case study: isis mobile wallet


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  • The consumer experience

    Since the launch of a pilot in Salt Lake City and Austin in October 2012, IsisTM

    has used local television, newspapers, outdoor and in-store advertising to

    call on consumers to sign up and use the wallet. IsisTM also held events in

    shopping malls and other venues to provide information about IsisTM services.

    Isis is everywhere billboards, radio, stickers, booths, its all pervasive,

    says Johnson.

    To set up the IsisTM Mobile Wallet, the consumer needs to:

    Have a Near Field Communications (NFC)-capable handset

    Have a compatible UICC (SIM card)

    Download the IsisTM Wallet software from Google Play

    Register to use the wallet and create a four-digit passcode

    When the consumer first signs up, they receive offers from participating

    merchants. To continue receiving offers, the consumer needs to follow the

    appropriate merchant in the directory within the wallet. Some merchants

    web sites and NFC-enabled posters also have a clip to IsisTM feature that

    enables consumers to select an offer and have it delivered directly to their

    wallet. During the pilot, two-thirds of active users opted in to receive

    offers and messages from their favourite brands, following an average

    of seven brands.

    Consumers can use their wallet to pay by holding the phone against

    a compatible point of sale terminal, which will then send a transaction

    confirmation to the wallet. They then follow any further instructions on the

    payment terminal. For some merchants, that single tap will also enable the

    consumer to redeem any pre-selected offers and accumulate relevant loyalty

    points. In other cases, the consumer will need to show the offer barcode or

    numeric code to the store staff.


    Operators: AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless

    US Cities: Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah (nationwide later in 2013)

    Launch date: October 2012

    Services offered: Contactless payments, loyalty services and vouchers

    Strategic partnerships: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Chase, Barclaycard, Capital One, and Utah Transit Authority

    Target audience demographics: All population segments

    TSM provider: Gemalto

    Operating system: Android with support for iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry 10 coming

    Handset compatibility: Downloadable application compatible with more than 35 handsets.

    Executive summary

    A joint venture between AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon

    Wireless, IsisTM has deployed the IsisTM Mobile Wallet as part of the

    broader pilot of a suite of mobile commerce services for banks and

    merchants. Although merchants and banks are Isis direct customers,

    its brand is also designed to be consumer-facing.

    Kai Johnson, Chief Architect at Isis, says: We have been happy with the

    usage of payments, offers and loyalty. We are on target with projections

    and meeting our goals for the two pilots. Early adopters of IsisTM

    have primarily been young, tech-savvy consumers. If we can get a

    consumer signed up to use the service once, we have a consumer who

    will keep using the service going forward, which has implications for the

    provisioning process in operators stores, says Johnson. We are talking

    to our operator partners about the best way to do that. Getting over

    that first hurdle is very important.


  • Isis is working with the Utah Transport Authority (UTA), to enable consumers

    to travel for free on a local bus or train if they tap their IsisTM-enabled handset

    against the appropriate contactless reader. It has been a very successful

    promotion a really good way to build awareness, says Johnson.

    IsisTM has found that consumers need precise instructions on how to use the

    wallet. For example, consumers need to know that to complete a transaction,

    they have to hold their NFC handset against the contactless reader for half

    a second at a certain orientation.

    Not all retailers that accept contactless payments have Isis logos in their

    outlets, so Isis is also educating consumers on looking for other indications,

    such as the EMVCo logo, that denotes contactless acceptance.

    During the pilot, the average active IsisTM Mobile Wallet user tapped their

    NFC-enabled handset more than 10 times per month. Isis says that more than

    80 percent of transactions take place at everyday spend locations, such

    as quick-service restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, convenience and

    grocery stores.

    Features and functionality

    The IsisTM Mobile Wallet supports three services contactless payments

    (compatible with VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover

    payment networks), loyalty services (supporting merchants existing loyalty

    programmes) and the delivery of offers/coupons for merchants.

    The services in the wallet draw on relevant data held in a secure element

    on the consumers NFC-enabled SIM card. Access to the wallet requires

    a four-digit passcode and the secure element plays a key role in ensuring

    security. A consumer can suspend the wallet by calling their operator

    or via the Isis web site.


    The IsisTM Mobile Wallet is available for handsets running the Android

    operating system, but support for Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 and iOS

    is coming. Although U.S. mobile operators are rolling out NFC-enabled

    handsets across the U.S., the Isis SIM cards are only available to residents

    of Salt Lake City and Austin today, but will be available nationwide later

    this year. Johnson says IsisTM is planning to simplify and improve the very

    functional wallet user experience in the next iteration.

    Interoperability features

    If IsisTM Mobile Wallet users switch mobile operators, they can take their

    wallet with them. We put a lot of work into that and lifecycle events, says

    Johnson. The wallet makes some use of the operators SMS, push messaging

    and data services, together with their provisioning systems. We have a

    dedicated area of the UICC we can access, but the mobile operator retains

    control of the UICC, says Johnson. Isis says it is open to working with all

    mobile operators.

    However, there could be problems enabling international interoperability, as

    the payment systems in the U.S. dont use the same kind of authentication

    systems used in Europe and most parts of Asia, according to Isis.

    Ecosystem involvement

    As well as working with the four payment networks (Visa, MasterCard

    American Express and Discover), IsisTM is looking to support as many of

    the 10,000 U.S. banks as it can. It is also working with both large national

    merchants, such as Macys and Coca-Cola, and local merchants, but Johnson

    says it will take time to fully convert merchants from legacy systems to

    contactless systems. We make sure both handset manufacturers and

    point of sale terminal suppliers have our requirements and implement our

    protocols for coupons and loyalty. During the pilot, the number or locations

    in Austin and Salt Lake City accepting contactless transactions nearly

    quadrupled to more than 4,000.


    In the U.S., banking and payment regulations can limit the scope of new

    payment services. The rules have a profound impact on what can be done

    in terms of innovation, says Johnson.

    Future plans

    Now that the Austin and Salt Lake City launches have proven successful,

    IsisTM is looking to expand the service to the rest of the U.S. later this year.

    We need to get handsets to consumers and wallets to consumers, but the

    distribution channels through mobile operators are pretty well in place, so

    that is not the hard part. says Johnson. A lot of contactless infrastructure is

    still to be deployed. The USA is a big place and its going to take more than

    IsisTM to make that happen.


    About the GSMAThe GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the worlds mobile operators with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.

    For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

    For further information please contact:

    GSMA London Office T: +44 (0) 20 7356 0600

    September 2013