With just weeks to go until its nation-wide roll-out, Capital One is pulling its support for the ISIS NFC payment system it backed with other financial institutions.
The credit card and financial services company announced that it would be ending its testing of the payment system this past week to NFC World, saying, “our pilot test with Isis will be coming to an end soon.”
On the surface, one organization’s decision to abandon the standard might not seem like such a big deal, however it’s a huge blow for mobile payment systems in general. Capital One was one of only three financial institutions backing the project, with the other two being Chase and Barclaycard US. Together, the three financial institutions account for around 100 million possible customers using the technology, according to earlier reports from NFC World. It’s unclear just how many of that 100 million figure belonged to Capital One.
While it’s definitely a blow for users who would like to pay for items in retail locations by simply unlocking their smartphones and placing it on a small pad, it’s likely users haven’t seen the last of the standard. Of the four major wireless carriers, AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA are all behind ISIS and each has shown dedication to insuring that the project gets off the ground. In an effort to secure the space for themselves, each has also worked to undermine the NFC-powered payment systems of other companies.
That includes Google’s Google Wallet, which has hit roadblock after roadblock in dealing with mobile carriers. Verizon now blocks Google Wallet’s NFC options on all of its Android devices.
ISIS began testing last year in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas and announced that it would begin rolling out the standard to other cities this month.
NFC or near field communications chips are found in most mid-range and high-end smartphones. They allow devices to communicate directly with each other in limited ways by simply touching. At the time of its announcement ISIS speculated that somewhere around 20 million smartphones come equipped with the technology.