Isis CEO Embraces Competition as Mobile Payment Field Grows

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Isis CEO Embraces Competition as Mobile Payment Field Grows


NEW YORK -- As mobile payment options gains team and competition heats up, one executive in the field thinks that competition is not a bad thing.

Two big names in the arena right now are Isis and Google Wallet. Michael Abbott, the CEO of carrier-backed mobile payments joint venture Isis, told CNET that rival Google Wallet: "It's the best thing that could happen."

While most company leaders rarely talk about the competitors, especially in a good light, Abbott explained that he has a longer-term view of the business believes that the entry by multiple parties is a good thing. It generates greater consumer awareness, stirs the various retailers, carriers, handset makers and banks into motion, and generally gets the debate about mobile payments flowing, he said.

Abbott added that he doesn't believe there will be any clear-cut winners or losers, and expects to see many options for consumers. "There will be multiple solutions out there, and none of them are wrong," Abbott said in an interview with CNET, noting that "competition is what this space needs."

Isis is the mobile wallet venture among AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. In July, Isis made headlines with news that it formed key relationships with the four major credit card companies -- Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. As a result of the relationships, mobile devices will become mobile wallets for retailers and consumers with Isis-enabled phones and payment terminals, as CSNews Online previously reported.

Isis plans to go live in its initial test markets -- Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas -- in the first half of 2012 with support from all four payment networks.

Google Wallet is already available for consumers using Samsung Nexus S smartphones on the Sprint network -- enabling users to make tap-and-go payments through PayPass sensors at Sunoco gas stations and other retail locations.

Other mobile wallets could be upping the competition ante soon. As the news magazine reported, Visa, working to create a digital wallet and American Express, which has expressed a preference to partner, said it would invest $100 million in start-ups devoted to digital payments.