November 19, 2012

Getting and giving with Isis and AT&T

A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to beta-test a new app—Isis Mobile Wallet—for AT&T. The app is pretty much what it says—a mobile wallet. You can upload credit card information into the app, and, if you shop at a place that accepts Isis's "tap-and-go" payments, the funds are taken directly out of the account you choose to pay with. The app comes pre-loaded with an Isis Cash Card, which works like a Visa gift card and can be reloaded.

Because the app is only available for Android phones at the moment, I was given a brand-new Samsung Galaxy SIII to do my testing on. (Perfect timing, as the microphone on my iPhone 4 had recently crapped out.)

I was also given $125 to spend on whatever I wanted, provided I blogged about it afterward.

Free money? My first thought: Heck yes.

But I soon realized that I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to spend my money on. Isis is available at a variety of locations around Austin, both at large nationwide companies and small local shops. Another blogger in the program was planning a dinner party; yet another still was going to be buying holiday gifts. A week after getting everything set up, I went shopping with my mom—still without a solid idea of what to spend my money on—when walking through the clearance section of Macy's, a pair of shoes caught my eye:

Macy's, thankfully, is an Isis first-adopters. And, through the Isis app, I found that Macy's was offering an additional 10% discount on top of the clearance price. (Although the coupon didn't work during the initial charge, a helpful lady at the Customer Service counter was able to send my $5 refund back to the "card" in the app.) My first purchase was an easy decision.

As we talked about the other places in the area that accepted payments through the app, and my concerns about buying "interesting" things, Mom, brilliant lady that she is, suggested that I go to Whole Foods and spend some of my money on charitable causes (and some snacks). Pretty perfect for this time of year, don't you think?

In case you're curious, the charitable causes I supported are:

Here's a breakdown of how I spent my money:

I feel good about my purchases, on the whole, and I had fun getting to test Isis out. I feel like the app has promise, but until it's available for iOS devices (yes, I am going back), usable at more locations, and able to connect with more credit card brands, I don't know how much I will put it to use.

I'm writing up a review for Gadchick that goes a little more in-depth into the more tech-y aspects of the app; watch the blog for that post if you're interested. Also, you can learn more about Isis at

Disclaimer: I was contacted by M80 to write a blog post on behalf of AT&T. Per FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that, for my participation, I was given a Samsung Galaxy SIII mobile phone and $100 on a pre-paid gift card to spend at my discretion.


  1. i am interested in your take on the phone. i love my android and i'm thinking of getting the galaxy III when my upgrade rolls around. truly the only reason i ever think about going beck to the iphone is that i can find awesome cases a hell of a lot easier. ")

    1. It really boils down to personal preference, I think. It does pretty much the same things that an iPhone does, but it is different to use. A few reasons I prefer the iPhone, however:

      1. The Galaxy is a tad too large for my hands—it's hard to use it one-handed and doesn't fit well in pockets.
      2. It's too much like a little PC, what with stuff being filed into folders on the SD card. It's not as clean (?) of a UX as an iPhone.
      3. I've had it for less than a month now and I've had to restart it a few times to reboot the system.
      4. The idea of needing anti-virus software on my phone makes me nervous.
      5. I can't set up custom text tones for contacts. Silly, I know, but I like knowing who's texting me.

      I'll be totally honest and admit to the fact that I haven't really used it to the full extent of its abilities, but I feel like if it hasn't won me over yet, it's not really going to.

  2. I'm going to second the calls for an android vs iphone review. I'm considering a move from iphone to android, so I'd love to hear what's making you stay with your iphone.

    1. See above. :) I'd be happy to answer any specific questions if you have them! I'm such an "I either like it or I don't" type of person when it comes to electronics—I have a hard time doing actual, useful reviews.