This week, some new plans for mobile payment options were announced, paving the way for consumers to be able to ditch the plastic in their wallets and pay for purchases using a mobile wallet feature on their cell phones.

Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard have joined the Isis alliance to allow their cards to be included in the Isis Mobile Wallet. Isis is a mobile commerce joint venture between AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. The Isis Mobile Wallet combines payment, coupon redemption and loyalty programs into a feature located on a cell phone.

Consumers who hold eligible Chase, Capital One or Barclaycards will be able to load them into the mobile wallet on their phones, tapping the phones at merchants for payment, all without showing their card account information. The card issuing companies will tailor their brands within the wallet so that cardholders will be able to have the same relationship with their card, whether or not it's the actual physical card, or a mobile version. 

"Mobile commerce is more than a new way to pay; it's about extending the relationships consumers enjoy with their banks and merchants into a powerful and convenient new form factor," says Michael Abbott, CEO of Isis, in a statement.

"Chase is committed to making mobile commerce a reality," says Richard Quigley, president, Chase Card Services. "By working with Isis, we are excited to help pave the way for innovation in the mobile payments space and to provide card members with a secure option for easier and faster payments on the go."

Isis has been working on its mobile wallet product for over a year. Last July it announced it had established relationships with the four main U.S. payment networks: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover, allowing banks to choose the type of network payment card they wanted to add to the wallet.

Isis will launch a pilot of its mobile wallet in mid-2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas. Then it will plan to roll out the service to the rest of the country. Visa has also developed a service that lets banks and mobile network operators link and download payment account information to NFC-enabled smartphones. This technology, developed with Oberthur Technologies, provides Visa with the ability to deliver its payWave contactless payment system and applications "over the air" to an NFC-enabled smartphone.

"In the same way we have enabled the secure provisioning of payment cards for decades, we are now using mobile technology to securely provision mobile payment accounts over the air," says Bill Gajda, head of mobile products, Visa, Inc., in a statement. "Financial institutions, mobile network operators, and even transit operators now have a simple, secure process to activate payment applications at scale and make mobile payments part of everyday life for consumers around the world."

For consumers, this technology will allow them to use Visa and non-Visa payment capabilities, loyalty programs or public transit payment applications on their phone. The flexibility of the Visa technology also lets consumers purchase products remotely. In the case of mass transit, someone who's planning a trip to another city could purchase a bus or train pass from that city's public transportation system.

Visa also has a partnership with Vodafone to offer mobile payments through Visa payWave to Vodafone customers. This service will initially be available this year only in select European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and the UK, but it will eventually be expanded to include the 30-plus countries in five continents that make up Vodafone's customer base.

One of the things holding back mobile payments is that not many handsets that have the capability to incorporate mobile wallets are available on the market. Phones need to have Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology in order to enable payment features. Handset manufacturers are working on bringing those types of phones to the market or offering SD cards that have NFC technology on them.