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Mobile Wallet 101: Basics, Features, Examples

Mobile Wallet 101 Guide

How to Add Mobile Wallet Content on iOS & Android

How to install passes on iOS and Android

How to Distribute Mobile Wallet Content

How to Distribute Mobile Wallet Content

Beacons 101: Basics, Features, Examples

Beacon 101 Guide

ELI5: Getting Started with Beacons

Getting Started with Beacons

Mobile Wallet App Comparison Chart

Mobile Wallet App Comparison Chart

Free Email Course: Mobile Wallet & Beacons

A 9 lesson course that will arm you with what you need to know on mobile wallet & beacons.

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Knowledge Base

Mobile wallet apps allow people to store digital coupons, loyalty cards, membership cards, event tickets, and more in their smartphone. While some mobile wallets can include payment options (i.e. Apple Pay), the non-payment side of the mobile wallet is where the opportunity lies for brands and marketers.

Some of the most popular mobile wallets today include Apple Wallet, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, WeChat Wallet, AliPay Wallet.

The 10 GPS limit and beacon limit is fixed by Apple. It is fixed for two reasons:

  • Keep the size of the pass file manageable
  • Reduce battery consumption when scanning for beacons / locations.

The solutions to get around these two constraints typically involve updating the pass to show the 10 closest beacons/GPS locations. This could be based on the postcode, location of last use, customer preference, etc. To get this done would require action on the customers' side (i.e. scanning the pass or clicking on a link).

For Customers

Convenience and preference: Passes stored in the customers' preferred wallet application provide ultimate convenience, minimal memory usage and aligns with smartphone owners’ preferences. Similar to how smartphone owners like to store and manage their email in their native mail application, they like to store and manage wallet content in their native wallet application.

As well as the dynamic nature of the pass, links can be placed on the back of the pass, which allows the customer to find you (and your web assets) easily. For example, they can link to your app quickly, or your website, or link to the map application to find the nearest branch, or call your customer support centre. Effectively a pass presents a ‘smart bookmark’ for the smartphone owner to all of your assets. All without having to remember your web address or where they stored your app (if they have installed your app).

For Businesses

Cost: It costs significantly less to implement wallet content with PassKit when compared to designing, developing, distributing and maintaining this functionality with your own application. You can then focus your precious IT resources on making your app (if you have one), or your mobile website, more useful / immersive for customers, and allow them to store wallet content in the wallet application. Note for businesses that do have an app, or considering implementing an app, the wallet application works in collaboration with an application. Companion apps should not duplicate the functionality of the Wallet app, rather they should enrich the user experience by doing things that Wallet can’t do, such as letting the user select a reward, redeem points; and when they do so the Pass is automatically updated. This can happen even if the customer chooses to transact or take some action (e.g. redeem points) online (even if they are not on their smartphone).

Time: PassKit technology is available today as are wallet applications in most smartphones. For any smartphone that does not have a wallet application, PassKit provides a wallet application that can be downloaded, or a browser fall back if a customer still doesn’t want to install an app but wants to view the wallet content. A consumer also has the option to print the wallet content (if they still want a paper version of the pass).

Revenue: Unlike paper and plastic, digital wallet content (Passes) are personalised and dynamic. They represent a new engagement channel to your customer base. Once a customer has added a Pass to their wallet application, you can easily encourage behaviour (without emails or SMS message) as well as subtly remind customers that they own your loyalty card/coupon/ticket etc.. Lock screen messages and Pass updates can be based on customer behaviour (e.g. a customer hasn’t used their credit card for some time, or they’ve just redeemed points), time (e.g. when their card is nearing expiry), location (e.g. when they are in proximity to a your store or the places that are relevant) or other data (like social preferences). By providing convenient links on the bank of the pass, it also helps customers to engage with your other digital assets (e.g. your app, your website, your customer support channel, your social media etc.)

Brand Image: By using digital Passes, as opposed to plastic, paper or emails, your company is seen as progressive and innovative. There is also a corporate social responsibility (CSR) angle you can promote, as you are reducing the consumption of wasteful paper and plastic.

1. Cost of development

Apple and Google have invested, and continue to spend millions of dollars to design, develop, deploy and manage the applications. Because they are ‘built-in’ to the phone they access a lower level of capabilities that third party developer s cannot access.

2. Installation base

Apple Wallet is installed as standard on all iPhones and iPods running iOS6 or above (>99.5% of all iOS devices). It is also a standard application on all Apple Watches. Android Pay is installed as a standard app on many Android devices, and the plan is to make it a native application on all Android devices. PassKit Passes also work with WeChat Wallet and AliPay Wallet for consumers who prefer to store and manage wallet content in these quasi-native applications.

3. Consumer preference

Smartphone owners prefer to store and manage wallet content in their wallet application (as they prefer to store and manage email in their native email application, or browse the web in their native browser application)

Additional Information

Passes are a digital representation of information that might otherwise be printed on pieces of paper or plastic. They let users take actions in the physical world. For example, obtain a discount at a gas station, gain access to an exclusive event, redeem a free item, board a plane, collect points when paying for goods in a department store.

Passes can contain images and a barcode, and you can update passes at any time using PassKit push. Users view and manage their passes using the Wallet app of their choice. (e.g. Apple Wallet, Android Wallet, WeChat Wallet etc.)

The PassKit framework also provides an interface for apps to interact with passes. Companion apps should not duplicate the functionality of the Wallet app, rather they should enrich the user experience by doing things that Wallet can’t do, such as letting the user update their home address, or redeem points and then updating the pass. Passes need to be useful even if the user doesn’t have your app installed.

Even if you’re not creating watch-specific apps, users can add any passes you create to their Apple Watch.

Passes let your users take actions in the real world, so accessing them needs to be easy and fast. Wallet applications makes relevant passes immediately accessible by integrating them with the lock screen. To take advantage of this feature, you simply add information about where and when the member’s pass is relevant (note that this can be the same or different information for each customer).

A pass’s relevancy can be based either on the time or the place where the user can actually utilise it. You simply provide a point in time and points in space via PassKit. The Wallet application then determines whether the pass should appear on the smartphone lock screen based on these settings. It calculates when the user is close enough to the specified time and locations based on the pass stored in the wallet application. You therefore don’t need to program any of this logic in your application.

Note that relevance information is passive; it helps users find passes when they need them by putting relevant passes right on the lock screen. It doesn’t present alerts or post notifications. This is in contrast to the notification posted when a pass updates (e.g. more rewards points are collected, or points are redeemed).

Notifications are the messages that appear on the lock screen of a device. They will display at a relevant location, relevant time or when the Pass is updated.

In very basic terms, once you (or your system) tell us what needs to change, PassKit confirms the Pass is still active (i.e. still in a user's mobile wallet) and then pushes the update to the device, which automatically updates the Pass. If you have selected a notification message, the user will be informed that something has changed in their Pass. A quick swipe of the notification will open the Pass and they will quickly see what has changed.

Nope, you do not need an app. Passes can be distributed by any channel that can present a URL. You can send the link to the pass via email, or from a web page, via social media channels, or from within an app.

No, alerts will only show on devices that have the pass installed in their mobile wallet.

Beacons are transmitters that broadcast signals at set intervals so that smart devices within its proximity are able to listen for these signals and react accordingly. They run off of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology.

BLE is a type of Bluetooth technology that is low energy. Hence the name - Bluetooth Low energy. BLE communication comprises of advertisements of small packets of data which are broadcast at regular intervals through radio waves. BLE broadcasting is a one-way communication method; it simply advertises its packets of data. These packets of data can then be picked up by smart devices nearby and then be used to trigger things like push messages, app actions, and prompts on the smart device.

A bluetooth beacon works by creating a Geo-fence. This fence can be set up to 150 feet by the owner. When another device using one of the Bluetooth versions mentioned above it will automatically recognize that and will be able to interact with that device. However, unlike previous Bluetooth products this new technology will be able to interact with an unlimited number of devices.

Depending on what type of beacon you’re using (battery powered or USB powered), you can place them pretty much anywhere.

No, Bluetooth beacon frequencies will not be interrupted by other frequencies in the area. However, broadcasts may sometimes appear weaker or stronger depending on what is physically around (i.e. a wall, people, etc.).

No. There is no way for beacons to work without bluetooth. Beacon technology is based on Bluetooth Low Energy technology, and data exchange between devices (e.g. a GemTot Beacon and smartphone) happens wirelessly using radio transmissions.

iOS devices can constantly scan for BLE and turn on relevant apps when they come within range of a beacon, even if these are closed. Android devices do not have a beacon system of this type, the only way to turn on in response to a beacon is to run a service in the background that is continuously listening.

Typically a beacon broadcast is "seen" (by a smartphone) around 30m away. Some people claim it can be 70m away, but in our experience factors like smartphone case, walls, doors etc. do make a difference so we recommend clients don't plan for more than a 30m distance from the beacon to the smartphone user.

iBeacon is Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology to create a different way of providing location-based information and services to iPhones and other iOS devices. No, Apple does not manufacture beacon hardware. iBeacon is the name for Apple's technology that allows smart devices to listen for signals broadcasted from beacons.

Eddystone is Google's open and multiplatform Bluetooth 4.0 protocol. Capable of supporting Android, IOS or any other platform thats supports BLE beacons.

Eddystone-URL is a beacon broadcast format that sends out a URL to a user’s device. This beacon signal can be picked up by either the Physical Web app, or the Google Chrome Widget, which appears in your notifications tab in iOS. Although it sounds like you still need an “app” (Google Chrome or the Physical Web app), it’s not a specific app you have to download for one in-store or brand experience.

Check out this blog post for more information.

iBeacon allows Mobile Apps to listen for signals from beacons and react accordingly. AltBeacon works the same way. Eddystone-URL is a beacon broadcast format that sends out a URL to a user’s device. This beacon signal can be picked up by either the Physical Web app, or the Google Chrome Widget, which appears in your notifications tab in iOS.

iBeacon is native only for iOS, but compatible for both iOS and Android. Eddystone is Android and iOS compatible. iBeacon broadcast one type of data and a unique ID number (UUID, Major and Minor numbers).

Eddystone broadcasts three different types of data: a unique ID number (Eddystone-UID), a URL address (Eddystone-URL), and Telemetry packet (Eddystone-TLM).

Eddystone-URL is also known as the Physical Web, which is an initiative from Google that wants to “unleash the core superpower of the web: interaction on demand.” The goal of the Physical Web is to allow people to interact with web objects without the need for an app. It works is through what is called a Physical Web browser.

The AltBeacon specification, developed by Radius Networks, defines the format of the advertisement message that Bluetooth Low Energy proximity beacons broadcast. AltBeacon was created to support beacon implementations in mobile platforms such as Android and Windows. Where iBeacon is the standard format for iOS devices, AltBeacon is the standard for non-iOS devices.


Yes you can! As a free CherryPie user, you can issue up to 100 passes.

CherryPie is our latest mobile wallet solution, which includes all the features of the Pass Designer and extras such as email distribution, contact management, campaign automation rules, client management, and more.

This is counted when the pass has been opened (i.e. in a browser). For example, you can email a pass URL to all of your contacts. When they click on the pass URL, it will open up in a browser, which will then prompt them to save it to their mobile wallet app.

You will no longer be able to send updates to your active contacts.

GemTot Beacons support iBeacon, AltBeacon, and Eddystone formats - all in one tiny USB.

The default GemTot beacon simultaneously broadcasts iBeacon, Eddystone, and AltBeacon.

If you are looking to use WeChat as a platform for beacon discovery, you can purchase our other GemTot that broadcasts 2 iBeacon signals and 1 Eddystone signal. The other iBeacon signal broadcasts the default WeChat UUID.

Download the GemTot App and follow this user guide to configure your GemTots. You can change the UUID, major, minor, etc.

Standard shipping can take anywhere from 10-14 days. Express shipping can take anywhere from 4-7 days.

Loopy Loyalty is the complete digital stamp card solution. Create digital stamp cards / punch cards, send push updates via your management dashboard, issue stamps with the stamper app, and track analytics - all in one place.

Loopy Loyalty is free! You get 5000 cards per campaign for free. Once you've issued over 5000 passes, you can easily top up your account with more cards. You can create as many campaigns as you'd like!

Digital stamp cards can be installed on both iOS and Android devices. On iOS, the defacto wallet is Apple Wallet and on Android, users will need to install a 3rd party wallet up such as myWallet.

You'll need to upload your own logo and icon images. By using our design tool, you can then customize colors, text, select stamp images, and much more.

Once you've saved and launched your campaign, you cannot change the design or text on your digital stamp card. However, you can create as many campaigns as you'd like. We'd recommend previewing how your card looks first (by clicking on the preview button) before you finalize your design.

You can select 8, 10, or 12 stamps for each card. Once you've selected the number of stamps you can't change it unless you create a new template.

You can only update the 'Promotions' and 'Terms and Conditions' field after you've activated your campaign. You can also update GPS and beacon details in your dashboard.

Once they redeem their reward, their card will go back to 0 stamps. No need to manually add another stamp card to their wallet.

Loopy Loyalty cards can only be stamped using the Loopy Loyalty Digital Stamper app. Each loyalty card is linked with your account and can only be updated through the app.

In the dashboard under 'Campaign Management', simply enter text in the 'Promotions' text box and click on 'Update Changes'. Everyone that has your digital stamp card will see that lockscreen message.

Follow these instructions to generate and upload your pass certificates.

You can create transit tickets, store cards, coupons, membership cards, and event tickets using the Pass Designer. For digital stamp cards, we recommend using Loopy Loyalty.

Visit this page for more details on pass designs and layouts.

Follow these instructions to renew your pass certificates.

Android Pay requirements:

  1. Only available for a U.S. Google account linked to a U.S. credit card.
  2. Android 4.4 or higher
  3. NFC enabled device

Here's where your business can apply for 'Save to Android Pay' API access:

Here's additional information on Android Pay for merchants:

Apple requires that anyone who issues a pass does so using their own certificate. All passes created under a free PassKit account without your own certificate will be expired.

All passes in trial accounts will expire after 30 days.

You can upgrade to a paid plan at and upload your own certificate by following these instructions.

Follow these steps to send push updates to everyone that has your pass.

Follow these steps to add beacons to your pass.

You can choose between PDF417, QR, and Aztec codes, and Code128. These formats have been selected and specified by Apple and not within the control of PassKit.

Under 'Pass Settings', if you click on the 'Integration' drop down you will see that one of the options is 'Callback Notifications'. This allows you to receive updates on when a Pass is issued, registered or unregistered, and for any device updates. Simply enter the email address or URL you want the notification to be sent to.

The simplest, most efficient and our recommended way is to use the Pass URL (found in the distribution tab in the Pass Designer). When the user visits this URL the Pass will automatically display in the user's device. This allows you to send the Pass via any of the following channels:

  • Social media
  • On your website
  • Online ads
  • Via an app
  • SMS
  • Email

You can even share the link via traditional media:

  • Tent cards
  • Posters
  • EDM
  • Newspaper ads

The GemTot App allows you easily configure GemTots, test and demonstrate them.

Distance demonstration: Demonstrates how an app is aware of a beacon's relative proximity when moving closer or further away from a beacon source and how the RSSI and power calibration of the beacon can be used to calculate a crude distance to the beacon source.

Proximity demonstration: Demonstrates how the device's proximity to the beacon can trigger 3 different states (immediate, near and far), also shows how an app can respond to the event of no longer being able to see a beacon.

Lock screen demonstration: Demonstrates how entering or exiting a beacon region can trigger a local notification and how a notification could be used to deliver content to Apple Wallet. This demo requires that background location monitoring and local notifications are enabled.

For more information, download this user guide.

Best Practices

Once you've created mobile wallet content, you can either distribute it via the pass URL or a QR code with the pass URL embedded in it. Whether it's through your website, email, SMS, or on tent cards, check out these examples of how you can promote your campaigns and drive more pass installs.

Social media is a great place to promote your offers. All you need to do is include a description of the offer, the pass URL, and an image to give it more color. Here's an example:

Facebook Post Sample

Place tent cards on restaurant tables, at checkout, or on tables in your store to promote your campaigns. Here's an example of a tent card at a restaurant.

Tent Card Sample

Landing pages are a great way to explain to users/customers the value of your offers or campaigns. Here are a some examples of landing pages with great visuals, content and enticing call to actions.

University Saver

University Saver Landing Page

Hardy's Wine

Hardy's Wine Landing Page

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