NFC Action is Heating Up—Who Wins? Consumers!

David Egger is Lead Marketing Manager for AT&T’s IRU (Individual Responsibility User) Mobility Programs. You can find more blog content from David and other experts on emerging technologies and mobile application on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

When I last wrote about NFC (Near Field Communication) the technology was in its absolute infancy and was little more than a dream for a boy holding his wallet and phone, wishing they could merge.  Fast forward less than a year and we have two functioning NFC systems live in the United States, and devices arriving with the capability to take full advantage.

Google Wallet was the first out of the gate with a limited solution.  Google Wallet works with Citi Mastercard PayPass only at this time.  It is also only available on the Nexus S device.  It integrates with the Google Offers deals platform.

Right now the other big player is ISIS, a platform collaborated on between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to bring NFC to the mainstream.  This Summer we can expect to see a wide range of devices supporting ISIS, and the pilot that is currently ongoing in Austin and Salt Lake City already has support for multiple credit cards.  ISIS also integrates a wide range of loyalty programs, enabling you to combine the functionality of a mobile wallet app and an app like CardStar.

Check out this video to see how ISIS works…

Another video hosted on the ISIS site does a great job of demonstrating why NFC is going to be a great new technology for consumers.  We keep our phones close at hand all the time, waiting for new messages, Facebook likes and tweets, this makes it the perfect platform to deploy mobile payments to.  While tech like Mastercard PayPass adds security and speed to a checkout, I’ve saved little time as a consumer by tapping a card that I had to pull out of my wallet versus swiping it.  Simply pull out the phone, tap it against the machine and you’re good to go.

To break a consumer habit, you have to give them a reason.  For me, these reasons are security, integrated loyalty programs and deals.  ISIS appears to be hitting all three. only Time will tell whether Google Wallet, ISIS or an unreleased platform wins this race.

Have you used Google Wallet or ISIS on your device?  What was your experience like? We look forward to hearing from you.