ISIS Mobile Wallet launched on T-Mobile and other carriers

For almost a year, an alternative to Google Wallet, ISIS has been in beta testing mode in a select few markets. It’s carrier sponsored, which certainly explains why some of the carriers weren’t always keen on Google’s offering. Regardless, ISIS is now out of beta and can be used by anyone, providing you have a compatible NFC-equipped phone.

A version of the app was released by each of the three sponsoring carriers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) and has been available to download for a little while. One of the major downsides is that you need to get hold of an “Advanced SIM” if you don’t have one already, and those don’t come free. There are a number of locations you can use it, certain Coca-Cola vending machines, T-Mobile, Office Depot, American Apparel among others. Hit this map to search for locations near you, see if it’s worth it.

To use the Isis Mobile Wallet™, you need two things:

• An ISIS READY® SMARTPHONE that uses NFC (near field communication) technology to send payment info at checkout.

Check here for the latest Isis Ready phones:

• A T-MOBILE ADVANCED SIM CARD that stores and protects your payment and other sensitive Wallet information.

Hit the Google Play Store for more information, or to download it. Early ratings are pretty bad, and that’s across all carriers’ versions of the app. Pointless perhaps? Or will you be using this regularly?

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  • 21stNow

    I might try it just to try it, but I am a Google Wallet fan and have no complaints about it.

  • kalel33

    The wording of “alternative” to Google Wallet indicates that customers have a second choice, when in fact, the carriers blocked Google Wallet from even being found/used. ISIS is not an alternative, it’s a requirement if you want to use your phone as a payment method.

    • Chris

      Not for long! 4.4 devices will be able to use Google Wallet regardless of what carriers say. Finally!

  • Chimphappyhour

    Coke machines, BP’s, CVS, Office Depot and an AT&T store. All useless locations for me. Thanks for saving me whatever premium they’re charging for these SIM cards. Which is odd that they are charging for them since ISIS is essentially a money grab on their part to get in on transaction fees.

    • Deadeye37

      They have a lot of other locations – basically anywhere that takes wireless payments (as long as you’re not using an Amex Serve account). But this is totally a money grab by the wireless carriers. Why else would they restrict all other wireless payment methods besides their own?

      • Chimphappyhour

        I checked the local map they have posted and that’s all that came up.

        • Deadeye37

          Same with me. However, I was able to use ISIS at other wireless terminals that weren’t listed on the map. It is hit or miss though, depending on which wireless payment provider network(s) the merchant is using.

  • Deadeye37

    I used to like ISIS. They had a lot of great deals at a lot of places around me (free smoothies from Jamba Juice, $1 drinks at Beans & Brew, free rides on public transit, matinee prices at the movie theater, etc). Using ISIS was quite simple and I liked using it better than pulling out my wallet and swiping my card.

    The big problem is that to used to have a reloadable cash card that you could load funds onto and then use ISIS. They have gotten rid of that card and instead have gone to using Amex’s Serve. So, now if you want to pay with ISIS, you have to get either an Amex or select Chase cards, or an Amex Serve account. If you opt to get the Amex serve account so that you can load funds from your own cards/accounts, you will be limited to only using your funds at pay stations that link to Amex’s network (which most wireless payment stations don’t).

    So, ISIS is only for the big boys who want to partner up with the mobile carriers (IE Amex and Chase). It is a huge money grab for that whole group. Personally, I can’t wait until I get Kit Kat on my phone (or root) and get Google Wallet. While I won’t have all the cool deals that ISIS has, at least I don’t have to go and get a Chase or Amex card and have the hassle of trying to keep track of another card (+monthly fees) just for the sake of wireless payments.

    I would love to see the whole ISIS venture crash and burn because of how limited the carriers are making it to allow us users to use our phones to make payments with. They shouldn’t be confining us to exclusively using their service so that they can maximize their profits off of us.

  • Herb

    If you’re a customer, most T-Mobile stores will give you a SIM for free.

    • TheVorlon


      Most of the time they want to charge you $20.

      • Deadeye37

        They’ll give you this SIM for free. It gets them money since they get some $$$ from the transaction fees.

    • scuttlefield

      Yes. I always get new SIMs for free at T-Mobile. But this is an Advanced SIM. I believe it includes extra security features and I wouldn’t be surprised if they charge for it.

      • Danny Lewis

        I received an ISIS SIM for free, but I had concerns about my current SIM.

  • Rico

    Doesn’t work with S3 non-LTE. Going to stick to the Google Wallet Installer for rooted devices.

    • Deadeye37

      It worked just fine on my S3 non-LTE. You just have to get the right SIM card. However, if your phone is rooted, I would just stick with Google Wallet unless you want to open an Amex or Chase card.

  • Brad

    Well since my phone is rooted the app will not work. Should put that bit of info in the article

    • Danny Lewis

      On my Nexus 5, since I believe they are emulating the secure element now, or something, I do not get the message about Wallet not being supported on my device.

  • BlackJu

    No support for WP yet, but that’s to be expected. Shame because most WP8 devices have NFC on board, minus 520/521.

  • Drew

    Can I use Google Wallet and Isis at the same time on my Nexus 4? Only interested in Isis for the additional deals/discounts that might be offered.

    • 21stNow

      Not on the Nexus 4, since the secure element from the ISIS SIM card blocks the secure element in the Nexus 4. You can use ISIS with the ISIS SIM card, or Google Wallet with a non-ISIS SIM card, but not both at the same time.

      • KlausWillSeeYouNow

        REALLY?! I didn’t know that! You mean Google Wallet won’t function with an ISIS SIM card? :-O

        Rethinking whether I should get an ISIS SIM now…

        • 21stNow

          Not for now. Apparently, Kit Kat will bring the ability to use Google Wallet without using the phone’s secure element. I don’t know how this will work.

          The T-Mobile rep told me that they would charge for the ISIS SIM if I came back for it later. It was included in my Note 3 purchase, so I don’t know what will really happen if you just walk in and ask for one.

        • KlausWillSeeYouNow

          Thanks so much.

      • KlausWillSeeYouNow

        Also, do you happen to know if obtaining one from T-Mobile is free? I’d be interested in doing so, provided there was little/no cost involved and I wasn’t forced out of GW…

        Also, if it matters, I’m running an LG Optimus G Pro (E980h, international version).

    • Steve

      I didn’t even see the N4 on the approved list of devices

  • Worthless ISIS

    ISIS is a miserable joke that will crash and burn in flames. It will go down in history as a monopolistic, repressive initiative that was put forth by greedy carriers as a money grab. Oh and it doesn’t even work, rendering it worthless. I’ll stick with Google Wallet, thank you.

    • KlausWillSeeYouNow

      How do you get Google Wallet to work? I have an LG Optimus G Pro that is supposed to work (unlocked, international firmware, no carrier influence) but I don’t know what to do when I go to Rite Aid and use the PayPass terminal. :-P

      • Danny Lewis

        1. Install Wallet and set it up.
        2. Look for the logo on the terminal that accepts NFC.
        3. Wake your device and touch it to the terminal.
        4. ???
        5. Debit.

        • mistermix

          I’ve been using Google Wallet for 2 years. My experience is that you should wait until the transaction has been tallied and they want you to swipe your card. If you swipe early you’ll have to swipe again.

  • $15454173

    Driver Carries No Cash. ISIS Glitch Got It All.

  • steveb944

    Long live Google Wallet!

  • Jon

    If T-Mobile didn’t block wallet on my device I may have given Isis a chance but my response to ISIS and Their plans F%^$ you….

    • FILA

      no longer blocked on KitKat on any carrier!!

      • Adrayven

        True, many articles I’ve been reading have been implying is wrong to or can’t use Google Wallet or other alternatives.. Carriers CANT legally block alternatives.. They’d be in an Anti-Trust quicker than spit if they did.. but they can make it difficult.. they are certainly not shy about trying to make it a pain to use anything but their own.

        • kalel33

          Carriers have been and can block Google Wallet. There have been filings with the FCC to complain about it but FCC hasn’t done a thing.

  • FILA

    Google Wallet is much better, Been using it for over a year.

  • Adrayven

    The one advantage is that ISIS provides an NFC case for the iPhone.. so iPhone users CAN get NFC.. question is, could this be used by Google for Google Wallet or other NFC based wallets that are installed on an iPhone? Anyone know?

    I personally don’t like the aggressive stance of the carriers trying to dictate if Google Wallet or another alternative wallet is installed on a cell phone.. Stinks anti-trust.

    • MerikC

      Sadly, T-Mobile doesn’t support Isis Mobile Wallet for the iPhone…well, at least not yet. Stated on their website: “T-Mobile supports Isis Mobile Wallet on Android phones only.”

      • Ogog

        Why would apple doesn’t even NFC their always behind. Wait another two years. You’ll get there lol…

  • Susan Hugus

    I am disappointed with the control over what card you can use and the few places one can use ISIS. I really liked Google Wallet and was sorry when I lost the ability to use it. Google Wallet was easy to use, and I seemed to be able to use at a lot of places.

    • rod


  • troysyx

    I would try isis if the carriers didn’t force it on people and try to completely block out Google Wallet. Thanks to unlocked phones, I’ll keep my Google Wallet thank you very much. (and the help of kit kat of course when it comes)

  • Encino Stan

    Local news (WOAI radio, San Antonio, TX) had a story on ISIS launch this morning. They said that it was a AT&T product. No mention of T-Mobile or Verizon. (Although, this is the former home of SBC.)

  • oryan_dunn

    Wonder how long until the update for my Amaze 4G that was promised to work with ISIS? ……..
    HAHAHAHAAHAHA…. breathe….. hahahaahahah

  • northrode

    On principle, I will never use ISIS. If I were given a choice, I would have certainly tried it. Right now, I can install the fully functional google wallet (with NFC) if I so choose.

    • WW

      What principle? Why would you have tried it but no longer?

      • northrode

        I like having the option to use Isis or gooogle wallet. Given the choice, I certainly would have tried both (honestly, though, google seems to offer greater flexibility). I do not appreciate the carriers collaborating to block google wallet and promoting Isis with its fewer options (I understand that with kitkat that block should be a thing of the past). It is my phone and should be my choice.

        • WW

          Agreed…I’m liable to give ISIS a try though, as long as I don’t have to pay (for a secure SIM or other additional out of pocket) but prefer the freedom to choose which services I want to use.

  • Trevnerdio

    Still as useless as ever.

  • Rod

    Won’t run on rooted phones, requires a special sim, limited card support, limited phone support, and a crash prone craptastic app thats accepted in less places than GWallet = FAIL. Nice try carriers, but don’t try again.

    • WW

      I’m highly value oriented and won’t be shelling out $ for the privilege of using ISIS but since it has nearly universal support from carriers, it’ll likely have a similar growth pattern to Android mobile OS (though I don’t think it’ll become the dominant player that quickly). They’ll have to support more cards (TexasGreat noted only AmEx and Chase card support) like GWallet (I think it’s reloadable and supports all cards (I’ve tried multiple MC & Visa; no AmEx or Discover or others).

      I’m looking forward to the day I can thin down my wallet by taking credit cards out.

  • TexasGreat

    At one time, I used ISIS every day. Then they stopped their loadable account. You needed a AMEX card, or be a Chase Bank customer to continue using ISIS. Since I wasn’t a Chase Bank customer, I purchased a pre-loadable AMEX card. To my surprise, it doesn’t work with that kind!

    I ended up retuning my Note3, and getting a 32gb Nexus 5. I love my Google Wallet!

  • Caffeine

    I have a Nexus 5….
    Whats this “Advanced SIM”
    Do I really need one or is it some scheme to get $10 out of me?

  • Garret Hussak

    Not sure where everyone is seeing that you have to pay for the Advanced SIM, but, newer phones (some S4s, LG G2s, etc. come with them). My HTC One didn’t, but I walked into a couple of T-Mobile stores (one didn’t have them) and they were more than willing to give it out at no cost.

    Now, that said, the adoption by CC companies is awful and the app itself is even worse. Definitely not an alternative to Google Wallet.

  • ianken

    Not compatible with stock nexus 5.

    What a joke.

    It’s a union of the two most hated industries: cellular and banksters. It’ll be a cold day in hell before I bank with those crooks at Chase.

  • tomarone

    Not compatible with windows phones???At any rate it should be boycotted on stupidity alone.

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