The good news about being a woman with a big purse is I can fit everything under the sun into my handbag (after all, you never know what you’ll need). The bad news about being a woman with a big purse is I can fit everything under the sun into my handbag (most of which I never need).
For the last year, I’ve countered my love-hate relationship with my handbag by enclosing my phone with an ingenious invention — a case that doubles as a credit card/ID holder (Thanks, Case-Mate!). And thus, I’ve kept my phone, wallet and ID (the core essentials of my life) in one über-convenient, easy-to-get-my-hands-on location within my purse.
Enter Passbook. Things just got even easier.
Passbook is a new feature of iOS 6 (Apple’s latest mobile operating system), which stores your loyalty cards, retail coupons, boarding passes, movie tickets, and more all in one place in digital form on your phone. No more rummaging through your plethora of loyalty cards or coupons at checkout to save a few bucks. Or if you’re like me, you’ve long given up on actually showing a card — choosing instead to have the cashier look you up via email. (Easy for me, not always easy for the cashier when they inevitably spell my name wrong.) Passbook solves this by replacing all that paper and plastic with bar codes that can be easily scanned directly from your phone.
While I’ve heard some users complain that they weren’t sure how to add passes to their Passbook, I found it very intuitive — particularly when brands use push notifications in their own apps to prompt me to add a card to my Passbook (Thanks, Starbucks). The biggest takeaway for me: Don’t forget to push the “Add” button on the final step.
I also appreciate that I’m given the choice to add cards to my Passbook, which I’ve heard is a downfall to some users who wish they were automatically added. Recognizing the importance of privacy and preferences, I can’t help but think that if cards were automatically added, users would still be up in arms.
This is where the magic happens.
While I’ve been a long-time user of in-app payments in Starbucks, Passbook makes the process even easier. Taking advantage of GPS capabilities, passes can appear on your Lock screen where and when you need them. So with a simple swipe, your card can be open in one action. Brilliant. Or, putting location cues aside, two taps (tap one: open Passbook, tap two: click on card) still get you to the card you need in seconds.
I was recently super excited to receive a mobile coupon from Target for a BOGO Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (Who doesn’t love these with fall in the air?). And with my Target coupon and my Starbucks card both loaded into my Passbook, I was able to use both passes seamlessly in one transaction directly from my phone. Win-win.
Areas of Opportunity
With any technology, there are opportunities for improvement, and Passbook is no exception.
While I love how location cues work in theory, the radius that triggers the pass to appear on the lock screen is not quite narrow enough. I’m fortunate to live within walking distance of my neighborhood Starbucks; however, the by-product is Passbook has been known to plant Starbucks on my Lock screen from my home parking lot. (Or perhaps this is by design to lure me in more. Just kidding.)
It’s also a manual effort to remove passes, even if they have expired, such as coupons or boarding passes. The good news is it’s just one click to delete, but this could be something to better sync in the future.
And finally is sheer numbers — I want more! Having jumped on the trend of entering loyalty cards from Walgreens to Sephora, I’m eager to add more cards, which requires more brands to create passes. With 60% of iOS devices now running iOS 6, Passbook is poised to have a mass/reach that some mobile wallets have struggled to achieve, making now a good time to jump in the game. If POS technology would catch up to allow mobile bar codes to be read at more establishments, I’d be a happier girl.