Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) on Tuesday began selling iTunes Pass, a new service in Japanese retail stores, which allows customers to add iTunes store credit to their accounts without the need of an additional physical gift card or code.
The service lets iTunes customers to add an iTunes Pass to their iPhone Passbook, which can then be used to add money to their account. To do so, customers can visit any Apple Retail Store in Japan and locate and Apple specialist. After a customer presents an iTunes Pass to the specialist, they can say how much money they’d like to add to the account, which is then transferred instantaneously by the specialist.
At this time, the service is limited to Japan, but the fine print suggests that a global rollout may be in the works for the near future. “iTunes Pass is not available in Brazil, China and Turkey,” the fine print reads.
Apple first introduced Passbook in iOS 6 as a centralized app which stores boarding passes, tickets, gift cards, coupons and membership cards. Since its inception, companies such as Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ:SBUX) and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE:UAL) have used the app for their respective Starbucks Card and United Airlines boarding passes.
Prior to the introduction of iTunes Pass, Apple iTunes users could only add balances to their account through a credit card, physically purchased iTunes Card or iTunes gift code.
While this service may be of limited use in credit card centric countries, iTunes Pass may prove to be an essential service in countries that still predominately conduct purchases in cash, such as Japan.