Carrier payment plan Isis starts to look like Icarus

The WSJ announced that carriers (AT&T, Verizon & T-Mobile) are cutting back their ambitious plans for mobile transactions.  As predicted by a few different payment analysts Isis appears to have stalled with the grand goal to compete with Visa/Mastercard and they are now trying to be being a “mobile wallet”.  This is not a shock because changing user or merchant behavior is hard and not included the associations was a mistake.

The question is did it get too close to the sun with a big plan to make money on all transactions or did they end up in a big fight over who owns the customer and need 3rd parties to mediate egos?

Gigaom had a great post about Isis today and the author Ryan Kim talked about merchant mobile marketing last month.  Both note that to replace cards with mobile payments there needs to be value.  As many people have said it is easy to swipe a credit card, why is NFC better?

If you are going to get users to do something new you need to be cheaper, faster or better.  Isis was unlikely to be any of those and who knows if it will ever be more than a series of lofty press releases.

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About svmoneyball

A lifelong student of silicon valley. I also tend to play a lot of Ultimate Frisbee.
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