“Companies looking for innovative ways to engage with consumers, especially around mobile payments, should first and foremost focus on building solutions that are easy for all parties involved ̶ consumers, banks and merchants ̶ and that tap into a long-standing need in the marketplace,” Jeff Fagel writes for GigaOM. “In the case of Passbook, the problem I see is that it’s not layering anything new onto my iPhone experience. To the contrary, my question about Passbook is why I need it, when I already have all the apps I want on my smartphone.”

“Even at this early stage of its functionality, Passbook should be more than simply an aggregator of digital cards and instead offer something truly unique,” Fagel writes. “Currently, users must first download the brand’s mobile app (Starbucks, United Airlines, Sephora, and so on) and then connect the app into Passbook. Early users are finding this process confusing and duplicative, expressing frustration around the manual work needed to add different cards and services into Passbook, with limited return.”

Fagel writes, “Passbook then is at best a novelty at this point. While there’s certainly the possibility Apple will revamp the app wholesale, and in turn gain meaningful traction, I’m more inclined to put my money on the bet it’s [sic] destiny is to join poor Ping in the ignominious Apple Graveyard.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "GetMeOnTop " for the heads up.]