Retailers may soon have access to yet another payment and loyalty card option with Apple releasing Passbook Monday at its Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.
Although there was a lot of speculation that Apple might announce its entrance into the mobile payment market, that didn't happen. Instead, Apple's Scott Forstall presented Passbook, a mobile wallet-type app (sans payment capabilities) that will be a part of iOS 6, the newest version of Apple's mobile operating system when it's released this fall, according to Mobile Payments Today.
Passbook, which Forstall demoed using the Starbucks mobile payment card, allows a user to store everything from tickets to boarding passes to loyalty cards all in one place. Anything that uses a barcode can be saved in the Passbook app, making it a convenient place for consumers to hold all the accounts that currently reside in their own mobile apps or on keychains, in wallets or in purses for those consumers who haven't yet gone digital.
Also, each account held in the Passbook app is live, so they're updated in real time just like they are in their native app form. For example, when a consumer makes a purchase using the Starbucks mobile payment app, the balance and rewards program reflect the purchase immediately.
The app also uses geofencing and time of day to alert users when they're near the location where a ticket or account is to be used. In addition to sending the alert, Passbook moves that account to the top of the app. In other words, not only does it hold an account and save a user from having to search for an app, it automatically brings the most relevant account to the top so it's easy to find.
Apple has not announced which retailers are partnering with it on the new app.
Read more about loyalty programs.