"Mobile Wallet"

The "mobile wallet" has been a much talked about concept
over the last several years, with little result for most consumers.  In
2011, Google rolled out its mobile wallet app on select devices, but the launch
was marred by a security breach and low adoption.  While Google's missteps
appeased the naysayers, the real test for mobile wallet technology has always
rested at the feet of Apple and its history of influencing consumer behavior
and expectations.

Last week, Apple took the first steps towards a full mobile
wallet solution with Passbook, a new native app announced for the forthcoming
iPhone software update.  At launch, Passbook will allow consumers to add
their gift cards, boarding passes, movie tickets and other commonly used
"passes" to the device for easy scanning. 

While Passbook is hardly a game-changer in its first
iteration, it allows Apple to test and perfect the software side of mobile
payments while the stakes are lower.  It has been widely suspected that
the new iPhone, due to launch in Q4 this year, will incorporate a near-field
communication (NFC) chip that will communicate directly with point of sale
terminals at retailers around the world.  At that point, Passbook will
likely include the ability to connect Passbook to Visa, Mastercard and other
major credit card accounts.