Shopping with my cell phone: AT&T Isis app review

I hate fumbling through my wallet with Lil’ J in tow, trying to find my credit cards, coupons, etc. So when I was approached by AT&T to review the mobil wallet–Isis. I was intrigued.

The first thought that came to mind when I was learning about it was “is it secure?” They assure me it is, with an additional passcode to access the app, and easy account freezing if my phone were to get lost or stolen (just one phone call).

I’ve had my wallet stolen more times than my phone, so it’s actually less scary to think of them being together that way.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work on the iPhone just yet, so I’m trying out the app on a Samsung Galaxy SIII. They got me all set up at the AT&T store but then I failed as I tried it myself.

The app lists stores it works at. Funny enough, the two cities it’s available in are Salt Late City (where we often visit, and moved from) and our current town of Austin.

The directory lists stores like Finish Line, Jamba Juice (yum!), Dillard’s, JP Penny’s, Champs Sports, Whole Foods, and more. It also lists coupons you can redeem at those places. One that stuck out to me was Coke vending machines. You can get a free drink! Why not? I saw one that accepts Isis at the mall but I couldn’t get it to work.


I tried and tried but nothing happened. Meanwhile Lil’ J is yelling “my drink, my drink!!” and pointing to the machine, while it didn’t work. Our Fanzz store, while on the list of stores, didn’t have a way to pay using the device. Then, after the vending machine incident I was too afraid to make a large purchase and it not work. So we left the mall, my husband a bit disappointed that he didn’t get any athletic wear, and I got the number for Isis support.

Luckily they’re there 24/7 and a nice man helped me figure out what I was doing wrong. I was holding my phone perpendicular to the payment pad when the phone should have been flat against it.



We tried again at the University Co-Op and it worked! While I’m not a huge Longhorns fan just yet, I did get a cute ornament for our Christmas tree, and my husband got the sports attire of his dreams (this was his reward for not vocally complaining during our family Christmas photo session).

Things I like about ISIS so far:

1. It’s easy and convenient. I always have my phone on me, and so long as it’s got battery power, it would be cool to just skip credit cards from now on.

2. The deals and coupons are easy to access. I know there are coupon apps and coupons in the paper but I don’t have time to seek everything out. It’s nice that I can see “buy one Jamba Juice, get one free” in the same screen I’m using to pay for my fruit smoothie.

3. Their customer support is top notch. I told the guy I was chatting with I’d call him back if it didn’t work and he called ME back later that day to make sure I got it worked out. I can’t say a company has ever done that for me before. I love that they’re always available too.

4. You can use a pre-loadable card (which is what I’m using on it) instead of your own credit cards, if you’re worried about security. You can re-load it with MoneyPaks or Paypal.

Things I think ISIS could improve on:

1. Locations it’s available. I know the app is still fairly new so this is bound to come, but I’d love to see it in stores like HEB, Walmart, restaurants. Basically all the places I like to shop. You know those little wireless payment things you can wave your credit card in front of? That’s what Isis uses, so I assume it would be an easy upgrade for many of these places.

2. How to use it isn’t exactly intuitive… At least not to me. You enable the app, then you can pay, simple as that, but I felt like there should be another button/step in the process. haha. Not that they need to make it more complicated. Where I was screwing it up was how I was holding it, maybe if there was a photo of how to position the phone, and a reminder to hold it until it beeps–it would have been easier. Of course, now that I’ve figured it out, it won’t be a problem for me anymore. It’s like riding a bike.

3. Get it on the iPhone! I think this could be in the works, and I sure hope so because while I love the app, I have a love affair with iOS and Droid does not like me.

Overall, I’m really liking Isis. I’ve still got a little bit of money on my pre-loaded card so I want to take Lil’ J to Book People and find some fun Christmas and big sister books to bring home. I also want to go back and challenge the vending machine. I’ll let you know how it goes!

*AT&T provided me with a phone Isis works on and MoneyPak card. Opinions expressed are my own.

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  1. I absolutely love apps that make my life easier and quicker like this one. Looks extremely cool but alas I an an iPhone user 🙁 I hope they come out with an upgraded version that supports ISO soon because I would definitely use it

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