ISIS terror group could be the last straw for struggling mobile payments firm Isis


Despite having the backing of mobile giants AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, the Isis Wallet ranked as the least-used mobile payments option in a Yankee Group report earlier this year. Then came ISIS, a group behind terrorist acts in Iraq and Syria that achieved global infamy in recent months.

The chief executive of Isis mobile payments, Michael Abbott, blogged on July 7 that a new name for the service was in the works in response to the rise of the militant group. But there’s been no announcement so far.

“We are taking taking efforts to rebrand as quickly as possible,” an Isis Wallet spokesperson said in an email. “We’re preparing to roll out the new name very soon.”

Isis—a competitor to PayPal’s mobile payments, Google Wallet, and Boston’s LevelUp—offers an app that lets users to pay for items with their mobile phones and earn loyalty rewards at accepting merchants.

For the record, the terror group ISIS, which stood for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has changed its own name, shortening it to “the Islamic State.” But many continue to use—and many more will remember—the group’s previous name, creating a lingering problem for Isis Wallet.

In an email today, Yankee Group senior analyst Jordan McKee said that if the Isis Wallet “doesn’t pair a new strategy with its new branding, its days will be numbered.”

“It really should be using this unfortunate branding blunder as the opportune time to reconsider its approach to the market,” McKee said.

In a recent post (paywall), McKee noted that the Isis Wallet has struggled to catch on—and clearly faces bigger issues than its name. The Isis system ideally runs using special terminals that must be bought by merchants, which hasn’t been popular, and just a few card issuers have signed on, according to the Yankee Group report.

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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