The First Carrier-Backed Mobile Wallet Is Now Out For Real

Isis, the NFC-powered mobile payment app backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, has finally broken out of regional testing and is now available across the U.S. For certain customers, at least.

First off, you need a compatible Android smartphone — no iPhones allowed because you need NFC, duh. Then you'll need to get an enhanced SIM card from your carrier, since Isis keeps your encrypted banking data on the SIM. If you're not an American Express or Chase credit card customer, you'll have to create an American Express Serve account that Isis will draw from. And then, you'll need to find a participating store; nationwide chains like Macy's, Walgreens and CVS are already on board.

Still, Isis may have wider appeal than Google Wallet, PayPal Beacon and Square, since Isis is the only mobile payment system that comes backed by all three major U.S. carriers — although Android KitKat makes Google Wallet tap-to-pay possible on any NFC-equipped phone. Let's see if this tap-to-pay thing is really going anywhere. [Isis Mobile Wallet via The Verge]