Loyalty and membership passes on Apple platforms
Discover how Apple Pay and Apple Wallet make it simple to enroll, reward, and engage customers on their iPhone or Apple Watch.
The Apple Wallet app on iPhone is where customers securely keep digital versions of their credit and debit cards, driver’s license1, transit cards2, event tickets3, and more — including loyalty and membership passes4. With digital passes that are easy to keep track of and access, it’s simple for customers to check in, earn points, and get offers or rewards at physical locations4. And you can use passes to provide real-time alerts, such as updates on points, balances, seasonal campaigns, and offers. Coupled with Lock Screen notifications, these updates are a powerful engagement tool to interact with your customers. Easily distribute passes using your app, App Clips, SMS, email, near field communication (NFC) tags, and QR codes.
Passes are a great complement to your app. They can include direct links on the front and back to open the app or download it from the App Store. They’re also a great option for those who don’t have your app, but still want to engage with your loyalty program.
You can even offer contactless loyalty passes, which allow the payment and loyalty check-in to be done with a single tap when customers pay with Apple Pay in your stores. In addition, Apple Pay users can enroll into your loyalty program with a simple, real-time customer enrollment process immediately following the Apple Pay transaction.
Pass types and features
Whether your program tracks the number of visits, points, or other activity, contactless passes in Apple Wallet make it frictionless to enroll with an experience that doesn’t require additional input from the user, compared to standard enrollment processes that use pen and paper or a manual form. It’s automatic to earn and seamless for your customers to be rewarded. The Apple Wallet NFC pass lets users tap at the register to check in, compared with standard check-in practices that use phone numbers, physical cards, or other items that users need to manually provide.
Whether you’re a national association, sports team, gym, or community group, offering your membership pass in Apple Wallet can help you achieve your goals. Similar to other passes in Apple Wallet, membership groups can dynamically update the pass (based on membership level) and send real-time notifications to each pass holder. And with features like auto-presentment,5 customers simply tap on a contactless reader to automatically pull up their membership pass and check in. With this and many other features in Apple Wallet, enabling your passes with NFC allows for a seamless experience.
Passes are customizable and can be updated to fit every type of experience for every type of customer. Create color-coded passes to reflect tiers, update pass images dynamically based on season, or provide real-time updates based on customer activity right on the pass. Use customization to dynamically interact with your customers in meaningful ways.
With passes in Apple Wallet, you can notify customers in thoughtful ways to increase visits, sales, and overall engagement. Make sure you let customers know when you update their pass by sending them a notification. You can even send push notifications through Apple Wallet to tell them about products, services, and more.
Use notifications to broadcast program updates to all of your loyalty customers or provide specific updates to each customer based on their engagement with your program. These updates and notifications can be triggered via relevant time and relevant location functionality held directly in the pass.Review best practices for sending notifications.
It’s easy for customers to find their passes and download them to Apple Wallet. By leveraging classic engagement channels, such as app, web, SMS, and email, distributing passes for Apple Wallet can be a seamless addition to what you’re doing today. And it’s easy to start using newer channels, such as App Clips and QR codes, to distribute contactless passes.
For the best possible customer experience, upgrade your passes to work with NFC readers for contactless experiences. With contactless passes, customers simply hold their iPhone to the NFC reader, waking the device and instantly pulling up the relevant pass from Apple Wallet. With their iPhone unlocked or by using Face ID, Touch ID, or double-clicking the side button on Apple Watch, customers quickly and securely check in to your location, earn points on a purchase, and even redeem their points. This experience is enabled by a protocol called Apple Pay Value Added Services (VAS), which can be implemented on contactless terminals and uses NFC to communicate with supported Apple devices.
After successfully completing a purchase with Apple Pay at a contactless payment terminal in your store, customers receive an invitation to join your loyalty program.
Automatic invitation only occurs at contactless payment terminals.
Customers can easily share their personal information, populated directly from their My Card in Contacts.
Loyalty terms acceptance
Customers are presented with your program’s terms and conditions.
Automatic pass download
After accepting the terms, your loyalty pass is automatically added to Apple Wallet and ready to use.
Other ways to drive enrollment
While terminal-based enrollment can be effective, there are several other methods that can trigger the loyalty enrollment experience. We recommend using as many of these options as possible to make it easy for customers to join.
Once a customer has a contactless pass in Apple Wallet, they can seamlessly engage with the pass and with your program in many ways.
This experience focuses on speed. The customer simply taps their iPhone to pay via Apple Pay. Because Apple Wallet loyalty features are activated, your contactless loyalty or membership pass in Apple Wallet is automatically appended to the Apple Pay transaction to be processed at the same time. Easily let customers accrue and redeem rewards benefits and pay with Apple Pay in a single tap.
This experience focuses on highlighting information or savings. The customer’s account, special messaging, or loyalty-linked offers can appear prior to payment. The customer taps once to check in with their contactless pass in Apple Wallet, and then taps a second time to pay the updated amount with Apple Pay. Let your customers see their prices roll down in real time.
This experience lets customers check in separately from the final transaction by tapping at a certified terminal to log their visit to your store (often called “clienteling”). Once a customer taps their iPhone, staff can see the customer’s history, preferences, and even available offers.
If you’re developing or looking to develop a contactless pass to use with Apple Pay, you’ll need to request an NFC certificate and confirm that the following three components are certified to process contactless loyalty or membership passes for Apple Wallet.
You or your loyalty partner must be able to develop and deploy contactless passes. Your loyalty partner must also be able to manage those passes, deploy real-time updates to them, and have proper segment and notification management. In some cases, loyalty providers will partner with pass management providers to bring your passes to market.
Terminals and readers
The payment terminals you use in your stores (integrated, semi-integrated, or stand-alone units) must already accept Apple Pay and be certified for VAS. Reach out to your terminal or reader provider to confirm if the hardware you’re using is VAS certified.
Your point-of-sale software must be able to manage the new modes that are introduced when integrated with VAS-certified terminals or readers. These new modes are “VAS Only” and “Payment and VAS”.
These providers have been certified to distribute passes, engage with loyalty or membership programs, or have certified terminals available.
This list is not exhaustive and these providers have no affiliation with Apple.
If you’re a loyalty or membership provider interested in supporting contactless passes, view the latest documentation.
Terminal and NFC reader providers
Are you a terminal or reader provider who wants to support contactless passes in Apple Wallet? The first step is joining the WPC Reader Program and starting the certification process. From there, we’ll walk you through the steps to get certification for the individual or family of terminals you provide.
Are you a point-of-sale provider who wants to provide contactless loyalty features to merchants? You’ll first need to provide your own loyalty backend program or integrate into a certified pass provider listed above. Then you’ll need to support a certified payment terminal through a certified payment transaction software company or gateway listed below.
This list is not exhaustive and these providers have no affiliation with Apple.
Marketing your programs
When launching a new program or adding the ability to provision contactless passes to Apple Wallet, the highest success rate occurs when customers are aware of this new capability. Increasing customer awareness through marketing campaigns is key. This starts with raising awareness that your store supports Apple Pay, coupled with communicating to customers that your passes can be added to Apple Wallet. You should also train your staff to assist customers and promote the use of your passes in your stores.