Apple stores get ready for Passbook payments

In what seems like a natural step, Apple will let store customers start using its own Passbook app for purchases, say blog sites TUAW and 9to5Mac.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple customers will soon be able to pay for store items via the Passbook app, according to Tuaw and 9to5Mac.

Citing an "unnamed Apple source," TUAW said the company will update the EasyPay software used by store employees to scan Passbook-enabled Apple Store gift cards.

Slated to roll out soon, the update would let iPhone and iPod Touch owners with Passbook pay for items using payment card codes, 9to5Mac said.

In preparation, Apple has reportedly just finished replacing the cases on the EasyPay-equipped iPod Touch units used by store staffers in order to allow access to the rear camera. Previous cases obscured the lens, which would have preventing the devices from scanning the Apple Store cards.

Already used by Starbucks and other retailers, Passbook lets customers pay for items via store cards, eliminating the need for cash or credit cards. Coupons, tickets, loyalty cards, and other items can also be stored in Passbook.

It seems a natural move for Apple to adopt its own payment app at its retail stores.

Apple Store customers can currently use the Apple Store app to pay for an item online and then pick it up at their local store. They can also tap into the EasyPay feature to pay for products themselves without having to go through a salesperson. In both cases, an electronic copy of the receipt is downloaded to the customer's device.

Using Passbook is the next logical step in these paperless transactions. Passbook support may be restricted to Apple's prepaid gift cards for now, TUAW added.

But if the program takes off, the company will certainly want to expand it and perhaps offer its own store cards just like other vendors.

CNET contacted Apple for comment and will update the story if we receive a response.

Updated story 7:00 a.m. PT to list 9to5Mac as source.

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