By leveraging Apple’s iBeacon microlocation technology, iMobile3’s new PassMarket Beacon Edition will allow customers at participating retailers to check out without swiping a credit card or handing over money.

Originally launched in 2012, PassMarket is a behind-the-scenes platform that allows businesses to interact with customers using passes stored in digital wallet applications such as Apple’s PassBook. Formerly focused on loyalty and rewards programs, the addition of “empty hand” payments was announced recently at the National Retail Federation’s annual trade show in New York. iMobile3 has designed the system to be as frictionless as possible for both the consumers and the retailers.

According to the company, from a consumer’s perspective, the signup process is similar to signing up for any other in-store loyalty program. PassMarket’s system creates a profile for each customer and that profile is used to feed information to a customized pass. When the customer makes a purchase at that retailer with a credit card, the payment information can be stored in a secure vault at the payment processor and “tokenized,” or assigned a unique code, and the tokens are added to the user’s pass profile. Further changes can be made by simply passing the tokens to the processor, rather than reacquiring the payment information with another swipe.

Using the precise location data that iBeacons provide, consumers’ devices will know when they have entered a retailer for which they have stored payment information and the option to check out using the pass can be triggered by, for instance, walking up to a cash register.

One advantage of the PassMarket system for retailers according to CEO Bob Leonard is an advantage the company would maintain even if Apple were to enter the mobile payments market; it is designed to glue together many systems that retailers already use, rather than imposing new hardware or software requirements. iMobile 3 has partnered with payment processors, acquirers and even terminal makers like NCR and Ingenico to ensure that most retailers only need small tweaks to their POS system to add PassMarket capability.

One of the other benefits is security. According to Leonard, large scale breaches like the ones at Target and Neiman Marcus, which were the result of retailers decrypting credit card data on their own systems, would be far more difficult since card data is stored in a single, secure vault at the payment processor. Though the payment system isn’t live at any retailers, Leonard says many of PassMarket’s existing customers have agreed to deploy the system.
As of right now, burrito chain Moe’s Southwest Grill is preparing to adopt the technology nationwide, as is Global Franchise Group, owners of ice cream franchise Marble Slab Creamery.

What do you think of PassMarket’s iteration of the technology?

Source: PassMarket via AppleInsider