One of the most anticipated and long-discussed mobile wallet purchasing platforms in the nation could begin its test run next month after numerous delays.
Isis, the joint mobile wallet program created by the nation's three largest mobile phone service providers, will begin its pilot testing in Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City next month, according to a report from Bloomberg News. The delay in the preview run, which was originally slated for the first half of the year, came because the company wanted to make sure the program was fully secure for users and businesses alike, the company's executives told the news agency.
Further, the company also changed its mind on how these mobile wallet transactions would be processed, the report said. Originally, the plan was for the smartphone service providers to handle all the purchases. But late last year, it was decided that the operation might run more smoothly and securely if credit card payment processors, which already have the infrastructure and means to deal with such transactions, were to take the reins instead.
Beefed-up safety measures
For its part, Isis still claims the rollout of the new system will come in "summer," indicating that it will begin before the season officially ends on September 21, the report said. But it's possible that the delays exist because the company, which is jointly owned by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, was waiting for more models of secure smartphones to hit the market.
"The focus has been: Get it right, make sure it’s secure,” Brad Duea, senior vice president of product management at T-Mobile USA, told the news agency.
Isis, like many other mobile wallet platforms that already exist or are currently in development, relies on smartphones that are equipped with near-field communications technology, the report said. And currently, T-Mobile, for instance, only offers four such devices. NFC gives consumers and businesses greater security when conducting a mobile wallet transaction, and Isis also allows the user to remotely delete the credit card data saved on their phones if the device is ever lost or stolen, a feature offered by few of the program's competitors.
The potential for success
Many experts believe that Isis might end up being a hit with consumers, even if September's kickoff is limited to just two cities, the report said. That's because the system has the backing of mobile carriers, which might persuade people who utilize and trust their smartphones for everyday use that the program is more reliable.
The only major current entry to the mobile payment field, Google Wallet, has been available to consumers for about a year now, but the combination of a lack of available smartphones capable of conducting such a transaction, and consumers' hesitance to adopt the program have resulted in the tech giant's entry to the market foundering somewhat.
"The carrier platform with Isis has more of an opportunity for success than some of the others, and at least more than Google Wallet has demonstrated so far," Maribel Lopez, an analyst at Lopez Research LLC, told the news agency.
The future of the industry
It's believed that mobile wallet purchasing will catch on with consumers in a big way at some point in the near future, and many experts believe that widespread use is a matter of eventuality, rather than something that might or might not happen, the report said. Data from the firm Juniper Research shows that the total transaction volume for mobile payments could grow to four times its current size within the next five years, to an annual value of more than $1.3 trillion.
Meanwhile, as a means of keeping up with competition, Google recently rolled out numerous new features for Wallet, and many experts now anticipate that the new iPhone 5, which could become available in September as well, will come with NFC capabilities too. All that could make for a crowded marketplace, in which a number of companies will be jockeying for a relatively small number of early adopters at first.
However, experts also say that while adoption of these mobile wallet systems is inevitable, what works today might not be what takes hold in the future. For this reason, many of the developers involved are adding numerous other features to their mobile wallet platforms as a means of getting consumers more involved across a number of accounts, including store loyalty rewards accounts, gift cards, and so forth.
Mobile wallets are believed to generally be more secure than traditional credit card use, but consumers shouldn't trust these systems to fully protect their finances. As such, you should also take the time to carefully monitor your credit report for any unfair markings that may show up on it. When you identify such an entry, working with a credit repair law firm may help to fix your credit score.