Many customers who buy gift cards from legitimate sources still find themselves victims of gift card fraud. A customer that purchases a gift card that’s on display in a store runs the risk of buying a gift card that had it’s magnetic stripe data stolen. Currently gift card users only find out that their gift card IDs have been compromised once they try buying something, and their card is declared empty. Passbook, however, provides a cheap and easy way for retailers to help card holders keep track of their card. Using a Passbook pass, retailers can help card holders see if the card’s stored value is being depleted when it’s not supposed to or if the card is being used in an unexpected location.

The most important feature of a Passbook pass, is its updateable pass fields. Using APIs for Passbook passes, retailers can automatically update the pass’ field values in real time to reflect the most up to date data about the gift card. This feature allows card holders to receive updates and update notifications on their pass if the gift card’s stored value changes. If a card holder is notified that a charge is incurred when no charge is expected, the card holder can quickly contact customer support to report the problem (the customer support contact information can be placed on the pass’ back field for easy access). Knowing about a compromised card won’t just save customers the embarrassment of an empty card, but will also help a customer get a replacement in time for shopping.

To further help with the matter, retailers can update the Passbook pass with data of where the card was used last. This will help a customer know if the charge incurred was, indeed, fraudulent or merely a late update. This extra information will also boost the customer’s sense of security in the retailer, as the retailer shows that they have information that will be helpful in bringing the criminals to justice.

Even when retailers decide to use Passbook passes for gift cards, it does not mean they have to switch to a QR code gift card validation system. As mentioned earlier, the most important aspect of the pass is it’s updateable interface. Retailers can issue a Passbook pass without a barcode but still use the other pass fields to great effect. This pass will act as a companion to the regular gift card; a companion pass that helps customers keep gift card fraud in check.