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Isis Mobile Wallet Launch Details – NFC SIM Cards, Free Cash, and Limited Device Support

Isis Mobile Wallet, the mobile payment solution created by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will launch in its first test markets on October 22, according to sources of ours. As previously announced by Isis, those markets are Salt Lake City, UT and Austin, TX. Isis, as many of you know, is a similar service to Google Wallet, in that it aims to turn your smartphone into a virtual wallet, giving you a place to store credit cards, loyalty cards, and find special offers. Below, we have additional details you may not have heard, but will likely see soon when the service goes live. 

  • Virtual Cards:  As expected, Isis will hold virtual versions of credit cards, an Isis Cash Card (prepaid card), store loyalty cards, and a section for special offers and promotions.
  • Bonus Cash:  When you first activate Isis, there will be a $10 bonus card for you to use. If you want even more cash, you can upgrade the Isis Cash Card to “reloadable” status which will land you an additional $15.
  • Security:  If your phone is lost or stolen, you can call Verizon and they will freeze Isis from working.
  • Merchants:  Isis will work at merchant locations that use Visa PayWave, MasterCard Paypass, Discover Zip, American Express and Google Wallet.
  • NFC-SIM Cards:  From what we have been told, Verizon will use new NFC-SIM cards on their Isis approved devices. We aren’t sure why they aren’t satisfied with simply using the on-board NFC chip, but this likely creates an additional level of security. It’s also a level of security that they can have intense control over, I would assume.
  • Devices:  The official “Isis ready” device is the DROID Incredible 4G LTE. As you will recall from this morning, the device is set to receive an update to make it Isis ready. Additional devices will be made available at a later time, but you should note that not all NFC phones can support Isis. If you live in a trial market and purchase an Incredible 4G LTE on or after October 22 (launch day), it will be activated with a new NFC-SIM card. If you already own an Incredible 4G LTE and live in a test market, you will be able to obtain an NFC-SIM to replace your current SIM.
  • Incredible 4G Purchase + $50 in Cash:  From October 22 to November 20, you can buy an Incredible 4G LTE and receive a $50 Visa Pre-Paid card. From what we understand, you will have to activate Isis and submit a rebate form in order to get the card.

Again, October 22 is launch day for the two test markets. Isis and their partners have not released details for a nationwide rollout. It could be months for all we know.

What are your thoughts on not all NFC devices being “Isis ready”?

  • The articale says isis works where paypass is accepted. Here in Salt Lake it’s mostly 7-11 (a c store) and McDonalds. Will my google wallet work on the isis terminals? As of last week our light rail system had an isis logo on it but my google wallet wasn’t accepted. Also my G3 is rooted. Will it work and do I need a new sim card? With isis trying for general acceptance its silly not to take advantage of ALL NFC enabled phones. I would hate to see all our merchants get isis terminals then if the system fails, no one (google wallet) can use them. It will send us backwards with this bad taste lingering in their collective mouths…

  • redcm

    I work for capital one and we said this will be open on the 15 so it should be available today for select accounts. If you have a MasterCard check it out.

  • SamsungFTW

    If ISIS gave me $1000 added to my account for free, and linked a new credit card issued by them with no limit, and gave me a permanent coupon for 80% off of everything I buy with it, and offered me free NFC enabled phones twice a year for the rest of my life, and gave me half off my phone bill, and gave me a solid gold lamborghini with windows made out of diamonds…
    …I would still tell them to go **** themselves.
    Verizon, unblock Goolge Wallet or we will unblock it for you by way of litigation, you evil, greedy, monopolistic control freaks. You are losing customers over this. I promise you I will never give Big Red another big red cent when my contract ends. You suck.

  • Steven Cornea

    ok they better freshen up the look of that app cause that looks like complete crap

  • cphilano

    Hey Kellex…does ISIS access the secure element?

  • Cracker Jack

    As long as Google Wallet works on my phone I’ll keep using it. Seems that Verizon might be heading for an anti-trust law suit if they keep playing games not allowing Google Wallet on NFC phones such as the GNEX. If ISIS is better then people will move to it but the approach they are taking is ridiculous.

    • Matty Matty Two By Four

      Didn’t microsoft get in trouble for something like this in the past?

    • SamsungFTW

      If ISIS is better then people *would have* moved to it. At this point, I don’t care if ISIS does a hundred amazing things that Google Wallet doesn’t, I refuse to use it on principle because I am not about to be forced into anything by a manipulative, money-hungry corporation.

  • HAHAHA Who cares? I will just continue to use Google Wallet on my SGS3… Isis can bite me…

  • randompsychology

    I highly doubt an NFC-SIM is any more secure than the native-NFC in the phone. In fact, it’s potentially less secure since someone could theoretically take your SIM and use it in another phone (of course, I’m sure it’s encrypted, password protected, etc).

    An advantage might be that you could swap the SIM into another phone and it would retain your cards. Either way, an NFC-SIM means that non-NFC phones could potentially use NFC…right?

    Wonder if you can use the NFC stuff in the SIM for non-payments or if they locked it down?

  • Never in a million years.

  • CHRIS42060

    First any time Verizon, AT & T, and T-Mobile work together on something I will try like hell to avoid it. Second I am actually surprised Verizon didn’t try to tie this in more with the Droid RAZR HD and RAZR MAXX HD launch and making those phones the only “Isis Ready” devices.

    • Matthew Merrick

      Well, they havn’t been launched yet, so….

      • CHRIS42060

        They will be launched 4 days before the launch of Isis, so….

  • I live in the SLC area. but dont own an DINC 4G… that’s a super small test group right there. go Google Wallet!

  • TheWenger

    I don’t want to support carriers, especially VZW, in any way if I can help it. Mobile payments could end up becoming a standard, sort of like cards are today. But if the carriers have anything to do with it, they’ll make sure that you have to have one of their phones to even think about using a phone to pay for something. I pray that the terminals ISIS uses could end up being universal and used by other payment systems like Wallet.

  • So only the Incredible 4G gets this? Why do they still block Google Wallet on the Gnex if its not going work on it? Verizon is such an ass. If they don’t have a real Nexus this December, I’m leavin.

    • Daniel Maginnis

      Only swear

  • LionStone

    Aside from the BS with VZ blocking the GN and playing games, this program and having the Inc4 be among the first devices to test it, further validates the little DROID as a relevant device.

  • Daniel Maginnis

    I’m pretty pissed. Not only is Google wallet not compatible with my brand new phone with nfc (RAZR m) but its a possibility it won’t even be compatible with app that is responsible for said incompatibility. I’ve reached out to moto on social networking but theyre only interested in their own spam, not responding to customers.

    • kixofmyg0t

      I’ve had Google Wallet installed on my M(it was a pain in the ass and it crashed). With that being said, the blame should be shifted to Verizon, who don’t allow you to get it in the first place and are requiring OEM’s to do new stupid crap.

      Once a viable root has been discovered for the M google wallet will follow. Be patient.

      • Daniel Maginnis

        oh, i’m totally putting the blame on verizon. but i’m trying to reach out to moto so that they know that customers really want it.

  • From my understanding, NFC Sims are compatible with any phone that has NFC hardware. Verizon is excluding GNex from the Isis supported device list in a lame attempt to avoid antitrust charges from the FTC regarding their illegal embargo of Google Wallet under the Block C agreement.

  • Brendon Martin

    I just got a call from Verizon regarding my FCC complaint about Gooogle Wallet. I let it go to voicemail, but I’m curious what he has to say.

    • I filed one also, but no calls yet. Keep us posted.

  • c4v3man

    Do not want. Can’t wait until the FCC comes down hard on Verizon for blocking Google Wallet on their LTE 700Mhz devices. This is ludicrous…

  • summit1986

    “not all NFC phones can support Isis” They’ll probably block it from the GNex because VZW sucks.

  • UrDoGG

    I just want my cell phone carrier to be a big dumb pipe. Please stop with stuff like this. Leave software to the software companies.

  • Manny

    Limited Device Support.. Very common Term used in Android…

  • UndergroundWire

    Just the same, I will activate my Galaxy Nexus with a NFC SIM if it is part of the device list. I’ll still continue to use Google Wallet though.

  • HotRodJohnson

    Verizon, this is why you suck:
    You have gimped my phone for nearly a year keeping me from using it to it’s fullest potential.

    A year later, my device is not even on the list of approved devices for your alternative (and my never be).
    Even if my device appeared tomorrow, my city is not listed in the areas for use.
    This has got to be some of the most blatant BS ever. Unlock your hold on my damn phone. I swear, if you did not give me unlimited LTE, I would abandon you in a heart beat.

  • UndergroundWire

    NFC SIM? Does that mean the iPhone can potentially be a part of it?

    • JoshGroff

      Good question, also, the 5 doesn’t have NFC either, this chip might be why.

      • UndergroundWire

        I specifically left the 5 out. Mainly because I don’t know the location of the SIM card. Is it covered by aluminum? Will NFC work if covered by aluminum? But as I think about it. The iPhone 4 doesn’t have a SIM card (I think).

        • JoshGroff

          The 4 and 4S on Verizon shouldn’t have SIM slots.

          • UndergroundWire

            I own a Galaxy Nexus and an iPhone 4S from Verizon. Believe me, the 4S does have it.

          • JoshGroff

            That’s pro, I assume it has a GSM radio as well then.

          • UndergroundWire

            Yes it does.

        • kendokan

          The 5 SIM is so small there may not be room for a NFC chip on it.

    • Seems like any phone that accepts a SIM card can, yes.

      • UndergroundWire

        Yes but the problem with the iPhone 5 is the aluminum back. Will NFC work with that material?

        • Late reply but it shouldn’t be an issue I don’t think. With how close you have to get to the device to use NFC, it shouldn’t be a problem unless the design of the metal creates a sort of Faraday cage. Even then, you could probably just tap the SIM cover to the reader. I think those are plastic?

  • Brian Menius

    What are your thoughts on not all NFC devices being “Isis ready”?

    How convenient that you’d ask, Kellex. I think it’s as bogus as the day is long. Any NFC device is “Isis ready.” The distinction to be drawn here is that no device is anything-ready until Verizon puts their damn scarlet letter on it.

    The *ONLY* scenario where I can be okay with this is if they’re forcing NFC SIMs to enable the concurrent use of Wallet through the on-board NFC chip.

    Frankly, I’m more interested in Isis than Wallet, though I do currently have Wallet working on my phone. With Isis, my Freedom card should process just as it would if I swiped it myself. With Wallet, it doesn’t- and that’s a barrier to getting my rewards based on swipe activity.

    If Google could figure that part out, I could be just fine adopting a DILLIGAF attitude toward ISIS. Until then, my preference is Isis.

    • NexusPhan69

      My discovercard grabs the correct information from google wallet and I am correctly awarded points based on the category. I wonder why it doesn’t work for you. Could be a problem on Chase’s side. Not google.

      • Brian Menius

        Didn’t Discover come to a more solid agreement with Google for Wallet integration than other issuers, though?

        I tried a couple charges- they come through on the card as Google charges rather than merchant charges. As it’s not infinitely easier to pay by NFC than it is to pay by swipe, I’m not going out of my way to force the use of NFC payments. That said, I’m probably one of the biggest proponents of the idea that you’ll find- but I’m not going to use it just for the sake of using it if all the benefits aren’t there.

      • umataro42

        That would make sense considering Chase is supposed to be one of the partners behind Isis. I’ve read conflicting reports on whether or not the category cash back bonus would work using cards like Discover or Chase Freedom with Google Wallet.

    • Greyhame

      DILLIGAF?……processing……processing…..pro…ding! Nice.

  • MikeSaver

    why don’t they just use Google Wallet?

    • Because they can’t control it as tightly or make any money from it themselves.

  • mustbepbs

    What the ****? Seriously? This is their response to Google Wallet? Good luck.

  • Diablo81588

    What OS is that? Eclair? Lol..

  • ToddAwesome

    Hopefully it doesn’t screw my secure element like Wallet did.

    • IanKellogg

      i am not sure how you did that since I have dirty flashed many times without resetting google wallet. backed up and restored different roms and just about every no-no and have yet to have a problem. the worst that has happened is that it bitches about the secure element or doesn’t work at the terminal. A factory reset fixes everything.

      • ToddAwesome

        I was 100% stock and locked when it happened. I took a Wallet update, then tried to access Wallet, which was when the secure element error came up. Resets did nothing, Samsung wound up replacing the entire board under warranty. Google and Sumsung to this day have never agreed to who/what broke it. The good news is Sammy replaced it. I have not braved set foot back in the Wallet waters yet.

  • I don’t mind them isolating the guinea pigs to a particular model for starters. They’d be fools not to offer this on all the devices that already exist in potential customers hands at some point though. I don’t mind using Google Wallet exclusively until then.

    Sounds like a cool app though! I’m glad it is compatible with Google Wallet merchants.

  • Matthew Harmon

    Who cares, I just got my Google Wallet working again today on my VZW GNex, go screw Verizon.

    • Dtrainer

      Do share how!!

      • ddevito

        Why wouldn’t it work? Need to sideload? Mine works great too. Love it

        • Greyhame

          Haven’t I seen you post on how you borked GWallet by doing a device wipe, or something to that effect? Correct me if I’m wrong.

          • ddevito

            Ha. You’d be right. I certainly did. I do have insurance, so…

            I purposely wrecked an image install halfway through – causing it to get stuck at the Google boot screen. I called VZW, pretended the phone did it on its own, and got the phone replaced.

            Got GWallet working on my new phone. I was holding out for a fix but even Google themselves told me to get a new phone. Lesson learned.

          • summit1986

            Cheeky monkey… the only thing stopping me from doing the same is the deductible.

          • Greyhame

            Nice. So what was it, exactly, that borked wallet to begin with? Funny how Google told you to get a new one.

          • Matthew Harmon

            Not me, I’ve always reset wallet before doing any type of wipe or ROM. I’ve read different posts about the secure element being moved to the cloud, but to be safe I always reset.

        • Dtrainer

          I’ve side loading every single version. Still getting the “Add Card Failed” on multiple cards

          • Matthew Harmon

            Me too, that is what was happening with me. See my post above it you want to getting it working, Kind of a hassle, but works now.

          • Cracker Jack

            You have to have a good solid data connection and even then it takes a whole lot of time to setup. If it seems like it’s hanging it’s not. It could take a good 1/2 hour to initialize. Try setting up on a cellular only data connection. Sometimes it won’t work over WIFI. I found that setting up my Google Voice app on the phone only works on my cellular connection and not on WIFI. Once it’s setup then you are good to go.

        • umataro42

          A few weeks ago there was a mandatory update when trying to use Google Wallet, which would take you to the Play Store where Verizon had blocked it off again.

          But there’s a new APK you can sideload with the updates. You can also change a couple lines in your build.prop file, found in /System (read this on Androidforums):


          Those will make it seem like the GSM version. After making those changes, then restarting you can get the official version from the Play Store. After you get it, you can change it back to the original settings:

          • michael arazan

            I side loaded from xda the new update from a week ago and it would not recognize or approve my cc’s i put on to it and it always fails to load, but it still had a balance on my prepaid and that worked fine.
            Also my play account recognizes my cc’s just fine.

      • moelsen8

        just sideload it. actually think that’s the only way these days. newest one is always on xda (or in the comments here) shortly after it drops.

      • Matthew Harmon

        I loaded Bugless Beast ROM today and it loaded fine. I didn’t like Bugless Beast, so before I went back to AOKP, I took the wallet app (systemapps) and loaded to my dropbox, from there, sent it back down to my phone and used Root Explorer to load it back into systemapps and all started working. Not sure what .apk Bugless Beast is using, but it works. Can’t believe it.

        • Royal2000H

          Newest bugles beast is using the newest Google wallet apk. I know because I committed it into pete’s github 🙂

    • When did it stop?

  • moelsen8

    nfc sim cards? wow. they’re gonna muck this up just like they muck up everything else.

  • theentropic

    So when this goes live and supports the GNex, are we to assume that VZW will be forced to support Google Wallet as well?

    • wheineman

      Haha. You really think they will enable this for the GNex? I have a Gnex and I will not be holding my breath.

      • theentropic

        Oh, I totally don’t. I just figured if they enabled anything to do with NFC payments, they would be FORCED to enable Google Wallet.

        • JoshGroff

          Maybe after a class action lawsuit.

      • Got that right. I actually ran into an ISIS guy today and when I asked if it would be out for the gNex, he took a long pause and said they haven’t released an official list of phones yet. Leads me to believe the answer is not so much.

  • nightscout13

    NFC SIM? Stupid, so stupid.

    • Hunter


      Aren’t most SIM slots metal? therefore affecting transmission….

      • elemeno

        Not in the “Near-field”

    • kendokan

      NFC SIMs and/or SD cards can be used to add NFC to phones that don’t have it built-in.

      From http://www.nearfieldcommunication.org/sd-sim-cards.html:

      “For those who want to use near field communication technology but don’t currently have an NFC compatible smartphone, there are other ways to enable NFC on your phone without trading it in for an expensive new model. Both SIM and SD cards can be equipped with NFC chips, and some companies currently offer or are preparing to offer these options so more customers can start using NFC technology.”

      • moelsen8

        yes, that’s a plus for them doing it this way. unfortunately, most of verizon’s older phones don’t have sims. and i’m sure this is more about iron-fisted control than anything else.

        • kendokan

          All of Verizon’s LTE phones have SIMs, but not many have NFC. If you know another way to get NFC on my phone, I’d love to hear about it.

          • moelsen8

            I was also referring to non 4g devices. And theres NFC sdcards too.

      • JoshGroff

        This would explain why the iPhone 5 didn’t get NFC. One would think Apple would be privy to this type of knowledge.

    • ddevito

      Perhaps – but since NFC doesn’t require a long range to exchange data it might not be a bad idea.

      Also, not sure if (any) security will be set up, but if there is, like the GNex for example, and idiots like me bork it, I can easily replace the SIM rather than replacing the whole phone.

      So in a way it’s not bad.