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Passbook for iOS 6: Apple steers clear of dealing with credit card data

The iPhone's upcoming iOS 6 Passbook feature—which allows users to manage electronic tickets, coupons and passes, all from one place—has generated a considerable amount of buzz since its announcement.

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Passbook for iOS 6: Apple steers clear of dealing with credit card data

apple, ios, passbook


The iPhone's upcoming iOS 6 Passbook feature—which allows users to manage electronic tickets, coupons and passes, all from one place—has generated a considerable amount of buzz since its announcement.

While it contains many convenient features, Apple doesn't plan for it to include payment card integration. This feature would allow users to pay for tickets in addition to being able to manage them from the same location. However, dealing with payment card information places a premium on security and privacy.

Apple has chosen to forego this feature given the complexity of implementing it and concerns over the security of consumer data.

iOS payment integration a complex process

The idea of allowing users to manage their credit cards and coupons all in one place didn't escape iOS 6 developers, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. Several versions of the feature were considered before the company ultimately decided to "wait and see" what other companies might be able to do in that area.

The article stated that "a small group began investigating whether the company should create a new service that would embed various payment methods into the iPhone or build a payment network of its own."

According to the WSJ, one of the planned features would be recommendations for which payment card to use based on the type of deal and bonuses being offered. However, the technology would require a significant hardware upgrade that could impact the battery life of the iPhone.

Other concerns: iPhone security

A major concern expressed by Apple executives involved the security of payment data. According to the WSJ, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer expressed concerns over whether existing technology could handle consumer payment card information in a secure way. Apple's stance on the issue has been to take it slow and wait for all the kinks to be worked out before it implements a payment card feature with Passbook.

Apple may be taking the right approach by waiting until privacy and security issues can be addressed. A recent Reuters article highlighted the increasing prevalence of aggressive advertising practices that leverage application data to target users. Many apps have even been known to install software without the user's knowledge. This places a premium on the security of apps that store sensitive data such as credit and debit card information. Those applications would have to be secure from other apps to prevent other programs from gaining access to that data and leaving users open for more malicious attacks.

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