The ISIS Mobile Wallet: The Next Step on the Economic Evolutionary Chain

by Matt Klassen on November 17, 2010

For much of the existence of a monetary based economic system people have devised ways of making it easier for you to spend your hard earned cash. With relatively recent innovations like the cheque, the credit card, the debit card, and even online payment services like PayPal, its clear that today’s economic reality is no different.

That being said, a new economic era is upon us, the era of direct mobile payment systems, which means, in the words of Forbes online writer Bob Egan, the answer to Capital One’s question, “what’s in your wallet?” will soon be met with the answer, “absolutely nothing.”

In an almost unprecedented move, three of the top four American mobile operators have allied together to create the  ISIS mobile payment network, a relatively new project designed to revolutionize the economy by giving the country one universal mobile payment standard. So say goodbye to your credit cards, your debit cards, heck, even your PayPal account, as this evolution in our economy will ostensibly usher in the extinction of most previous payment methods.

So how does the ISIS mobile payment system work? The project will use an existing technology called near-field communication (NFC), which essentially provides short-range encrypted wireless communication between different devices. This means that to purchase something at any participating retail store will soon be as simple as swiping your mobile device at the check out counter.

For anyone who has followed the development of mobile payment systems, projects like ISIS are really nothing new. In fact, several countries around the world have already integrated mobile payment systems. So what’s different this time? For starters, ISIS has brought together the titans of the mobile world in unprecedented fashion, as cutthroat competitors AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile as well as Discover Financial Services are all backing this particular project.

Despite unifying three of the largest mobile operators in the country, it may be the latter, Discover Financial Services, that will help ISIS rise to the top of the mobile payment pile, as Discover already boasts a payment network of over 200 million customers and is widely accepted at more than 7 million locations worldwide.

However, while ISIS is enjoying significant corporate sponsorship the innovative and ambitious system is by no means the only mobile payment project underway. In fact, with the likes of VISA, Mastercard, PayPal and many others making significant investments into alternative and mobile payment projects, ISIS is far from a sure bet to become the global standard. But let’s face it folks, none of the other payment projects on the go has seen anything close to the support ISIS already has, and that’s with the system still 18 months away from commercial viability.

If nothing else though, the increase in the development and production of mobile payment systems means that once again the way we think about money, the way we pay, and the way we purchase will be irrevocably changed. It’s happened innumerable times before with the advent of the cheque, the credit card, and even online payment, and mobile payment will simply be the next step along the evolutionary chain.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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