I've only spent a small amount of time taking business classes, and none of them were for marketing. But I have to imagine that somewhere in those big, expensive textbooks, when instruction young minds how to promote a product, is the lesson "don't associate with bloodthirsty terrorists." The electronic mobile payment consortium Isis, wishing to completely and totally distance itself from the ISIS currently holding large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, is changing its name to Softcard.
Watch out, Google Wallet, there's a new player in town. Actually, Google Wallet hasn't really done all that well; it's still being blocked by big carriers, and NFC point of sale systems aren't exactly ubiquitous yet. For those reasons, stopgap apps like Clutch - an e-commerce app that allows you to pay with barcodes generated by your credit, debit, loyalty or gift cards - probably have a better chance than Wallet of moving us towards frictionless mobile payments.
Earlier this week, Isis Mobile Wallet payment platform went live on three U.S. carriers - Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. Verizon had only one device listed as supported at launch, with the DROID RAZR HD / MAXX HD compatibility set to arrive by the end of October. The Galaxy S III was also listed, but according to this list, it doesn't seem to be ready just yet.
Two days ago, Verizon released the first update v0.7.2 for the RAZR HD variants with only a mention of one new feature in the changelog: an "updated Google Security Patch." Today, Verizon amended the update document and added the mention of Isis Mobile Wallet, thus fulfilling its promise right on schedule.
Yesterday, a rumor at the Wall Street Journal stated that major retailers like Walmart, Target, and 7-Eleven were in the process of teaming up to create their own mobile payment solution. They sure didn't waste much time on making it official, as this morning that solution was announced as "MCX" - or, Merchant Customer Exchange. Sexy.
This is a big deal, though. And it's a big deal because of the names in the headline above - quite literally most places where Americans buy things have come together to create a mobile wallet system.