New mobile payment push by Verizon takes centerstage at MobileCon

by Steve Blum • , , , , ,

As easy as looking in your wallet to see how much cash you have.

Credit cards are simple to use, easy to carry and accepted everywhere. That’s a tough combination to beat, which explains why mobile payment platforms are stalled in the U.S.

“You’ve got to make it incredibly simple,” said Michael Abbott, the CEO of Isis, a mobile payment platform that’s pulled together support from Verizon, American Express and Chase. “The competition is plastic, we’ve got to make plastic obsolete.”

He was speaking to a full house at the opening session at MobileCon today in San Jose. Billed as a keynote, it was really an introduction of the mobile payment ecosystem that Isis is building on the Verizon network. At his side were Dan Schulman, a group president with American Express, Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead and James White, the CEO of Jamba Juice, an early adopter of the Isis/Amex/Verizon platform.

“How do you fundamentally change the face of commerce? By becoming more intimate with the customer,” said Shulman. “The holy grail is the data and information around the payment, not the form factor.”

The point of sale technology they’re implementing now is near field communications (NFC), but there was general agreement that it would migrate to something else over time. “Most people are probably overestimating the rate of change for the next three years, and underestimating the rate of change after that,” Abbott said.

One disruptive change they’re aiming at is to lower the cost of transactions for everyone, no matter what their income level. “Its expensive to be poor”, Schulman said, pointing to the fees charged by check cashing and money order companies. “For those who are not in the financial mainstream, it’s incredibly expensive to move your money”.