If Apple Uses The Phone For Payment And Admission, Can Cashiers Treat It As A Card?

Written by Evan Schuman
April 29th, 2010

With Apple pushing its plans for iPhones to function as concert tickets, some in the industry are trying to figure out the likely ramifications of such a move.

InternetEvolution points out a legal quandary: many concerts prohibit cameras. Given that iPhones—along with other smartphones—include cameras, could they be banished?

Maybe not, if the phone is kept discreetly in a pocket. But if customers are going to be scanning it with security to gain entrance, it would be difficult for the guards to look away.

This quandary raises even more disturbing issues. What if the customer displays a ticket that is only good for yesterday’s concert? The guard can’t “take” the ticket and deny access. Would the phone have to be handled by security?

Would consumers be required to hand over their phones for inspection, the way they’d have to hand over a credit card? Or have the phone potentially be taken away?

What if the customer goes to buy some t-shirts and the card number associated with the phone gets rejected as stolen. Standard procedure asks that such a card be held—or sometimes cut up. What are the implications of having data on the phone? Do cashiers have the right to hold and examine a phone as they would a credit or debit card?


4 Comments | Read If Apple Uses The Phone For Payment And Admission, Can Cashiers Treat It As A Card?

  1. Raja Jeevan Kumar Maduri Says:

    What if the iPhone application provides the security personnel or the cashier with a reference number of some kind, which when communicated across to a third-party for further action? Wouldn’t that work?!?

  2. Stephanie Cipresse Says:

    From a payment perspective, I would expect the rules to be closer to the online model. The phone is really acting more like a token generator that provides another layer of identification and security to a virtual transaction than like a card. This particular token can transmit its identity directly and therefore is even more secure/less error prone. I’d compare it the model in which someone enters their credit card number and then also provides a safe-pass number. This sort of iPhone application already exists and is widely used for secure banking log-in. Using the John’s for tickets (whether airline or concert) really just replaces the paper printout we generate online today, and adds the additional possibility of a tokenized security system.

  3. A reader Says:

    I doubt that banning cell phone cameras will be taken very seriously in most places. People have recorded concerts on cell phones for as long as cell phones have had video. The footage varies from “terrible” to “blurred random pixels flashing.” Even as cell phones improve in video quality, the footage is not likely to improve beyond “merely bad”. Concerts are lit and staged for human eyes, not for small aperture camera lenses located hundreds of feet away. Watching concert footage from a cell phone camera is vaguely painful. I can’t imagine that the violation of I.P. rights is the major issue.

    I think the bans have a couple of goals, but the primary is likely to prevent people with cameras from interfering with the enjoyment of the concert by others. A guy with a camera blocking the view of the people behind him is annoying. The ban gives the security people a legitimate reason to make the offender either cooperate or leave.

  4. Tom Mahoney Says:

    Evan’s hypothetical questions are interesting but for me, the headline and the last sentence are the most important.

    We have over 4000 merchant members that could potentially be affected by this whole iPhone issue and, I’m sure, other cell phones and wireless devices as well. I’d like to have a crystal ball and see just how far this is going to go and how it relates to fraud against merchants.


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