iTunes Pass offers sneak peek at Apple’s mobile payment service


Apple has launched a new service called iTunes Pass in several countries, including Japan, Brazil and China.

The service lets customers buy iTunes Store credit from brick-and-mortar Apple retail stores — only using Passbook, rather than the physical gift cards most commonly used. The service appears to work by letting users add a new iTunes Pass inside the Passbook app, which they can then present at their local Apple Store. The user then states how much money they would like to turn into iTunes Store credit, and this is instantly transferred to their account.

While the service’s paperless approach may be in keeping with Apple’s new green image, the real significance of this development is that it serves as something of a preview of Apple’s reported interest in mobile payments. Tim Cook has previously made it clear that Touch ID was created with mobile payments in mind, which makes sense given how secure a form of authentication it is.

Although we still don’t know exactly when Apple plans to unleash this service, features like iTunes Pass serve as a tantalizing “coming soon.”

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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