The mobile wallet joint venture Isis founded by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless is in the process of changing their name to avoid confusion and mis-association with a militant group that has garnered much media attention of late, commonly referred to by the acronym ISIS.
Not to be confused with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group, the U.S. mobile wallet service Isis, backed by three major mobile network operators, is actively working on a new brand and name. Michael Abbott, Isis Mobile CEO, elaborated that even though the association between the mobile joint venture and the terrorist group is coincidental, the mobile wallet company has “no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence.”
Although the militant group was formed in 2004, it has changed names several times not being associated with the acronym ISIS until 2013 after expanding into Syria. It wasn’t until April, 2014 that ISIS was actively discussed in the mainstream U.S. media.
Meanwhile the Isis mobile wallet formed in late 2010, but had been slow to launch as a viable mobile payment platform. Two pilot markets were launched nearly two years later in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah. It wasn’t until November, 2013, a full three years after the joint venture formed, that the Isis mobile wallet was launched across the United States.
The Isis mobile wallet operates at the point-of-sale via Near Field Communication (NFC) and has partnered with issuers American Express, Chase and Wells Fargo. All other cards can be used to fund an American Express Serve prepaid account and be can accepted anywhere Isis and AmEx are accepted.
The Isis mobile wallet has announced information on the number of registered users, but not much in terms of payment and use. They have also extended $1 cash back incentives for using the mobile wallet with Serve through the end of this year, possibly indicating a need to recruit or retain more use of the mobile POS payment method. While the use of the name ISIS by a violent militant group is an unfortunate coincidence for the mobile wallet joint venture, the name change and rebranding effort may be coming at a good time.
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