There may come a time when “B of A” no longer means Bank of America but instead, Bank of Apple.
In Japan, Apple has rolled out an in-store deposit service called iTunes Pass, noted 9to5 Mac on Tuesday. Customers can purchase Apple Store credit similar to a physical gift-card. The additional funds are tied to a customer’s Apple ID through the iOS Passbook app.
Here’s how the Japan Apple Store describes iTunes Pass, based on a translation from the Japanese:
“Use the iTunes Pass, you can now deposit directly to the account of the App Store or iTunes Store you. Go to the iTunes Store in the iOS device you have, if you tap “Use iTunes Card / Code” button and scroll down, you can get the iTunes Pass. 3 Please tell specialist that then, the Apple Store near you, you want to deposit into account. When you open the iTunes Pass from the Passbook, specialists will scan it, and accepts the payment. Balance is updated on the fly, available immediately.”
Since the funds are tied to an Apple ID, they can presumably be used for purchases in the Mac App Store, the iTunes Store for music, video and apps, or the iBookstore.
While funds in the iTunes Pass program are limited to purchases from Apple, the concept could hint at Apple’s larger mobile payment ambitions. The company could expand the program to include payment acceptance at other retail stores who partner with Apple, for example, turning Passbook into a more widely accepted digital wallet. The addition of Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor adds a secure layer that some mobile payment options lack: I’m looking at you outdated U.S. credit card industry.