Will NFC-Based Isis Threaten Apple’s Plans For An iWallet?

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After delays, Isis will launch its NFC-based digital wallet in just two U.S cities.
After delays, Isis will launch its NFC-based digital wallet in just two U.S cities.

After months of delays, Isis has announced the debut of its mobile payment system. A joint venture by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, Isis made news earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress in March, but has been pretty quiet since then. During that quiet period a number of other players in the mobile payment market have stolen the spotlight and announced major deals.

Apple is expected to eventually unveil its own mobile payment system, one that will most likely be based around the iTunes Store payment system, but hasn’t made announcements beyond iOS 6’s Passbook feature. Apple has also kept quiet about whether it will include NFC chips used in some mobile payment systems in the upcoming iPhone 5, which some analysts and pundits consider a barrier to entry into the mobile payment market.

Did PayPal Just Win The Mobile Payments War Before Apple Even Entered The Fight?

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PayPal take a significant lead in mobile payments race by partnering with Discover.
PayPal takes a significant lead in mobile payments race by partnering with Discover.

If you thought the heat of the mobile payments industry might cool a bit after weeks of major announcements like the Square/Starbucks partnership, the launch of a new mobile payment company dubbed MCX by several national retail chains, and PayPal’s trial of in-restaurant payments at McDonald’s locations in France, think again.

PayPal announced the biggest partnership yet in the U.S. mobile payments market today – a deal with Discover that will bring PayPal in-store payment to seven million locations next spring.

With McDonald’s Trial, PayPal Is Trying To Be A Lot More Like The Apple Store

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PayPal looks to expand its mobile payment marketshare and features with an app-based payment trial at McDonald's locations in France.
PayPal looks to expand its mobile payment market share and features with an app-based payment trial at McDonald's locations in France.

Square’s announcement of its partnership with Starbucks and the launch of new mobile payment company by several key retail and service chains were signs that the mobile payment industry and digital wallet concept is big business. Late last week, however, there was more news on the mobile payments front that proves that the race is far from over – one could even say that it’s barely started.

In a move that could make Square’s deal with Starbucks seem small and limited, Reuters reports that PayPal may soon be expanding its brand of mobile payments to include on the biggest fast food chains on the planet – McDonald’s. PayPal is currently testing a payment system in 30 McDonald’s locations in France. The company demoed the technology earlier this year.

What Square’s Starbucks Deal Means For Mobile Payments And An Apple iWallet

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Square scored its big partnership with Starbucks by realizing mobile payments aren't really about mobile payments.
Square scored its big partnership with Starbucks by realizing mobile payments aren't really about mobile payments.

Last week’s announcement that Starbucks is partnering with Square for mobile payments and credit card processing is big news for the nascent U.S. mobile payments market. It was also a warning shot fired by the startup across the bow of traditional payment processing companies, many of which have struggled to bring together an effective and successful digital wallet (or iWallet) solution. The move could also complicate any plans that Apple has to move into that market following the release of iOS 6 and its Passbook feature.

O2 Executive: Consumers Aren’t Interested In Mobile Payments Or An iWallet

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O2 executive James Le Brocq points out what an iWallet needs in order to be a success.
O2 executive James Le Brocq points out what an iWallet needs in order to be a success.

Apple may be the only major company operating the mobile space that hasn’t announced a partnership or trial related to delivering mobile payments and creating an iWallet. While it seems a forgone conclusion that Apple will eventually enter the mobile payment market, a recent statement by James Le Brocq, managing director at O2 Money (a division of the U.K. mobile carrier O2) illustrates why Apple hasn’t yet entered the that market and why that’s a good move for Apple: consumers aren’t that interested in mobile payments.