Citi: Isis m-commerce platform is 'hampering the development of NFC'


Citibank global head of digital networks and mobile Dickson Chu is lashing out at Isis, the forthcoming nationwide m-commerce network spearheaded by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA, arguing that the platform is stunting the evolution of Near Field Communications-enabled contactless technologies.

"It's unclear what [Isis is] trying to achieve, other than extract a toll as gatekeepers," Chu said during a panel appearance this week at the BAI Retail Delivery conference in Chicago. "There's so much more that they could do... as it is, they are just hampering the development of NFC as a mass-market commercial proposition."

Chu is bullish on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) rival Google Wallet, which expands NFC transactions beyond point-of-sale purchases to enable consumers to store coupons, loyalty cards and gift cards within their Android smartphone. Google Wallet, which went live in mid-September, presently suppots most Citi PayPass eligible MasterCard credit cards and the Google Prepaid Card.

Chu said Citi has worked closely with Google in developing the Wallet platform, stating the financial services firm has learned much from Google about accelerating application development and web optimization while supplying its own insight into payment processing complexities and regulatory nuances. Chu added Google plans to publish a set of open Wallet APIs enabling all banks to participate in the effort: "There is no exclusivity and no hidden fees," Chu said, urging banks to partner with Google. "The Wallet is open. Participate."

Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA first announced Isis in late 2010, promising services enabling consumers to conduct point-of-sale transactions, redeem coupons and use store merchant loyalty cards via mobile device. In May, Isis said it would open its system to all interested credit issuers and banks, and in July welcomed financial services providers Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express to its ranks.

Isis plans to begin consumer trials in the Salt Lake City and Austin, Tex. markets sometime in early-to-mid-2012. In late August, Bloomberg reported Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA plan to invest roughly $100 million to accelerate the Isis buildout--last month, device manufacturers HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Samsung Mobile and Sony Ericsson agreed to implement Isis' NFC and technology standards, developing phones that enable consumers to make point-of-sale purchases, store and present merchant loyalty cards and redeem offers all by tapping their phone against a corresponding reader device.

For more:
- read this Finextra article

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