Lemon.com Wallet Set to Challenge Passbook for iOS 6

Before Apple Mobile iOS 6′s new Passbook app even arrives on the market in a few months, Lemon.com Wallet app is poised to grab the market before Apple even gets a crack at them. It does more than Passbook will, but also has its struggles due to not being a native iOS app.

Is it worth it? That’s what I wanted to know. Is it worth learning all about Lemon.com Wallet and getting it all set up just to end up abandoning it in the fall when Passbook make its debut? I had to try it out to see for myself.

You can download the app, but you can’t start setting it up until you have a Lemon.com ¬†account. For that, instead of of setting it up in the app itself, you need to go to the website and create an account there. The basic account is free, while the pro account will cost $10 a month. The extras that you get for the monthly fee include scanned receipts with line-by-line detail, tracking five different people’s spending, the ability to export data, and no ads. Lemon gives you a Lemon.com email address with either a free or paid account so that you can give that to online merchants. That way your online receipts are all in one place, and you won’t be bothered in your business or personal email accounts with the spam that can be associated with buying items online.

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Adding in your cards is a simple scanning process. Lemon encourages you to add in everything in your wallet, every single credit card, debit card, ID, coupon, and loyalty card. Hold your iPhone over the card exactly in between the four corners and it will automatically scan in. It can be a little tricky to get it lined up right, but once you do a few, it’s easier to line them up, as you see exactly where and how it needs to fit. It seems like all four sides need to be touching in order for it to scan.

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You can add information into the card even after it’s scanned, such as changing the way it’s labelled, etc. I’m not quite sure why, but my credit card didn’t scan in with the right number. I was able to go back in through the edit and fix the number. Since the backs of cards are scanned in as well, it combined the information so that it also put the verification code from the back on the front of the card. I blocked that out in the picture, as well as the rest of the credit card number for obvious reasons. You can also delete cards from your wallet through the editing screen.

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Lemon encourages you to put in everything that’s in your wallet. The cards I could not add in were the little tiny keychain loyalty cards from the pet food store, gas station, etc. Those don’t fit within the square. But I added my credit/debit cards, driver’s license, insurance cards, etc. It’s still a fairly new app, so maybe they’ll make adjustments soon for those smaller keychain cards. What did impress me was that while it read my card and knew from the number it was a VISA, it also read my driver’s license and knew it was issued in Illinois.

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Cards aren’t the only thing we have in our wallets, though. We can also amass a huge wad of paper receipts. They end up shoved in every cranny of the wallet, dropped on the floor of your car, and piled up on the bottom of a purse. You don’t know if you’ll need them again, so you hate to throw them away. Lemon creates a good solution. You can scan them as well. If you categorize them, it will help keep track of your spending. If you don’t have a paper receipt, you can input the information manually. My grocery receipt was scanned in, and it read the price just fine, although I had to add in the store name. I also manually put in two receipts for items ordered online. One a service, and another for an online store.

So far, this app is working out to be a very handy tool. Although it’s an iPhone app and not optimized for the iPad, I have it installed on both. My iPhone is older and sometimes slow on apps, so I can add things with the iPad to make it go quicker, or my iPhone if I’m out and about. When Passbook is released with iOS6, it won’t have the same features, as they’re starting small and won’t have credit card capabilities. However, being a native iOS app, it will work with other apps better. Which app to use will come down to your own expectations of using the app.