Consumers welcome offers from merchants in a mobile wallet test

Isis says consumers use the mobile wallet five times per week.

Kevin Woodward

Consumers using Isis, a smartphone-based mobile wallet service that enables consumers to make mobile payments and use mobile coupons, typically do so more than five times a week, says Jim Stapleton, Isis chief sales officer. And 65% sign up to receive merchant offers.

Isis launched in October in Salt Lake City and Austin, TX. Consumers can use smartphones from AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA or Verizon Wireless to make tap-and-go transactions at participating merchants in those two cities. To use Isis, consumers download the Isis mobile wallet Android-only app from the Google Play app store and load eligible American Express, Chase or Capital One credit card numbers into the app. They also can use Isis Cash, a prepaid card a plastic card unconnected to the smartphone loaded with $10 that comes with each Isis activation.

Stapleton, speaking on a conference call this week from the Smart Card Alliance 2013 Payments Summit in Salt Lake City, did not disclose the number of consumers with Isis accounts. Isis did not respond to Internet Retailer inquiries.

Stapleton also said consumers can use Isis at more than 10,000 locations in the two cities. Merchants must have a contactless reader installed. In addition to stores, Isis also is accepted on Utah Transit Authority busses and trains in Salt Lake City.

Consumers also can receive offers from merchants in their Isis accounts. Stapleton says more than 65% of Isis account holders sign up to receive offers, such as coupons or notification of sales, from merchants, with the typical consumer following five merchants, he said.

That percentage may bode well for Isis, says Rick Oglesby, senior analyst at consulting firm Aite Group LLC. “Mobile commerce solutions are about helping merchants and consumers find each other and build ongoing relationships,” Oglesby says. “For it to really take off, merchants need to embrace the technology and use it in compelling ways to get consumers interested and engaged. Without that, it’ll go nowhere.”

That’s why 65% of consumers choosing to follow merchants in Isis is important, Oglesby says.

“It shows that consumers are opting in for merchant offers through the wallet,” he says. “That’s good. One of the precursors associated with getting merchants interested is having an engaged consumer population.”

But having offers is not a guarantee of success. Google Inc. included merchant offers in its Google Wallet smartphone app. But consumers and merchants failed to embrace Google Wallet to the point that Google now is working on a new version of the service.


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