Most US carriers eschewed Google Wallet in favor of ISIS, which has only just arrived after years of waiting. Totally reasonable, right? In an apparent effort to smooth things over, ISIS is offering 20% cash back on purchases, but it takes some setup.


First off, you'll need to have a supported Android device from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon – the device list includes most recent phones with NFC. You'll also need to grab an enhanced ISIS-compatible SIM card from your carrier, which should be free. You'll also have to use an American Express Serve account, which is a pre-paid card. Linking it to ISIS will wave all the maintenance fees associated with Serve as well.

If you got all that worked out, you'll be able to hunt down ISIS retailers and start saving some cash. You'll get 20% off your ISIS purchases with a rebate up to $200. So spend $1000, and you'll get a $200 credit back. (The $200 rebate is a total limit per user, not per purchase.) That's a nice discount, but it's not super-accessible and probably won't earn ISIS much good will. At least you can get some free money.

[Slick Deals]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Jeremiah Rice

    Bah, humbug. All those prerequisites make this a complete waste of time for anything except a HUGE purchase.

    • Scott

      I need a new TV. I wonder if Best Buy supports ISIS...

      • Rafy286

        Wondering the same just purchased a TV wouldn't mind repurchasing

      • Andrew Beard

        I was in last night and they had tap-to-pay terminals. I know I can make ISIS payments at Best Buy, but I don't know if there's something else necessary (a deal with the retailer, etc) to get the cash back.

        • Scott

          I'm definitely going to find out and report back.

          • Andrew Beard

            I just checked my Serve account and it looks like ISIS sent me 42 cents back for a purchase I made Saturday at 7-11. They don't seem to be on the list, so all indications are that it works so far. I wish I had known about this before I bought a Kinect for my wife this weekend...

          • Scott

            You for sure have made ISIS purchases at best buy? Coincidentally I just canceled my Serve account about a week ago because I had never used it. I may have to create another one.

          • Andrew Beard

            No, I haven't. I've made ISIS purchases at 7-11, Wegmans, Harris Teeter, and a host of other places that aren't on ISIS's map, though. ISIS will work at any credit card terminal that has tap-to-pay (Visa Paypass, etc) and accepts American Express. I know the best buy near me had them and I've NEVER had a similar terminal reject paying with ISIS (or Google Wallet, when I had the Nexus 4). At the time I had my Serve account only set up to allow charges below $50 so I've never tried it at Best Buy.

            As far as I can tell there are no ISIS or Google Wallet specific terminals, though. The phone just emulates a credit card with tap-to-pay, so the terminal doesn't care.

          • Scott

            I just called my local best buy and they said they don't accept contactless payments. I'm still going to the store to investigate for myself. Rather disappointing news though.

          • Andrew Beard

            OK, so I can say for sure that Best Buy DOES NOT support tap-to-pay, but there are alternatives. Their terminals support tap-to-pay (and have the PayPass logo), but they've disabled it. You can try to pay with ISIS but the terminal pops up a message saying "tap to pay functionality is not available" or some such.

            On the plus side, CVS does accept tap-to-pay. And they sell Best Buy gift cards in any denomination. I went to CVS this morning, picked up a $300 gift card, and then went straight to Best Buy and spent it. $60 back from ISIS.

            So anyway, if you know you're going to be picking up something rather large do it via a gift card and you can get a 20% off discount.

          • Elias

            Totally true, I tried and it works. See the picture I uploaded

            the CVS transaction is a gift card from Best Buy

          • NealJ777

            Okay, time for a crazy question:

            I want to purchase something from Costco, which does not do "Tap & Pay" and I want the 20% back, but they do accept AMEX cards. Can I go to CVS, purchase an AMEX gift card in $x amount, get 20% back to my Serve account and then go shopping at Costco??

          • Andrew Beard

            I haven't tried buying a VISA or AMEX gift card, but it seems like it should work based on the many other gift cards I purchased. When you buy a gift card at CVS they ask for the last 4 digits of the card number, though. Just tap on the card you're paying with in the ISIS app and it'll show you the number you need.

          • NealJ777

            Thank you.

            I'll just have to give it a try and see what happens. :)

        • Ryan Stewart

          Our BBs have had the terminals for a long time but they dont appear to do anything. No pay pass functionality.

      • Altereek Brewton

        Best Buy does support ISIS

    • Wyatt Neal

      I don't even know that it makes it worth it for even a huge purchase. When you factor in your time and the cost of the internet to support downloading their bloated spyware app. 17mb??? So I can have a picture of a phone on my phone while I pay with my phone? I bite my thumb at them and hope they end up being the next service that just didn't work out.

  • h4rr4r

    I might consider it for maybe 100% cash back. ISIS, die in a fire.

  • Ryan Stewart

    So wait, not only do you need NFC but you need a special ISIS compatible sim?

    Yeah. I wont ever be using this service.

    • Matthew Fry

      You cannot even fathom the amount of work I've put into making Isis work. It's been complete bullshit.

      • Ryan Stewart

        It also doesnt appear to have even the market penetration of the poorly supported Google Wallet. I really wish they would have deemed carriers blocking Wallet as non-competitive and nailed them to the wall.

        Either way, no service is going to matter until the terminals are updated, which could take years. Even the very good and very simple Google Wallet. I love it when i can use it but its just not that common unless you go to Walgreens/CVS (which their rip-off prices mean I dont) or McDonalds (not a fan).

        If QuickTrip, Panera, Kroger, Chick Fil A, Target and Home Depot had those terminals in locations near me probably half of my in person (excluding waiter service restaurants) transactions would be through Google Wallet.

        Id be big on using it because I want it to take off, I want everything in there so I can leave my house without a wallet.

  • scuttlefield

    So, no Nexus devices are supported right now? Hmmm...and I bet they never will be.

    • enoch861

      No point. Nexus devices already support Google Wallet.

  • Tanner

    Does anybody know why Verizon's Note 3 is not compatible with ISIS, when the Note 3 on both T-Mobile and AT&T work with ISIS?

  • TheKaz1969

    I can't wait to install this on my new Moto X!! Oh, wait...

    • lensgrabber

      Yeah I call BS on this. I wonder if it's because Motorola is owned by Google or if they will support it in the future. I have asked ISIS (twitter/facebook) and they ignore it.

  • Vardan Nazaretyan

    I hate how they put software keys and AOSP status bar in a GS4.

  • andy_o

    Will switching to this special SIM block Google Wallet?

    • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

      I don't know for sure but I'd be very surprised if Wallet and ISIS can exist on the same phone at the same time.

      • andy_o

        See my reply to enoch861.

    • enoch861

      Nope. I tried and failed.
      Wallet still says Tap and Pay is unavailable.

      • andy_o

        I said block though, not "work". I seem to remember some people in some markets reporting that mobile payment-enabled SIMs, I think from t-mobile, were blocking Google Wallet even on the Nexus 4. But now with KitKat there was news that Google was working around the secure element shenanigans.

        • enoch861

          I don't think it does. I don't know though.

  • ranova

    btw you have to be unrooted

    • Sam Brake

      Unrooted will work, but you will have to temporally unroot it. Download Voodoo PTA Rootkeeper and use that. It works for me quite well. You will have to go online and order a new SIM card, it's free, but takes a few weeks. Since I have Verizon, I had to call them to give them my new card number to activate it. It takes a bit to get it all working, but it did work for me. I just did it for the heck of it to see if it works, and it does!

  • Guest


  • ddh819

    none of the stores that take it are ones where i would spend big bucks, besides the carriers themselves.

  • Indianajonze

    just fyi, there are a few threads over at xda complaining that the new isis sim cards do NOT play nice with nexus devices...
    probably what you get for messing with isis in the 1st place...

    • enoch861

      Why would a Nexus user wanna mess with ISIS? There's Google Wallet.. I mean, this 20% thing is nice and everything but still..

      • Robert Alex Kibler

        Exactly. Google Wallet doesn't give 20% back. I'd gladly use ISIS for the free 20% and then back to Google Wallet. That is, if I could use either on my Galaxy Nexus.

        • enoch861

          You got a point.

  • DC_Guy

    Sure wish that ISIS would work on my Verizon Note 3 :-(

  • WinDroidGuy

    The company told me this will work with ANY merchant that accepts NFC payments, you just need to use your ISIS account with the linked Serve account. So it will work at Best Buy, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Toys R Us, etc

    Just remember, you need special NFC SIM card, free from your carrier. $200 "FREE" money is worth it to me, since I already have an account.

    • Yellow06GT

      Everyone keeps saying you must use an AM Serve account. I am using a Chase VISA card with Isis. I just set it up, but have not used it yet. Will the regular tap and pay terminals ONLY work with the serve account, or will it work with the Chase visa as well?

      • Elias

        ONLY serve from AMEX. Sorry I have the chase visa card and it doesnt work

  • Robert Alex Kibler

    Why the heck doesn't this work on the Galaxy Nexus? It has NFC.

    • Matthew Fry

      Does the Galaxy Nexus use a normal sim or a micro sim?

  • YNWA

    Sounds like I need to buy a few tablets, pocket $200 and resell them on Craigslist!

  • DanielSF

    I tried using isis at best buy and it did not work. Just as it was mentioned below, I went to CVS and bought a Best Buy gift card and it worked just fine!

  • Anthony Curran

    Wherever you use your isis wallet at any pay pass terminals you will receive 20% back of total purchases in the serve card statement period. Up to the total amount of $200. For example if you spent $1,325 in your statement period isis will credit your account $200 at statement end. However, this is not the only discount you can get. Any participating retailer with American serve gives discounts or free items. Like Coca Cola vending machines with pay pass will give you a free beverage. Your wireless provider can give you a discount if you pay your bill at their location with isis. Verizon is pays $20 to your bill for using it. So you opportunities are becoming endless.