Isis, the mobile payments consortium formed by major U.S. wireless network operators AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, announced on Tuesday that it has formed partnerships with Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
Set to launch in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas in the first half of 2012, Isis will use a technology known as near-field communication to allow customers to make point-of-sale purchases by waving their smartphones over scanners. As a result of these new relationships, Isis customers will be able to use their mobile phones to make purchases through any of the four national payment networks.
Gaining the support of Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express gives Isis an advantage over Google Wallet, which is currently in a field test and should be available later this year, and Sprint's wave-and-pay service, which is set to roll out by the end of the year. Both of those services offer the same near field communication technology offered by Isis, but for now, they're only set to work with MasterCard accounts.