Isis releases Utah mobile payments usage stats

Active users are now paying with Isis five or more times a week, says Jim Stapleton, the NFC payments platform’s chief sales officer. “Consumers actually only need to know about the passcode, and you kind of have a mental ‘Oh!’ right there as they realize their leather wallet does not have a passcode,” he explained.

Isis's Jim Stapleton
STAPLETON: “It’s still early days”

Isis has provided the first figures on how consumers in the pilot cities of Salt Lake City and Austin are making use of the new technology.

Active users are paying with Isis five or more times a week, Jim Stapleton, chief sales officer for Isis, revealed during a conference call for the media at last week’s Smart Card Alliance Payments Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Customers of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, the three Isis partners, can sign up for the service at any of the carriers’ 200 stores in the two cities, he explained. New users receive a US$10 credit on sign-up plus a further $15 credit when they link their Isis mobile wallet to a funding source. They can then use their NFC mobile phone to make payments at any of some 10,000 merchant locations in Utah and Austin that are equipped to handle contactless payments, including Salt Lake City’s Utah Transit Authority.

“It’s still early days,” Stapleton explained. “We launched October 22nd, so we’re just a little over ninety days into the pilot.”

In terms of consumer willingness to take on the product, however, “despite the fact that it’s new, innovative, and nothing like what they’ve ever experienced, it’s been quite good.”

“The fact that it’s free, it’s provided by the brands they trust in terms of the handset technology, both in terms of the manufacturers and the carriers themselves, and that they can load the cards from the banks they trust — American Express, Chase and Capital One — drives a really good adoption rate, and activation rate in the stores.”

“What we’re seeing is once they leave the store, they’re also engaging with those merchants… Greater than 65% of them are following merchants. The average consumer in the early days of our pilot is following approximately five different merchants.”

“For those consumers engaged in the offer and the loyalty aspects, they actually end up frequenting those merchants twice as often as they used to”.

“Consumers actually only need to know about the passcode, and you kind of have a mental ‘Oh!’ right there as they realize their leather wallet does not have a passcode,” Stapleton added.

“Talking to the merchants about accepting mobile payments, well we’re finding that they’re actually seeing great synergies here because as they’re upgrading their technology to support EMV they’re also doing contact and contactless… If you look at a merchant, they want a seven-year payback on that equipment, they don’t want to be touching it again any time soon, and so for them they’re future-proofing their investment and you know folks like Verifone and others are deploying technology that meets all those future needs in a single package that makes it a one-time implementation”.

“We picked Salt Lake City in no small part due to the fact that the Utah Transit Authority had already implemented open loop contactless across their entire system, their light rail, commuter rail and bus” Stapleton added.

“What that means for the consumers that are engaging in the Isis mobile wallet for the first time here in Salt Lake City is that they can actually use their phone to tap on and tap off every one of the vehicles in the Transit Authority system.” Many of them use it every day to go to and from work, he added. “That’s four taps a day, tapping on and tapping off on the way to and from, and for them and for the consumer, that means convenience.”

“We’ve used their vehicles as an advertising platform to drive awareness and adoption around the Isis mobile wallet both on and inside of each of the vehicles,” he added. “We’ve also introduced a free ride promotion that we’ve just extended through March 2013 that allows the early adopters in our early days here to be able to ride the entire system for free.”

“It’s been a really good collaboration both with the governmental authorities here in Salt Lake City as well as Utah Transit Authority and we would absolutely seek to do the same as we expand nationally.”

Utah Transit Authority’s Jerry Benson also spoke at the event. Mobile, Benson said, is a “great new way to get a payment device in everybody’s hands.” Since the launch of mobile payments acceptance, the UTA has seen contactless transactions increase from 400 to 1,000 per day, and still growing, he revealed.

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