TechCrunch reports that payment processor Visa has released an iPhone app in the US* that gives shoppers access to some 50 merchants. Visa's new app comes with two services you can use, Offers and Locator.
Offers: Receive merchant discounts and special offers directly on your iPhone. The offers are stored on your iPhone and can be redeemed at physical retail locations, online, or by telephone. You can select your preferences for the types of offers that are sent to your iPhone.
Locator: Access maps and directions to nearby ATMs that accept Visa and retailers with special offers.
Visa's app was developed in conjunction with the UK-based mobile banking firm Monetize. With financial firms showing growing interest in iOS apps, there's no reason an app couldn't eventually replace the plastic in your wallet. For now, Visa's iOS app isn't revolutionary. It's more of a cautionary "dip your toe into the app pool to see how the water feels" approach.
*According to iTunes, it was released on November 24.