New York - The nation's four major payment networks -- American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa -- have agreed to support a mobile commerce platform developed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.
The carriers announced the open platform, dubbed Isis, in November, and have since made it available to all merchants, banks, payment networks and mobile carriers.
The backing of Amex, Discover, MasterCard and Visa is expected to help foster the growth of m-commerce by providing a secure and convenient way for consumers with Isis-enabled phones to make point-of-sale purchases wirelessly.
The system, which employs near-field communication (NFC) technology, will also allow shoppers to redeem coupons and retail loyalty cards through their smartphones, while retailers can leverage the platform by providing Isis-enabled payment terminals within their stores.
The program is slated to initially launch in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, in the first half of 2012.
"We have been committed to building a mobile commerce platform that aligns and advances the interests of consumers, merchants and banks," said Isis CEO Michael Abbott. "By working with the nation's payment networks ... we significantly advance the vision of an open and secure platform that provides banks and merchants with a new and highly relevant way to connect with consumers."
Said Visa CEO Joe Saunders, "Visa has long championed an open approach to mobile commerce that allows consumers to choose which account they want to enable for mobile payments. We are committed to working closely with Isis, handset manufacturers, platform providers and financial institutions to offer consumers a suite of mobile services -- mobile payments, coupons tailored to location and lifestyle, real-time account information and more."
MasterCard Worldwide president/CEO Ajay Banga said, "We fully support an open commerce ecosystem which will drive the scale necessary for widespread adoption of mobile payments, providing consumers with exciting new possibilities for shopping and saving. Our work with Isis reinforces MasterCard's commitment to the continued development, innovation and evolution of mobile payments technologies."
Discover chairman/CEO David Nelms said, "Discover has been working with Isis from the start to facilitate mobile commerce, which will provide added convenience and benefits to consumers while delivering increased loyalty and sales to merchants. Isis' open strategy is the right approach to establishing a highly secure environment for mobile commerce that will be achieved through the participation of banks and payment networks like Discover."
Bill Glenn, global merchant services president, American Express, added, "Isis is able to bring choice and opportunity to mobile commerce by helping card members bring the cards in their leather wallet onto their mobile device. This relationship is another way for American Express to expand the digital experience in the social marketplace. As the line between online and offline continues to blur, American Express is leveraging our digital closed loop to help connect our merchant network with our card members in any environment."
The joint venture is between AT&T Mobility LLC, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless and is based in New York City.