The telco-operated Isis mobile payments initiative plans to rebrand to avoid carrying the same name as a Middle Eastern militant group referred to as "ISIS" by western journalists.
"Recently, we have observed with growing concern a militant group, whose name, when translated into English, is Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — often referenced by the acronym ISIS," Isis CEO Michael Abbott wrote July 7 on the mobile wallet's website. The ISIS militant group has been linked to sectarian violence against civilians and government forces in Iraq and Syria.
"However coincidental, we have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence and our hearts go out to those who are suffering. As a company, we have made the decision to rebrand," Abbott wrote on Isis' site.
The Isis mobile wallet is actively working on a new brand, and will release more information in the coming months, Abbott wrote. The mobile payment company's formal name is JVL Ventures LLC.
"Changing a brand is never easy, but we know this is the right decision — for our company, our partners and our customers," Abbott wrote.
The AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon-led Isis mobile wallet recently distributed a survey to consumers to measure awareness of the Middle Eastern group. At the time, Jim Van Dyke, founder and CEO of Javelin Strategy & Research, said there would be pressure on the Isis mobile wallet to change its brand, adding he "could not imagine" the payments company would continue to use its name.
"This could play in the company's favor if they similarly embrace the truth head-on in order to keep a sense of reality and gain a sense of trust with their audience through the inevitable uncertain and rocky times ahead," Van Dyke said on July 7 in an email to PaymentsSource, an American Banker sister publication.
Some of the survey's questions tried to determine how big the militant ISIS group ranks in the consumer's overall awareness of world issues. Isis did not release survey results or answer additional questions when contacted by PaymentsSource.