Isis gets Chase, Capital One, BarclayCard for its mobile wallet

NFC launch over Isis starts mid-year in two markets, CEO says at MWC

BARCELONA -- Isis announced this week that Chase, Capital One and BarclayCard will enable their credit, debit and prepaid cards for the Isis Mobile Wallet that's expected to launch in mid-year.

The three credit providers represent about 100 million card holders.

Isis, a consortium whose owners include AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile, will launch contactless payments from NFC (Near-Field Communication) smartphones in Salt Lake City and Austin, Tex. this summer, Isis CEO Michael Abbott said in an interview on Monday at Mobile World Congress here.

Isis announced last July that its payment system will work with the top U.S. credit payment processors: Visa, MasterCard, Discover andAmerican Express. Barclaycard was an early supporter of Isis and has ties to NFC payment systems underway in Europe.

Abbott noted that Isis uses open technology that gives its various partners greater input and control.

Google announced Google Wallet for NFC smartphones last fall, running over the Sprint network.

Recently, Google stopped initiations of its pre-paid Google Wallet card over concerns that the PIN could be compromised. Google also said that while security experts had noted a potential vulnerability with Google Wallet, it had no knowledge that any cards had been compromised.

Abbott praised Google for stopping Google Wallet initiations while working on an alternative approach to avert potential attacks.

Abbott said contactless payment providers are aware that Americans are concerned about the security of NFC payments. NFC payments are widely used in South Korea and Japan, by comparison, he noted.

Abbott added that when Americans see the advantage of NFC payments, especially for small retail purchases and transportation, the popularity of the technology will grow.

Just like credit cards, theft and fraud are protected by banks and processors, Abbott noted. He and others argue that smartphones with NFC chips and payment software are actually more secure than credit cards.

While U.S. NFC adoption is well behind some countries, various chip maker

"We see it growing in popularity," said Robert Rango, executive vice president of mobile and wireless at Broadcom in a press event on Tuesday.

Near field communication chip maker NXP showed off whats possible with the technology at its booth at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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