Apple Passbook Not Quite A Mobile Wallet

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

An article about Apple Passbook describes the promise and troubles companies have been having in launching a true mobile wallet – storing information is easy, but making payments is more difficult.

From an Internet Retailer article:

Passbook is a mobile wallet that enables a consumer to store her loyalty cards, movie and event tickets, coupons, and promotions in a centralized location on her iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. The app senses time and location—through the device’s GPS technology—and automatically displays a ticket or an offer when and where the consumer needs it. It also can be used by retailers to deliver location-based offers when consumers OK location tracking.

That is all great in that it offers convenience to users and mobile marketing opportunities to companies, but the article points out one major flaw.

One thing a consumer can’t do with Passbook is pay. There was speculation that Apple’s new iPhone 5 might include Near Field Communication, or NFC, wireless networking technology, but it does not. NFC is a prime technology for enabling payments in the nascent mobile payments market. A consumer taps a smartphone with an embedded NFC chip against a checkout terminal with NFC functionality and a transaction is made between a mobile wallet and a store’s checkout system. If Passbook becomes widely used and Apple were to integrate it with NFC technology in a future iPhone, mobile payments could receive a big boost, industry observers say.

To be sure, Passbook has the ability to let consumers redeem offers, gift cards, and mobile coupons. Nonetheless, mobile wallets won’t truly compete with the analog versions until they allow users to do everything, including access cash, which the leather wallet does.

Click here to read more from Internet Retailer.

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