|By Jim Bruene on September 25, 2012 6:21 PM | Comments|
Apple's Passbook is a massive wildcard in the race for mobile payments, banking and rewards. Will the iPhone's massive user base take to it like they did iTunes, or will it be one of those ideas that sounded good on the drawing board, but just doesn't resonate with consumers?
No one knows if it will stick (although I got pretty carried away with the possibilities when it was announced in June), but given the potential upside, it seems a solid bet.
Starbucks is about to push its massive mobile base onto Passbook, a pretty strong endorsement. American Express has thrown in its support. No word yet from other financial players.
Except BillGuard, which gets to lay claim to being first. CEO Yaron Samid emailed yesterday announcing beta support for Passbook. The startup built a landing page for the new service at <passbook.billguard.com/> (see first screenshot) and is even testing some Google Adwords spending around the feature.
BillGuard users can now view each of their monitored credit cards within the Apple Passbook application. It's a two-step process to get the cards added to the Passbook utility.
- Users click on "Add to Passbook" at top of BillGuard's normal online dashboard (see second screenshot)
- BillGuard sends an email with a "pass" attached for each card. Users view the email on their iPhone, then click each attachment to add to the iPhone utility (see third screenshot)
Once added, user can view their current card balance and recent transactions from the Passbook card (see last screenshots).
Bottom line: It's a great move for BillGuard, especially since it does not yet have a native mobile app. Now I can click on the Passbook icon and without logging in, quickly see the activity on all my registered cards, and whether there are any suspicious charges.
Banks could do something similar. Basically, creating a no-login card mini-app that aligns their brand with the iPhone 5. However, one area to consider is security. Anyone who got a hold of the email BillGuard sent me could start monitoring my card(s) through Passbook without my knowledge. For a bit more security, passes can be distributed directly through native apps and websites.
BillGuard Passbook landing page (link, 25 Sep 2012)
Note: Example is a Chase card "protected by BillGuard"
Step 1: Click the "Add to Passbook" button on top of BillGuard's main online dashboard
Step 2: BillGuard emails a "pass" for each card on file. Users open the email from their iPhone and click the attachment(s) to add each card to Passbook
Results: Each pass has its own "virtual card" in Passbook, with a "front" and "back"
Front includes current balance Back includes recent transactions
Note: The placeholder barcode displayed in the BillGuard pass is a customer referral form according to MyBankTracker. When Starbucks unveils its Passbook support next week, I'm sure the barcode will be usable to make a mobile payment at the Starbucks counter.
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