| May 4, 2011

Cellphone service providers scale back mobile payment plans

What was supposed to be a plan from the nation’s largest cellphone service providers to begin processing credit card debt has been cut significantly.

The proposed payment processing plan started by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless – known as Isis – will now no longer aspire to compete with major payment processing networks like Visa and MasterCard, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Instead, it will focus largely on becoming the same type of “mobile wallet,” in which consumers can store their payment information on a near-field communication-enabled smartphone, other companies are also developing.

It is believed that the change of plans was made because it was too difficult to establish a way for consumers to use their phones to make a payment, the report said.

“The carriers have to include MasterCard and Visa,” Drew Sievers, cofounder and chief executive of mFoundry, a leading provider of mobile banking technology, told the newspaper. “Not including the 800 pound gorillas of the industry will make it very hard to succeed.”

Many tech companies are now exploring similar systems that will allow them to profit from the expected mobile payment boom.

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