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ISIS — The Payments Consortium, not the Jihadists Group — Rebrands its mobile wallet as Softcard

ISIS WalletSo what’s in a name? The only time that anyone should use an acronym to describe a name is if it’s already well-accepted (FBI, CIA, IRS, etc), or if they are speaking to people who already understand their jargon (The DOD states that the NCO was abducted by UFOs and is now MIA). Or there’s always those obscure names that are so horribly long and complex that anything is better than trying to remember what it is, let alone trying to explain what it means so that others can adopt it. ISIS was one of those acronyms that almost nobody knew the meaning of to begin with.

We knew that it was a competitor to Google’s wallet, and everyone who liked NFC solutions was hoping that it would finally put mobile payments on the map of Consumer consciousness. But then along come ISIS, the infamous Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and suddenly ISIS becomes a dirty word, that only the Ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility would find sexy. So now we have something called SoftCard. Same idea, same obscurity in the public consciousness, just a different name.

To be clear, Softcard (née ISIS) still represents a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the mobile payment space, that was announced back on November 16, 2010. The system is based on near field communication (NFC) and allows users to pay by tapping their mobile device to a payment terminal. 4 years later, we’re all still waiting for NFC to finally take off as a boon to online payments systems…Despite the lingering public public fears, confusion and even ongoing paranoia about anything that relates to RFID.

Hopefully a much better name, that doesn’t sound like a cabal of Big Bankers and Telco companies, will do better than ISIS has. Because we’re all still waiting for the future to arrive, and it’s already been quite awhile…

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