inc., T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless are now coming together to collaborate on a project to build a payment network, which allows customers to pay from their mobile phones. This joint venture that was recently announced, is planning on taking the market share from other dominant players in the field like MasterCard and Visa Inc. which are currently leading the industry by processing maximum number of credit and debit card payments in US.
The joint venture name Isis, said that this network is planning to use the national payment-processing network used by Discover Financial Services, with 7 million US merchants as partners. Barclaycard US, which is a subsidiary of Barclays Plc is gearing up become the first lender on this network offering mobile payment products. The CEO of Isis, Michael Abbott feels that this is a competitive alternative to MasterCard and Visa. Michael Abbott was formerly a credit cards executive with GE. In recent times most of the banks, card processing companies and mobile phone companies have all been vying to tap the huge potential that is likely to open up through mobile payments, which will eventually replace payments through debit and credit cards. The whole idea is to ensure that customers will be able to make payments by simply waving their mobile phones over a device, therefore getting rid of carrying a wallet altogether.
These services, which are still in the experimental state in the US are quite popular in Japan. Currently only 150,000 merchants in the country are accepting contactless payments by allowing customers to wave a phone or a credit card at the payment terminal, instead of the conventional method of swiping the cards.
Isis, after kicking off with Barclays and Discover is planning to make the technology available to more merchants, and work with mobile operators and other banks. This venture is an effort from Discover too, which is trying to capture more market share after being placed a distant 4th behind American Express, MasterCard and Visa. This is being seen at Discover as a great way of gaining network volume. It is still not known what Discover`s expectations are about participating in this whole venture. With a lot of effort from various camps to make a breakthrough into this segment, only time will tell which one is an actual success.