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The Mobile Wallet System That Phone Companies Love Is Gaining Traction

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Ahead of its planned test run in two major U.S. cities later this year, the mobile wallet system being developed by the nation’s top mobile phone service providers recently announced it had struck deals with many major retail chains.

Isis — the mobile wallet program from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless — will begin testing in both Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, later this year, and will partner with both popular local merchants as well as a newly-announced group of well-known national retailers, the company said. Among the latter group are Aeropostale, Coca-Cola, Champs, Dillard’s, Foot Locker, Jamba Juice and Macy’s.

Companies participating in the program will have point-of-sale devices that can communicate with smartphones that come with embedded near-field communications technology. Those smartphones can be simply tapped on the reader to complete a purchase, the report said. As a result of the new slew of partnerships, hundreds of retailers large and small in both cities will be able to accept the more convenient and secure type of credit card purchase.

“Today’s announcement signals the mobile commerce experience has arrived,” said Jim Stapleton, chief sales officer for Isis. “A strong merchant base in Austin and Salt Lake City will make the Isis Mobile Wallet real for consumers as they choose to use their mobile wallet at many of their favorite merchant locations to pay and redeem offers. We look forward to working closely with both local and national merchants to enable a mobile commerce experience that transforms how consumers shop and interact with their favorite brands.”

The incentive for merchants to begin participating comes because it could help drive more business into their stores, the report said. For instance, they will be able to extend customers offers and deals for their products and services directly through the platform, as well as allow them to link their Isis accounts with store loyalty and rewards programs, giving them a more direct line to consumers for marketing. The benefit for consumers is both the convenience and better deals this will grant them.

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Mobile wallet systems are expected to become quite popular. But for now a combination of limited availability of the necessary technology, as well as consumers’ concerns that the systems are less secure than traditional payment methods, are seen as the major hurdles to adoption.

Image: Daryl_Mitchell, via Flickr

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