With the unveiling of the Apple iOS 6, the most stunning upgrade of all is the Passbook.
Earmarked with classic Apple “gee whiz” factors, the Passbook may soon take the place of the consumer’s wallet. This brilliantly geofenced application allows users to save and store electronic versions of tickets, boarding passes and merchant cards which appear on the lock screen when nearing a vendor’s vicinity. This takes away the need to fumble and search for the right app. Payment information is there, waiting on the screen, ready to use. Simple, yet brilliant – like most Apple innovations. Ideas like the Passbook may soon revolutionize the way people make purchases all over the world.
Not to say Apple invented the idea of mobile payments. Truly, Google was the first to test the idea of mobile payments; however, consumers were slow to embrace it due to glitches, hang-ups, and a sparse list of vendors.
Passbook’s introduction, however, convinces me that mobile payments may soon become as regular as sliding a Visa or MasterCard.
In case you are not convinced, Wal-Mart and Target, as well as a dozen other major retailers, are working at a break-neck pace to develop apps for payment in their stores. The hope is to draw younger shoppers and building brand loyalty.
Major companies vying to find a place at the top of the payment food chain is great news – particularly for those who view cell phones as an extension of their bodies. However, the transition period may be a bit shaky.
In my mind, for mobile payment to become the regular thing, the process must occur as quickly and conveniently as sliding a credit card. People won’t relish searching through a tangle of retailer apps to pay for a purchase. This takes the convenience right out of the transaction. For mobile to become the new “black” in retail payments, it will have to offer more convenience than a credit or debit card.
For this reason, I believe the iOS 6 Passbook is a ground-breaking innovation. Its acceptance will establish mobile payment as an integral part of the American payment tray. The geofencing of the Passbook is absolutely inspired: another example of Apple’s genius for meeting the needs of consumers, before they even realize them.
If Apple can align itself with major corporations such as Wal-Mart and Target, it may be well on its way to becoming the payment platform of choice.
What do you think about the future of mobile payments? Please leave us a comment, we’d love to know your thoughts!