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AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile Bet Big On Mobile Payments 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the happily-looking-for-ways-to-make-us-spend-money dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Bloomberg reports that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile USA will be dumping over $100 million into developing their mobile payment system, Isis, in an effort to battle back against Google Wallet. 'Isis aims to get ahead of its rivals by relying on its carrier partners' existing distribution network and customer relationships. Phones set up for Isis service are expected to be available at carrier stores in the trial cities. ... The carriers could potentially preinstall Isis software onto their phones, making it easier to use. They also may push handset manufacturers to adopt Isis software.'"
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AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile Bet Big On Mobile Payments

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  • Figures (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:09AM (#37241820)

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see that the carriers are going to be sticking their dicks into this one. I wonder what surcharges and fees will be associated with this. I also wonder what handset and device restrictions will be imposed as a result of this.

    • by vlueboy (1799360)

      Back when the airline industry's faced a similar rite of passage (at the dawn of online-transaction awareness in early 2000) we WON and distributors lost economically. Commissions used to encourage individual travel agents to sell tickets, and people had to physically show up at a local agency to get accurate quotes and close an airplane ticket sale.

      But that reseller industry was crushed and the mom-and-pop travel agencies all over the US either closed down, or became cellphone stores, or some tax-prep / cy

      • by PTBarnum (233319)

        Ah yes. I remember the bad old days when an actual human agent was digging through databases on my behalf. Obviously it is much better to dig around in a bunch of databases myself. If nothing else, my old travel agent never figured out how to play advertisements over the phone when I was talking with her, so I'm sure I missed out on many exciting opportunities to discover new things I needed to buy.

        FWIW, my transactions were almost always by phone and US mail, with no visit to an office necessary.

    • Isis is said to listen to the prayers of the wealthy power brokers, while acting like a friend to the working people and poor. Sounds like a very apropos name.

    • At first it will be "UNLIMITED TRANSACTIONS" that are included with your plan. As it starts to take off, your next contract will have a 25 cent per transaction fee, but you'll be able to buy blocks of transactions at $5/300, $10/700, $20/unlimited. There will be a disclaimer at the bottom of your bill that although you may have transactions remaining does not guarantee that you will have funds available.

      Of course I'm just making this up.
  • by DriedClexler (814907) on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:12AM (#37241846)

    Please don't laugh, but that is one hope for being able to cut down on transaction fees, lower the barriers to starting escrow services, and get rid of unnecessary middlemen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jawnn (445279)
      Dream on.
      No, seriously. Dream on, and stop trying to convince the world how great B**coin is. It's not and we're tired of hearing about.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Really? Please explain what's not great about it for the rest of us. I tend to agree with the OP, even though I'm a latecomer to Bitcoin. I think it's absolutely brilliant.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        I think he highlights the important part - not bitcoin specific, but that alternate payment methods are going to be needed because this stuff done by the carriers is just retarded.

        What solution exists? Nothing great at the moment.

    • I'm trying not to laugh but it's starting to hurt.

      Like that high school friend I had that made a hilarious joke about breast cancer, for months I had to work hard to hold it every time somebody brought up breast cancer...damn him...

    • by goombah99 (560566)

      Oh Bitcoin Kenobi, you are my only hope.

    • Hang on, is "guffaw" a subset of "laugh"? Need an answer soonish so I can determine my options.
    • Please don't laugh

      That does seem to be the strategy driving bitcoin. You hear about it one time: you laugh hysterically. You hear about it more, you stop laughing and start pointing out what's wrong with it. You hear about it even more and you just ignore it, and then hopefully the rubes will invest in it, and the people pushing it can cash out right before the thing collapses.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dagger2 (1177377)

        and then hopefully the rubes will invest in it, and the people pushing it can cash out right before the thing collapses.

        And this is where the entire of Slashdot fails.

        Bitcoin is not something to "invest" in. It's a payment system. You use it to get money from A to B, without the involvement of such trusted middle-men as Paypal [wikimedia.org].

        When you say "collapses", I presume you refer to the exchange rate between BTC and USD. This is completely irrelevant to anybody using it as a payment system. All it means is that, in order to send $10 to someone, you'll have to send 100 BTC instead of 1 BTC. The actual number of BTC involved is utterl

        • When you say "collapses", I presume you refer to the exchange rate between BTC and USD. This is completely irrelevant to anybody using it as a payment system. All it means is that, in order to send $10 to someone, you'll have to send 100 BTC instead of 1 BTC. The actual number of BTC involved is utterly unimportant.

          That makes more sense than I gave it credit. Good form, my apologies for jumping on the bash wagon.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    so they have enough money to dump into this, but yet they were so cash strapped they had to seek bailouts and bandwidth caps???

  • by MrL0G1C (867445) on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:13AM (#37241856) Journal
    What happens if you lose your phone? - If I lose my visa card, it's hard to use with the chip+pin in UK these days.
    • I assume they would also have PIN codes for the mobile payments. However, the reference to Visa is interesting to me. As evil as Visa and Mastercard are, if any companies can make them look good, it's AT&T and Verizon. ugh.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      what happens if you lose your wallet? Is there a pin protecting your cash?
      • Re:No Thanks (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MrL0G1C (867445) on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:39AM (#37242220) Journal
        I can only lose the cash I carry which is usually not much unlike the potential dangers with this mobile payment system - would you even have to lose your phone - it could possibly be hacked via bluetooth etc without even leaving your pocket!! Visa is covered against theft - are mobile payments?
    • by cultiv8 (1660093)
      Right there with you. All this will lead to is higher CC transaction fees, which businesses will pay and will eventually be passed down to the consumer.
    • by Kenja (541830)
      Not really true anymore I fear. I have at least one card with "swipe to pay" via a RFID chip in the plastic. Now I wont be on the hook for any unauthorized transactions, but someone could just wave the card over the reader at checkout and be done with it. No signature or pin needed.
      • by MrL0G1C (867445)

        I have at least one card with "swipe to pay" via a RFID chip in the plastic.

        I'd break & bin that straight away, you're just asking to be robbed if you carry that.

        • by vlm (69642)

          I have at least one card with "swipe to pay" via a RFID chip in the plastic.

          I'd break & bin that straight away, you're just asking to be robbed if you carry that.

          That's a little extreme... I have a card like that. Once I realized the danger, I leave it at home and use it exclusively for online transactions...

          Its hilarious, how they invested billions in infrastructure to make it easier to spend in person, which made it so dangerous to use, that I now exclusively use that card for online purchases... maybe not so hilarious, knowing that I'm paying those billions out of my fee and interest payments...

          • by cdrguru (88047)

            You need to understand that getting your credit card number "borrowed" has virtually zero risk associated with it. If you use it at all, you are going to get it copied down by someone sooner or later. You can sell them in bunches if you have enough - something like $50 for 100 good, fresh numbers with expiration date, CVV2 and sometimes the billing zip code.

            I get a credit card borrowed in this fashion at least once a year and it has never cost me a dime. Most people I know either do not use credit cards

        • by bberens (965711)
          I don't go out of my way to protect the bank. All of my cards have a Visa/Mastercard/Amex logo on them, which means all the liability is on the issuing banks, not on me. If someone robs the bank (via my credit/debit card) it's no skin off my back and a phone call + signature is all it takes to get it off my statements.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well if it's anything like the other nfc systems, like the one in use in uk.. first you open your lock-code protected phone, then you fire up an application on the phone, type in your pin and let it sit on the reader. it's much more of a hassle than just sticking your visa into the reader. yeehaw for progress! and before that you've used your internet banking to load up cash on the account tied to it, easy huh?

    • by sitkill (893183)
      disclosure: I work in this industry. There are two major ways that are there to mitigate the risk when you lose your phone. 1. You (in most NFC platforms) have to sign in, or enter a pin before you can buy anything with your mobile wallet/card. 2. If you do lose your phone, many of the platforms will have binary encrypted sms's that they can send to your phone to remotely erase your cards. Now when you compare that with your credit card, this offers a much more secure way to disable any type of transactio
  • by cos(0) (455098)

    No mention of Sprint in the article... I wonder who'll end up winning from this.

  • I LOL'd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by itchythebear (2198688) on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:21AM (#37241974)

    Isis aims to get ahead of its rivals by relying on its ... customer relationships.

    Yup, because most people have a great relationship with their mobile providers right?

    Additionally I'm not so sure I want these people [blogspot.com] responsible for my "virtual wallet".

    • by MBCook (132727)
      My first though was one word: "cramming."
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Additionally I'm not so sure I want these people [blogspot.com] responsible for my "virtual wallet"

      At least Sony isn't involved... yet.

    • by Old97 (1341297)
      Spot on. I hate my carrier. I don't like the carrier I'll be moving to in October, but their reception is much better. There is no way in hell I'd want them providing me this service. I want something portable across devices and carriers and run by a regulated financial services company.
    • If i was going to be shoved headfirst into a single payment system, I would rather have it be Amazon.com. They already have my credit card number anyway, and I trust them more than Google or a phone company. They could just pass the payment on to whatever store I was buying from.
    • by xero314 (722674)
      I have a good relationship with my mobile provider. Been with them for over ten years and never had a problem that was not resolved to my satisfaction. I have had them wipe out hundreds of dollars in legitimate charges simply because I have asked and since I have been a customer for so long. Mind you that will all be for naught if the FTC decides to let my carrier be absorbed into the monstrosity that is AT&T.
  • So basically it sounds like the phone cartel is using every bit of their power derived from the oligopoly to exclude Google. Go free market!

    • by sitkill (893183)
      Well,

      It's not just the phone market. This is actually a good example of a free market. Google is doing it's thing. The carriers are desperately doing it's own. Apple will come out swinging with their own NFC platform. RIM as well. And then there are big big hitters from card processors that basically have full blown out platforms already in production. There are so many players, it's actually nice to see such a huge possible market being fought by every single company.
  • by milbournosphere (1273186) on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:30AM (#37242090)
    Hello Customer, we've noticed that you've gone over your allotted five (5) mobile payments for this month. As such, you have been charged an overage fee that very nearly approaches the amount of your monthly bill. In order to continue using this services without being raped by overage charges, you'll have to purchase the $armAndALeg mobile plan, which allows you another 20 purchases. Remember, we appreciate your business. Now, bend over.

    -- AT&T&T(Mo) Customer Service

    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      Actually, on the payments page, AT&T says you may be limited in the number of payments that can be made in a 24-hour period, so the legalese is already there!

  • $ wget --quiet -O - http://rss.slashdot.org/Slashdot/slashdot [slashdot.org] | grep title | grep "Bet Big On Mobile Payments" AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile Bet Big On Mobile Payments What's with the & ? Stop doing that, please!
  • fuck the name of 'Isis', which was quite a benign goddess and a cult back from late egyptian into roman times. to boot, they used the name for a payment system. the most rabid corporations that are out there to boot.
  • Ever get a strange charge on your phone bill? Ever try to get it reversed? Yeah, good luck with that. For all their problems, I'll stick with bank credit / debit cards for payments.

    • by xero314 (722674)

      Ever get a strange charge on your phone bill? Ever try to get it reversed?

      Yes on both accounts, and never had an issue getting them reversed. Even after admitting that they were legitimate charges but I just didn't feel it was reasonable. My banks have also been fairly decent about this, until recently. I the last year I would say I would much rather dispute a charge with a cell phone provider than a bank.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:43AM (#37242268)

    Folks, the rush towards mobile payments is a gold mine for marketers and other creepy advertising types. Bank cards may be electronic but they aren't the equivalent of a primary key. Bank cards might be tied to a name and unique number but the information is quite fragmented across multiple systems in tables which can't be joined.

    A mobile payments system tied to a phone number which follows somebody for decades does have a suitable primary key. Everything you buy will be part of a giant telco database, sold to the highest bidder.

    What's more, large retailers will also have your phone number or device ID as the primary key for you in their own databases.

    Nerds should have the understanding to realize that this push towards anti-privacy has been engineered by megacorporations and plutocrats for their benefit, not ours. We should be able to understand the pitfalls. Why do we embrace something designed in their favor, not ours?

    Mobile payments were designed to make their sales pitches to you more convenient. Your shopping experience is a secondary concern. They're counting on herd-like neophiles to sign up for even more intrusive marketing.

    The same understanding which drives us to run AdBlock Plus and Noscript should lead us to avoid this intrusive garbage, lest we end up like tagged cattle.

    So many of the world's sustainability problems are the result of 150dB of advertising noise blaring orders at us to spend money we don't have on things we don't need. I love technology as much as the next Slashdotter, but more is not always better. I'd argue that a society free of advertising and mindless consumerism is more advanced than one with the spiffiest gadgets.

    Mobile payments are like a superglobal loyalty card.

    One loyalty card to rule them all.

    • Mobile payments are like a superglobal loyalty card.

      One loyalty card to rule them all.

      Aw come on, you can choose between US Alliance and Team Advantage! :-P

      I don't use any of this crap. Not curated computing devices, not social networking, and I don't see myself using this either.

      But, not even all geeks avoid these things, and geeks are a small minority.

    • A mobile payments system tied to a phone number which follows somebody for decades does have a suitable primary key. Everything you buy will be part of a giant telco database, sold to the highest bidder.

      Use a google voice number for calls/texts, and change carriers/phones/real phone numbers as often as you choose.

  • ....anyone who trusts this type of "technology" enough to open up their banking and CC spaces deserves the account cleansing they will ultimately receive. This is facebook for your bank accounts. Good luck with all that there.....
  • I like new technology as much as anyone, but I can carry a drivers license, a credit/ATM card, and some cash in a small card holder. This package is thin, light, requires no batteries, can be dropped, can be immersed in water, and can perform almost any financial transaction short of buying a house. I had a credit card with blink (lets you tap the card reader to pay), but hardly used it. It is just as easy to swipe a card, now that many transactions do not require a signature. I choose my payment method ba
  • I pay for all in person transactions in cash, credit card for online purchases. I don't see how there can be any advantage to replacing my current method of payment in either scenario with anything else. Even if phone companies weren't evil, I don't see any advantage.
  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orgasmatron (8103) on Monday August 29, 2011 @12:29PM (#37242892)

    Anyone remember how badly the phone companies fucked pretty much everyone back in the days when they were willing to act as billing agents for anyone and everyone that was willing to claim that callers intended to pay for things via their phone bill?

    Remember how much fun it was when the phone company automatically took the vendor's side because they only got paid for successful payments? They threatened to cut off your phone service and send your bill to collections, unless you could prove that you didn't authorize the payment.

    Remember the delight of the offshore scammers when they realized that the phone companies were essentially acting as willing accomplices, and they started making "mistakes" knowing full well that many people would just pay up rather than try to fight the phone company?

    If the only food in the world was being sold by someone that only took payments through this system, I would rather starve to death than give that power back to the phone companies.

    • by cvtan (752695)
      Wait. Don't they still do this? A few months ago I got a charge on my land line from a place called "CompuFix" for fake telephone computer support services. It was not just for $12.95, it was for $12.95 per month. So I called Frontier and had the charge removed. The next bill came and I was charged $2.95 for the privilege of not being robbed. So I called again and received a complex explanation of p-lists and 3rd party charges, but they removed the charge. Do I really have to go over the bill every
  • Sketchy merchants backed up by the full force of collection of super sized phone companies: What could possibly go wrong?
    • "What's that charge on the bill? I don't know, you'll have to take that up with the merchant. We are just required to perform the billing function. Oh by the way, you'd better pay or else we'll have to send it to our collections department with negative credit implications. Have a nice day. Thank you for calling SuperCo Wireless."
  • Now I get to pay for the privilege of using their platform to give them my money.
  • To be totally honest, I don't really care that much about mobile payment, or buying anything with my cellphone. I don't plan to do so, and would object if they suddenly decide to try and force such a service on me.

    But then again, when I purchased my cellphone and my service, I was purchasing a phone. Which is what I own. I do not have a smartphone, an iPhone, an Android, or any of the recent offerings. I have no interest in being able to read my email wherever I am, could care less about texting, alr

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