Isis Mobile Wallet, Google Wallet’s competition, announced that it will be tested in two cities this summer: Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah. It has also listed all the vendors in those two cities that will accept Isis NFC payments, and the list of vendors is pretty big.
List of merchants:
National: Aéropostale, The Coca-Cola Company, Champs Sports, Dillard’s, Foot Locker, Jamba Juice and Macy’s.
Austin: 34th Street Café, ABC Home & Commercial Services, Austin Diamond District, Ben White Florist, Book People, Brodie Park Market, Chez Remy La Sandwicherie, Dogadillo, DoubleDave’s Pizzaworks, Downtown Burgers, Elbe Body, Iron Works, milk + honey spa, Rosemary’s Catering, Round Rock Express, Texenza Coffee, Touch of Sass, Twin Liquors and University Co-Op.
Salt Lake City: Barbacoa Mexican Grill, Bohme, Cactus and Tropicals, Caputo’s, Deseret Book, Eborn Books, Great Harvest Bread Company, JMR, Lola Bella, Maverik, McKay Diamonds, Mini’s Cupcakes, Oakridge Country Club – private club for members, PGi Services, Salt Lake Running Company, Sugar House Coffee, Supersonic Car Wash, Utah Transit Authority, Utah Woolen Mills, Weller Book Works, Zagg and The Larry H. Miller Group, including All-Star Catering, Energy Solutions Arena, Fanzz, Larry H. Miller Megaplex, Larry H. Miller Automotive, Miller Motorsports Park, Salt Lake Bees, Spring Mobile Ballpark and Utah Jazz.
Now for the important question: Does Google Wallet even stand a chance anymore? Only one card company supports it, only three phones have it (Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, and apparently the LG Optimus Elite on Virgin Mobile), only one major carrier supports it on only two of its own phones, and merchants have been slow to adopt it. Isis has major partnerships, the backing of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, and obviously can get merchant support en masse. If Isis launches for all NFC enabled phones, it may be very popular. AT&T’s Galaxy SII has NFC and is a wildly successful phone. If Isis launches for it, that’ll probably be bigger adoption than both the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus on Sprint combined.
Isis could be the real blossoming of NFC, while Google Wallet so far has been a failure (unfortunately, I’d much prefer Google’s solution over a carrier one). We can only hope it’ll work on rooted phones and custom ROMs, though that sounds like wishful thinking, knowing US carriers.