Google Wallet, which so far is only available on select unlocked smartphones and tablets as well as Android phones sold through U.S. carrier partner Sprint, is about to get some serious competition in the mobile payment arena. According to the latest leaks, ISIS, which is a consortium of carriers comprised of AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless, is about to launch its own version of a Google Wallet challenger come August 20th.
Mobile payments have gained traction in recent months in the U.S. as the technologies to enable this feature are maturing and have begun to appear on a number of smartphones. Near Field Communications, or NFC, technology allows smartphone users with these chips embedded to tap their phone on a payment terminal–similar to swiping a credit card at checkout at a physical retail store–to pay for goods and services. By using NFC and integrating payment into phones, the aim is to allow consumers to just carry their phones with them and not have to worry about carrying a wallet.
At this time, it’s still unclear if ISIS’ other carrier partners–AT&T and Verizon Wireless–will also debut their mobile payment initiatives on the same August 20th date that T-Mobile is speculated to launch. According to Tmo News, the T-Mobile initiative will only support a number of smartphones in a number of limited test markets at launch.
Phones supported include the HTC Amaze 4G, Samsung Galaxy S II, and Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G. Newer phones, such as the HTC One S and the Samsung Galaxy S III, are not mentioned on the list.
Unfortunately, only Austin, TX and Salt Lake City, UT are planned test markets at this time.