ISIS Lines Up Phone Makers, But Where Are The Retailers And Customers?

With mobile-payments rivals Google and PayPal breathing down its neck a week before Apple announces its new iPhones (and possibly its own mobile-payments plans), ISIS on Tuesday (Sept. 27) said it has lined up five Android handset makers plus BlackBerry maker RIM to support ISIS-style mobile payments. Actually, that's a little less than it appears: NFC-equipped phones from Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and RIM will support "preexisting global standards" that "essentially detail how banks and other service providers can securely provision payment credentials in the secure element," according to an ISIS statement.

That brings six phone makers, four card brands and three mobile telcos under ISIS' big tent, along with DeviceFidelity, which lets non-NFC phones add NFC through a microSD slot. Problem: ISIS' card brands have also signed with Google, as have the five Android handset makers (and DeviceFidelity says its deal with ISIS isn't exclusive, either). Bigger problem: ISIS has yet to demonstrate payments, while Google Wallet is already operating with multiple retailers. It's hearts-and-minds time, but ISIS has nothing exclusive and nothing to show potential users. Would it kill these telcos to just demonstrate they can actually make a transaction?