Programming Note: This site will be on break through the holidays and return in January. Be sure to subscribe or check back for updates!

Snippet: Shrinking the Wallet ☇

Shared on May 5, 2016

Matt Richman:

And in order to realize Cook’s vision of an iPhone that also stores your passport and driver’s license, Apple will have to persuade and then work with countless governments around the world. Additionally, the company will have to ensure that others accept what’s stored in its digital wallet. And even then — even if Apple can design the perfect product and ensure 100 percent compatibility — there’s no guarantee digital wallets will be universally used.

Apple’s quest to replace the wallet began in 2012 with the release of Passbook for iOS. The built-in app stored things like boarding passes and loyalty cards. Since then, Apple has changed the app’s name to Wallet and integrated Apple Pay into the app, allowing people to pay for things with their phones.

There are a lot of hurdles for wallets to move electronic-only, but what Apple is doing currently is a good first step. For me, I have a few cards that I would rather not carry all the time and they’ve been replaced with their digital equivalents. My physical wallet currently consists of a few credit/debit cards, a driver’s license, insurance card, and a few folded bills. As much as I’d love to get rid of cash, it still has a place at times, but I try to carry as little as possible. An iPhone and a few cards is still certainly less than the George Constanza wallet I might have been carrying before.

Elsewhere in the article, Richman mentions person-to-person payments. Currently, I use Square Cash and have found it works well for my needs, and could fill the cross-platform gap, but most of my regular transactions involve iPhone users. Apple could almost treat person-to-person Apple Pay like iMessage—iOS-exclusive and a reason why you should choose an iPhone over something else. Right now, iOS certainly supports alternatives that do work with Android or even the web. This would be a nice feature to introduce, as it will allow me to remove yet another service and double-down on Apple Pay as a whole.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.