Apple has launched a new service which enables users in Japan to enter an Apple store, buy credit for their iTunes account and have that money scanned into the Passbook app on their iPhone or iPod touch, said Apple Insider.
The new service, which is called iTunes Pass, is actually a reversal of how cards in the Passbook wallet usually work where funds are drawn from a user’s iTunes account.
The service is only present in Japan although its small print hints at wider availability. It says “iTunes Pass is not available in Brazil, China and Turkey,” which suggests it is set to be offered to a wider list of countries.
Passbook, which was introduced as part of iOS6, is a wallet app in which users store gift cards, season tickets, boarding passes, tickets, coupons and loyalty cards. It features apps from the likes of Starbucks and United Airlines.
The wallet does not have a payment capability, although announcements such as the iTunes Pass hint that is where Apple might be heading. There has been a swirl of speculation around Apple and mobile payments.
In addition to the wallet, the company’s Touch ID built-in fingerprint sensor could be used to authenticate a user’s identity for mobile payments. The sensor can already be used to authenticate purchases on iTunes and the App Store.