After delays, the mobile payment system Isis is supposedly set to launch in two test cities on Oct. 22.
The lucky trial sites are Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas.
The mobile wallet system is a joint venture backed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless and hopes to help spread NFC-based purchasing and get the three carriers in on the growing e-commerce action, predominately led by Google Wallet.
Isis itself can be used to store virtual versions of users' credit cards in mobile phones as well as loyalty cards and coupons for promotions.
Article continues below
Also part of the package is a prepaid Isis Cash Card which can be automatically reloaded.
When the trial launches, users in the guinea pig cities can also purchase music and movies from the Google Play Store via their Isis accounts.
Isis was originally slated to start testings by the end of the summer, but developers were still "checking items off the punch list."
An image from T-Mobile's internal messaging portal for employees provided the tipoff that the experiment is about to begin.
Since Isis is still a pilot program, there are plenty of restrictions. For now, it's limited to specific Android devices including the Samsung Galaxy S II.
It also needs an Isis compatible NFC-SIM card, which users can obtain in the participating regions.
While rooted Android devices won't be able to participate in the trial - a restriction most likely due to security concerns - newer smarthphones from the three carriers should be Isis-ready if this run-through proves a success.
Money in the (virtual) bank
With the restrictions come rewards. T-Mobile is reportedly giving everyone who activates Isis a $10 bonus. An additional $15 will be awarded to those who switch their Isis cards to its "reloadable" status.
Verizon is also supposedly mirroring T-Mo's rewards structure.
Also, since the Droid Incredible will be the official "Isis ready" device, anyone who purchases the phone from Oct. 22 to Nov. 20 in the trial cities will receive a $50 Pre-Paid Visa card.
Those looking to cash in on the offer will need to activate Isis and get a rebate for the card.
Isis reportedly works with hundreds of merchants in Salt Lake and Austin and will be compatible with any participating stores that have Visa PayWave, MasterCard Paypass, Discover Zip, American Express and Google Wallet.
And if things go well, Isis has deals cooking with four major payment networks such as JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, American Express and BarclayCard.
If Isis gets past these initial trial stages, it has leading digital wallet competitor, Google Wallet, waiting to take it on. But three major carriers backing it up should help make up for Mountain View's year-long late start.
Via The Verge