ISIS, the joint venture between three of the national wireless carriers designed to spur the development of a wide-reaching mobile-payment system, said today it had formed a partnership with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
In addition to an existing relationship with Discover, ISIS is the first to strike a deal with all four major credit card issuers. That marks a significant milestone for the venture, which has been slower to deploy its mobile-payment system.
"By working with the nation's payment networks--Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express--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," ISIS Chief Executive Michael Abbott said in a statement.
ISIS, a partnership between AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile, took some knocks early on for being too slow to the game. It initially launched with Discover, but it quickly changed gears and began talking to the other credit card issuers. It also remained quiet as other companies such as Google made noise about their competing setups.
The venture plans to test a mobile-payment system next year in Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City.
Later this summer, Google plans to deploy its Google Wallet feature. Google is partnering with carrier Sprint Nextel, which has one of the few smartphones in the U.S. market capable of letting people tap their phones at a register to pay for goods. That's Samsung's Nexus S, which has a near-field communications chip that can talk to special terminals found at checkout counters, gas stations, and cabs, among other locations.
Visa, the market leader among credit card payment providers, is a coup for ISIS. Visa isn't working with Google; MasterCard is the partner for that initiative.
Others are ramping up their own initiatives. PayPal recently used the Nexus S to show off the ability to tap phones to transfer funds. Sprint also announced a partnership yesterday to use American Express' Serve mobile-wallet application.
Updated at 9:42 a.m. PT: Adds additional background on various mobile-payment deployments.