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First, what is Isis? Isis is a mobile payment system akin to Google Wallet (you can read more about it here In what seems a rare partnership Verizon, AT&T and T-mobile have also worked with merchants and credit card providers to build this NFC payment network.

I’m lucky enough to live in one of the two test markets, and have been waiting for Isis to be implemented since my carrier “kindly” blocked Google Wallet from working on my phone while they developed Isis. As a side note, I completely disagree with the blocking move. I absolutely understand why they would want to help (ensure) the success of the platform they have invested, no doubt, large sums of money. However, I also believe in options. The best option should be the one to succeed, not simply because it was the ONLY option allowed.

So, while I have had NFC capabilities on my GS3 I have not been able to take advantage of them until now. I picked up my new secure SIM card on day one of the launch. The phone techs were surprised to have asking for it (even though they had a large Isis display in their lobby). At 2 PM “You are the first person who has been in here asking for it” they told me.

I immediately began the set up. I’d actually started everything the night before; loaded the app and signed up for Isis online. After a few verification steps and the few hours it took to receive confirmations Isis was running. I have since only been able to use it twice as the network is still small and options to pay with my phone are not as abundant as I wish they were. Still, I love the idea and convenience of paying with my phone.

There’s another drawback to Isis. There are limited cards available to load into the system. Right now, you can use the Isis Card, Chase, and American Express Cards.  Capital One Cards are coming soon, but this still doesn’t include most of the cards I own. I would love to slim down my wallet.

Isis also offers the ability to save loyalty cards, but since every merchant has their own loyalty card the few options available here are even less helpful than the number of credit card options available.

There are also benefits with Isis. The Isis card can be turned into a reloadable debit card. For doing that and singing up for Isis they loaded mine with $25. Free money! Also, making it reloadable means I can transfer money from my bank to the Isis Card. Yeah, it’s another card/account to keep track off, but that’s a small price to pay for the convenience of being able to pay with my phone.

I can’t wait for the card options to grow as well as the number of available merchants. Until then, I am using my phone to pay whenever and where ever I can.

Anyone else lucky enough to live in a test market? Anyone else using Isis? Thoughts? Likes? Dislikes? Comparisons to Google Wallet if you have been able to use both?