Apple has always been a leader in its field. Its ability to revolutionize the way we listen to music, the way we use our mobile phones, and the way we browse the Internet is what makes Apple the brand of technology. Passbook, a new mobile wallet app for iOS6 devices, is just another one of Apple’s creations that may well rival credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard.
Passbook stores all your tickets, coupons, cards, and passes into one user-friendly app. Consumers can easily navigate through each category of pass and locate it with ease. A scan of the 2D barcode on the pass will allow for people to use it for its intended purpose. On the contrary, Passbook doesn’t support credit card transactions, so each pass is used based on the fact that it has already been previously purchased.
Apple’s 400 million credit card account base from individual iTune’s accounts is not a number to ignore. Google Wallet, Microsoft Wallet, or any credit card company would fight for such a large client base that Apple already has. The opportunity for Apple to use this and tie it into Passbook would be monumental. Passbook currently uses QR codes to store information on its passes, but if Apple adopted NFC technology and welcomed credit card transactions, consumers will soon be purchasing meals, clothing, and groceries from their phones.
Apple’s dominance in global markets could even enable them to elude credit card companies and develop its own online payment scheme. Apple could make it enticing for users: those who choose to implement Apple’s system could receive discounts. Working with banks would be possible as well. After all, banks wouldn’t turn down Apple as a partner to build a payment system with. It’s a win win.
The question is, is Apple actually going to come up with their own payments system? Surely by doing so, they wouldn’t have to incur costs with credit card companies like Visa or MasterCard, and the Apple brand could be further propelled in restaurants and outlets. From this, even Apple branded point-of-sale systems could be created, generating a whole new line of hardware for Apple to create and distribute. However, the complex nature of financial regulations in terms of credit card systems is an obstacle for Apple to overcome. Convincing all 400 million of its credit-card base consumers to trust Apple in handling transactions is also another challenge, but one that isn’t impossible.
For now, Passbook is a testing ground to mobile payments. Once it is officially released, we’ll then know whether Passbook is accepted amongst businesses and consumers as a digital pass storage hub. If it is in fact accepted, Apple could gradually introduce more features including payments, which would lead to Apple being just that much more dominant in the mobile payment market.
Paul Tomes invites you to use the PassKit API for free at http://PassK.it. You can experience Passbook for yourself by downloading sample passes onto your iOS6 iPhone. You can push updates to the lockscreen using the PassKit API. And you can even create, design, and distribute your very own Pass using the API.
To access the PassK.it API now simply visit http://PassK.it and download the free Starbucks sample pass.