How local businesses and Apple’s Passbook could deliver an unbeatable iWallet

“Mobile payment technologies have an interesting and complicated relationship with local businesses. On the one hand, local mom-and-pop restaurants, shops, and services are probably the companies that you’d expect to adopt new payment technologies the slowest – particularly if those technologies require new point of sale hardware like an NFC reader,” Ryan Faas reports for Cult of Mac. “On the other hand, mobile payment systems could be poised to deliver a new wave of business to such local companies.”

“Then there’s all the NFC-oriented partnerships going on around the world between banks, mobile carriers, and device makers. You also have location and industry-specific options like Tabbedout. And you have organizations like Amtrak delivering their own apps and related payment systems,” Faas reports. “With this much fragmentation, it’s easy to see why Apple is hanging back from lunching an iWallet.”

Faas reports, “The company is actually being very smart with its Passbook app. Passbook is a great tool for small and local businesses. It also offers Apple a way to build relationships with mom-and-pop companies. Once it has done so, Apple could easily expand those relationships and offer mobile payment services pretty quickly… All before its competitors realize what’s happening.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
The death of cash; paying by iPhone about to become a way of life – July 9, 2012
Don’t overlook Apple’s new Passbook or you might miss the future of payments – June 12, 2012
Apple granted U.S. patent for all-new iWallet credit system architecture – June 5, 2012
Inside Apple’s secret plan to kill the cash register – May 19, 2012
Apple’s iWallet: The one that will rule the world – March 21, 2012
Apple’s new iWallet patent hints at new killer app – March 9, 2012
Apple wins major U.S. ‘iWallet’ patent; the one that may one day ‘rule the world’ – March 6, 2012
Apple invents ingenious security system for the iWallet era – January 9, 2012
Apple patent app describes future iOS devices communicating with parking meters, doors, cash registers and much more – September 22, 2011


  1. Why do mom and pop stores need a fancy POS system anymore when you can just use an Iphone or Ipad to do the whole process pit a card scanner case around the phone or in the earphone jack, locked cash drawer. Done! Now just imagine NFC touch iphone to iphone done.

    1. Apple won’t use NFC, it has tens of millions of Bluetooth 4.0 equipped mobile devices already in place. It will take NFC far to long to hit the critical mass required to make the ‘standard’. Beyond that NFC requires specialized hardware (cost center), that Bluetooth will not.

      NFC is DOA.

      1. You know, I think you’re on to something. I think I’ve been reading a lot of articles touting NFC as a POS device and how Android will blow Apple away with its use of NFC wallets.

        But I think you’ve hit the nail on the head in that BT is so much less expensive to implement at the cash register and is already standard on many mobile devices beyond even Apple’s.

        This looks like classic Apple: Taking its time to observe, to figure out the best option, to explore the best engineering designs, and to eventually market something that both customers and retailers would find easy and inexpensive to use.

  2. When it comes to new technologies, Apple’s practice is to make various pieces of it available as either a stand alone product, or as a feature in something else. In this way they familiarize the buying public passively, preparing them for the launch of something entirely “new”.

    Apple’s iWallet has been used in its own Stores (in various technology/configurations) for some time. When the kinks are finally worked out the iWallet Apple will release it, along with a vibrant ecosystem to support. Many will adopt it simply because of Apple’s reputation for developing products that work, are easy to use, and look smart. Many more will try Apple’s solution simply because the solution they are using is cumbersome and doesn’t work reliably.

    Bottom line is that within two or three years after entering the market, Apple’s iWallet will dominate its sector.

    It will be just another aspect of the ecosystem that Apple has built. An ecosystem where everything just works, does it seamlessly with all other Apple products, and increases the collective value of the whole.

    1. And with all of those small & medium businesses using it, Apple is another step closer to offering search/Siri ad services like AdWords. The difference is AdWords can only track conversions for online payments, Apple will track conversions at bricks & morter transactions too.

  3. I’ve been waiting a long time for Apple to release a fully-functioning, simple, comprehensive warehouse-to-counter/online POS system and I think it’s now taking shape. A number of mac-based POS systems are out there but nothing is really head & shoulders above MS-based systems. This might be where Apple takes over Main Street as THE in-store system of choice – and that market is HUGE!

  4. Apple doesn’t even need Bluetooth. Just look at the Starbucks app — almost all small and local businesses have a bar code reader. Just have the iPhone generate a specific bar code for your debit card, credit card, gift card, etc. and scan your iPhone. No need for the business to buy any new hardware, because most of them don’t have Bluetooth right now anyway. Plus, this avoids having to add NFC chips to an iPhone (and taking up valuable battery space), plus deal with changes in technology, legacy operability, and the various software programs undoubtedly being developed or in place for NFC thus far.

  5. An attraction for me is to have receipts for everything I’ve purchased in one place. Well, maybe two places as I’ll also use a business account.

  6. Problem is bar code scanning from an iPhone screen doesn’t work with a lot of bar code scanners, especially the omni-directional type used in supermarkets, because the iPhone’s screen is too reflective. UK supermarkets like Tesco and Sainaburys initially offered a bar code in their app that could be used as your loyalty card, but then removed this feature because the barcodes couldn’t be reliably scanned.

    1. Dont need barcodes anyway. If the merchant has an Apple system as their POS, or tied into their POS, there’s no need for NFC or scanning. The App talks to the server/cloud, it sends a message which says “this guy here paid for the thing you’re both staring at in the counter”, and the sale is done.

  7. I want Apple to start getting involved in banking. They’ve got the money, the technology and most importantly they’ve got the ethics to be a truly amazing financial institution.

    Get rid of our current crop of shitty banks and have The Bank of Apple™

    1. Agreed. When I pay I tap the category of the transaction and it now not only pays through me, but awesomely enables accounting by mere mortals. I’ll be able to set monthly limits on eating out, gym, coffee, presents, etc and I’ll be able to monitor how I’m doing to stay in budget. And it’ll just work, without much from me. That’s when I bid usaa adieu for banking. Seriously, has banking changed at all in decades? Ripe for disruption, I say.

  8. A full functioning iWallet is going to happen in the future. They’re being smart about it now: testing the mobile market industry by first introducing Passbook. Eventually, when consumers accept it, then I think they’ll start adding more payment features so that Passbook would be a digital wallet.

    I’ve written an article about how Passbook could impact other e-wallets. I would appreciate any feedback.

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