What do a militant group and a mobile wallet have in common?

July 7, 2014, 10:02 PM UTC
An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) riding in a captured vehicle left behind by Iraqi security forces at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province. A major offensive spearheaded by ISIL but also involving supporters of executed dictator Saddam Hussein has overrun all of one province and chunks of three others since it was launched on June 9. AFP PHOTO / HO / WELAYAT SALAHUDDIN === RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / WELAYAT SALAHUDDIN" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS FROM ALTERNATIVE SOURCES, AFP IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DIGITAL ALTERATIONS TO THE PICTURE'S EDITORIAL CONTENT, DATE AND LOCATION WHICH CANNOT BE INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED ===-/AFP/Getty Images
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When a product has the same four-letter name as an Islamic militant group known for its violence against civilians, it’s probably best to change the name fast. And that’s exactly what Isis, the mobile wallet platform supported by AT&T (ATT), T-Mobile (TMUS) and Verizon (VZ), is doing.

In order to avoid any confusion with ISIS, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the company said on Monday that it is rebranding. Although CEO Michael Abott said his company doesn’t have a replacement name yet, one will be on the way in the “coming months” as the “journey progresses.”

The platform, which comes with a free app for iOS and Android devices, allows consumers use credits cards such as American Express, Chase and Wells Fargo using their phone. The company was founded in 2010, but faces stiff competition from Google (GOOG) Wallet, among others. In general, though, the idea for mobile wallets hasn’t exactly taken of. Notably, Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone doesn’t support the NFC chip used to pay with the app, which has hurt its potential reach.

“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,” the company stated in a blog post on Monday. The post continued, “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.”

For the record, Isis is a fairly common name used throughout the millennia. There was Isis, the ancient Egyptian goddess, several rock and roll bands that named Isis and the Bob Dylan song Isis. No word on whether any rebranding is on the horizon for those.

“Changing a brand is never easy,” Abbott said before emphasizing that the company “knows this is the right decision.”


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