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Abbott acknowledged the move will take time to catch on, but said the industry is serious about making mobile payments the future of purchasing transactions.

“This isn’t a science fair. This is three carriers across multiple platforms,” he said. “It’s a transition. It’s an evolution.

“If you look back 10 years ago and wanted to get a phone with a camera, you might be able to find one. Today, you can’t buy a phone without a camera,” he added, noting NFC technology will also soon be standard.

AT&T’s Mark Siegel said the companies expect the program to eventually expand nationwide, much like how text messaging became wildly popular once cell phone companies began allowing messaging between different carriers.

“So what happened after that is text messaging exploded and really started to grow,” Siegel said. “That’s kind of similar to what’s happening now with Isis.”

The industry has been talking about including NFC technology in phones for years, largely to do just what Isis is proposing, turn them into “electronic wallets.” But beyond a few trials, not much has come to fruition except in places like Japan where a similar technology is in place and most cell phones are equipped with the needed chips.

It works like this: A consumer attaches a specific account to their cell phone _ a credit card or a checking account, for instance _ and simply swipes it for purchases or to board trains or buses and the charge is automatically pushed through and paid.

Still, Golvin said it will be a long transition on the path to persuading people they simply don’t need to carry their wallets anymore.

“Consumer behavior changes slowly,” he said, noting it took “decades” for debit and credit card use to overtake cash and checks. “It will certainly be a slow build, but they have to start somewhere.”