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First look: Using Passbook at an Apple Store to buy iTunes & App Store credit

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Apple on Thursday began offering customers in the U.S. and elsewhere the ability to replenish their iTunes Store credit through its Passbook digital wallet application for iPhone when visiting an Apple Store. AppleInsider offers a first look at how it works.




From any location, users can launch the iTunes Store or App Store application on their iPhone, then scroll to the bottom of the main page and choose to "Redeem" a gift card. At the bottom of that page is an iTunes Pass image that invites users to "Get Started."

Users must then sign in and go through a few pages explaining how the process works. Apple's description reads:

"Easily add to your account balance using Passbook at Apple Retail Stores. Add an iTunes pass, then present it to a Specialist and indicate the amount you'd like to add to your balance."

Once users select the "Add iTunes Pass to Passbook" link, a new iTunes "Store Card" will be added to their Passbook application. It includes a balance, iTunes ID (with the email address partially censored), and a QR code that an Apple Store employee can scan to complete the transaction.

Users can set their purchase to any amount, and are not required to buy preset amounts of credit for the iTunes Store.




Like other items in Passbook, the Apple "Store Card" can have automatic updates enabled, and it also has the ability to automatically show up on a user's lock screen when they arrive at an Apple Store.

The terms and conditions noted for us at an American store that the Passbook item was valid only on the U.S. iTunes Store. We did attempt to log in to an Israeli iTunes account, but the system wouldn't allow it.

After the desired purchase has been configured, a customer can visit an Apple retail location with their newly created Pass. A store employee can then scan the code with their point-of-sale iPhone, and then uses the customer's credit card (or cash) to add money to the account.

While this method of buying iTunes and App Store credit isn't as convenient as simply having a credit card tied to your account that can be used to automatically make purchases, this new method might be more convenient for iTunes customers who rely on gift cards for their account.
post #2 of 19
So unless I'm missing something here I have to drive down to my local Apple store, set this all up on Passbook, and then I can add money to my Passbook app to make putchases on the store.

Explain to me the convienance of this as opposed to just using my credit card.
post #3 of 19
Huh? Why would I need to go to a store to add money to my iTunes account? Is this just for people without credit cards?
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

So unless I'm missing something here I have to drive down to my local Apple store, set this all up on Passbook, and then I can add money to my Passbook app to make putchases on the store.

Explain to me the convienance of this as opposed to just using my credit card.

Might be good for teenagers, but otherwise yeah it's pretty much useless.

post #5 of 19
I think it's mainly for kids who have cash or someone who doesn't have a credit card . But it's does suck have to do it an apple store . I guess they could just go buy a gift card from anywhere it seems like nowadays with there cash then add it to their account but yes hard to fully understand the relevance
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

So unless I'm missing something here I have to drive down to my local Apple store, set this all up on Passbook, and then I can add money to my Passbook app to make putchases on the store.

Explain to me the convienance of this as opposed to just using my credit card.

 

There actually are people who don't have credit cards, believe it or not.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

There actually are people who don't have credit cards, believe it or not.
Obviously but then why not buy a Gift Card? Hell go to a CoinStar machine. Why drive all the way down to an Apple Store and go through the rigmarole of setting all this up? I fail to see how this is useful or convenient to anybody.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post


Obviously but then why not buy a Gift Card? Hell go to a CoinStar machine. Why drive all the way down to an Apple Store and go through the rigmarole of setting all this up? I fail to see how this is useful or convenient to anybody.

 

Obviously it's something that customers have been asking for, otherwise why would they do it?

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

Obviously but then why not buy a Gift Card? Hell go to a CoinStar machine. Why drive all the way down to an Apple Store and go through the rigmarole of setting all this up? I fail to see how this is useful or convenient to anybody.

 

This is probably the first step towards exactly what you suggest. Go to a CoinStar machine or 7-11 and they scan your Passbook and you add money.

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by konqerror View Post
 

 

This is probably the first step towards exactly what you suggest. Go to a CoinStar machine or 7-11 and they scan your Passbook and you add money.

 

Once that is set up apple would save a heap by not having to print all those plastic cards which just go to landfill. I agree it is inconvenient at the moment but in the future if I could refill my credit by just having my screen scanned at whichever shop I am in, that would be nice.

post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

There actually are people who don't have credit cards, believe it or not.



And people who choose to use them carefully, instead of hundreds of times/month for every pack of gum or RedBull. People should look up their Axciom profile to see why this is a bad idea. Oh yeah, you can't see most of it, only marketers willing to pay to see your every move and purchase can do that.

Anyway, I'd rather respond in agreement to your post than bash the others who don't understand the downsides of credit card mania.

Benefits:

1) Filling an account with gift cards means that you never, ever have to care about dealing with stolen/hacked account. Absolute worst case is that you lose $15 or whatever is in your account. Worst case with a tied credit card is that you have to deal with the disgusting mess of getting a new card, repairing your credit or even your identity. Yes, it's rare by percentages, but happens all the time.

2) Solely using gift cards means you can use an iDevice without being tied to your real-world person and tracked around like a dog. Amazingly cool for the few people that do it. Yes, this means no cell data, but really, other than when you're in your car, most of us are within wifi range most of the day/night. If you're not that lucky, oh well, you can always tie into the cell data plans.

3) As mentioned above, this plan and gift cards in general are clearly a benefit to kids and others who are not able to use or own credit cards.

All this said, I don't see a significant benefit to this program over just stepping into your local drug store or grocery store, buying a gift card and adding the value to your account. It's easier for most people than driving to an Apple Store. This new scheme does allow for arbitrary amounts, but that's really not such a big deal.

So why is Apple doing this?

I believe this is another step along Apple's path of slowly testing various aspects of a market (in this case, financial transactions) before jumping in with both feet. It's a common MO of Apple, and this is clearly an area of interest. There aren't a lot of new areas that Apple can move into that can really move the needle, but if anyone can wrest control of the electronic financial transactions market away from the current CC oligopoly, there's a virtual gold mine waiting. Think about a future where you could tie your bank account (or cash) directly to your phone without requiring a credit card intermediary. Right now Apple takes their cut and the CC companies take their cut as well. That's one too many middle-men, and I don't think that model will continue indefinitely. I don't think it will change soon, as Apple is happy to take their time and get things right, but I do think big changes are coming eventually.
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No Matte == No Sale :-(
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post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

So unless I'm missing something here I have to drive down to my local Apple store, set this all up on Passbook, and then I can add money to my Passbook app to make putchases on the store.

Explain to me the convienance of this as opposed to just using my credit card.

To make purchases online at the iTunes/Mac App/iBooks Store!

post #13 of 19

I don't think this will be very popular in Australia because, quite often, one of the big 3rd party electronics chains (not Apple Stores) will have iTunes Gift Cards on special (e.g. 10% off). Kids mostly buy them up at those times. Unless Apple themselves intends to let you charge $100 on to your account for the price of $90?

post #14 of 19
The functionality as it is described can have only have two objectives:

- do away with physical gift cards; it would be cheaper and arguably more secure if iTunes clients could get their Passes reloaded anywhere without Apple having to ship millions of encrypted gift cards. Right now, you can do this only at an Apple Store, but soon you may be able to do this at any convenience store.

- more importantly, I suspect that this is the first step in using iTunes Pass to make physical purchase transactions. Probably initially at Apple Stores, but potentially soon at other affiliated retailers. If we soon hear about "Apple Stores now accepting iTunes Passbook for in-store purchases", I know I am on the right track. Limiting purchases to the amount that is pre-loaded on the card increases profitability (as Apple gets the carry) and limits risk if the phone is stolen.

Obviously, I hope for the latter as I would really like to have a way to avoid carrying all the credit and loyalty cards I have. I wish retailers had embraced Passbook more.
post #15 of 19
Apple is laying the groundwork for their future alternative to credit cards.
23% of Americans don't have credit cards.
The other 77% have credit cards that are prone to theft and fraud.

Rather than swiping a credit card you will be able to swipe your iWatch and the transaction will be processed by Apple securely.
More convenient, more secure.
post #16 of 19

Moving away from physical cards is a great idea. I find the one-time use cards to be incredibly wasteful to the environment. For people who don't have credit cards Apple should team up with ATM vendors like NCR and Diebold and banks to allow ATMs to also serve as iTunes "filling stations" that take cash, checks, and credit cards to allow you to add money to your iTunes account. These iTunes filling stations/ATMs could be placed opportunistically at locations where people may be inspired to purchase media that is sold in iTunes, like concert venues, movie theaters, bookstores, libraries, Starbucks, hospital waiting rooms, airports, train stations, gas stations, etc. Maybe you just attended a concert and want to get other tracks by the artist into your ITunes library to listen to on the drive home. You have a few bucks in your pocket so you feed it into your account via a filling station on your way out of the venue so you can download the tracks to your phone for the drive home. Some of these iTunes filling stations could be dedicated use, e.g., no ATM functionality.

 

The Passbook feature that Apple is using is essentially letting the Apple Store serve as an iTunes filling station. This is okay, but why not tap into the existing vast worldwide network of ATMs and banks that are already out there that are already setup to securely handle this style workflow? All it's really doing is giving customers a way to direct ATM deposits into another account (My iTunes) that's tied to their ATM access account. I'm sure the banks would love to get in on the Apple action and collect a small fee along the way. This would allow you to have your entire paycheck direct deposited into your iTunes account! What's not to like about that? <just kidding ... or maybe not?>

post #17 of 19

You shouldn't have to have an "iTunes account balance," and you shouldn't have a "credit card." You should have a Bank Account.

 

iTunes Store should be able to debit this, by giving your permission via a digital signature, when you sign up to iTunes. 

 

That is the simplest possible solution. Steve Jobs loved simple and it was why Apple succeeded. iTunes Pass is just more complexity.

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

You shouldn't have to have an "iTunes account balance," and you shouldn't have a "credit card." You should have a Bank Account.

iTunes Store should be able to debit this, by giving your permission via a digital signature, when you sign up to iTunes. 

That is the simplest possible solution. Steve Jobs loved simple and it was why Apple succeeded. iTunes Pass is just more complexity.

There may be patent issues that are insurmountable except with such workarounds.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
 

You shouldn't have to have an "iTunes account balance," and you shouldn't have a "credit card." You should have a Bank Account.

 

iTunes Store should be able to debit this, by giving your permission via a digital signature, when you sign up to iTunes. 

 

That is the simplest possible solution. Steve Jobs loved simple and it was why Apple succeeded. iTunes Pass is just more complexity.

 

Very bad idea. I never give anything access to my bank account. It's not very simple when your account gets hacked and you can't pay rent or get cash. With a credit card, other people's money act as a buffer against fraud.

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