Apple has just launched a new service called iTunes Pass in Japan.
The new service allows users to refill iTunes credit for iTunes Store, App Store and iBooks Store at Apple retail stores.
Here’s how iTunes Pass works:
Customers need to first add a new iTunes Pass in the Passbook app. They can then tell the specialist at an Apple Retail store how much they want to deposit in their iTunes account. The specialist will accept the payments, and scan the iTunes Pass, which will instantly update the balance in your iTunes account.
Here’s Apple’s description of the service (machine translated from Japanese to English):
Use the iTunes Pass, you can now deposit directly to the account of the App Store or iTunes Store you. Go to the iTunes Store in the iOS device you have, if you tap “Use iTunes Card / Code” button and scroll down, you can get the iTunes Pass. Please tell specialist that then, the Apple Store near you, you want to deposit into account. When you open the iTunes Pass from the Passbook, specialists will scan it, and accepts the payment. Balance is updated on the fly, available immediately.
It seems like a paperless and a more convenient alternative to the physical iTunes gift cards, which requires users to buy gift cards from retail stores and subsequently redeem them.
It is currently available only in Japan, but based on one of the footnotes on Apple Japan’s iTunes page it looks like the service will be rolled out worldwide except for Brazil, China, and Turkey.