In May of 2010 we were surprised to see Apple's first iWallet patent officially surface. In that year we witnessed a steady stream of Near Field Communication based patents that kick started the iWallet trend. Ever since that time we've archived these patents under the category of "iWallet-NFC Related." Today, Apple has been granted a major iWallet patent and it's one that has never been reported on before. Apple's patent reviews credit card transaction rules and shows us that the credit card companies will be sending statements directly to your iTunes account. The iWallet project just became a little more real today, and for many, it can't come soon enough. Who knows, perhaps one day Apple's iWallet will rule the world: the financial world that is. And all Macites said, Amen.
Apple Wins Major iWallet Patent
Apple has received a major Granted Patent that generally relates to establishing financial transaction rules for controlling a subsidiary financial account and, more particularly, to various systems, methods, and electronic devices configured to provide for the establishment of such rules.
Apple states that many payment instruments currently exist and may be used to carry out a financial transaction between two or more parties. For example, payments may be made using cash, credit cards, debit cards, checks, electronic checks, and so forth. In recent years, the growth of electronic commerce may be at least partially attributed to the popularity of credit cards, debit cards, and other non-currency based payment instruments. Thus, while merchants generally continue to accept cash and currency as a method of payment for goods and/or services, most merchants now also accept payments made using credit cards, debit cards, stored-value (e.g., pre-paid) cards, checks, and electronic checks. In particular, online merchants (e.g., those operating "virtual stores" on the Internet or World Wide Web) may rely heavily on the use of credit and debit cards.
As we move to a more mobile and fast-paced society, the use of cash or currency is being increasingly replaced by the convenience afforded by payment cards, such as credit, debit, and stored-value cards. Consequently, children are receiving payments cards from their parents and beginning to use payment cards as payment instruments at younger ages. Generally, credit, debit, and stored-value card accounts used by children (e.g., subsidiary account) are linked to or associated with a primary account held by the parent. That is, while the child may be authorized to initiate charges using a payment card, the parent may ultimately be responsible for paying for such charges. Accordingly, it may be desirable to exert some level of control over the types of purchases or transactions a child is permitted to make using a subsidiary account.
Summary of the Key Points of this Patent
Apple's patent figures associated with Apple's invention generally relate to techniques for implementing and defining financial transaction rules for controlling a subsidiary financial account. By way of example, the relationship between the primary financial account holder and the subsidiary account holder may be that of a parent-child relationship, employer-employee relationship, or the like.
The processor-based device may be additionally configured to transmit the financial transaction rules defined by the primary account holder to a designated financial institution that manages the subsidiary account. For instance, where the subsidiary financial account is a credit card account, the financial institution may include an issuing bank and/or a card association. The financial institution may store a record of user preferences associated with the primary and subsidiary financial accounts, and may update these account holder preferences based on the received financial transaction rules.
Financial Transaction Rules
The financial transaction rules may generally limit or restrict transactions or purchases made using the subsidiary financial account. For instance, the financial transaction rules may restrict or limit transactions based upon various criteria including limits or restrictions based upon a transaction amount limit, an aggregate spending limit over a particular time period (e.g., 1 month), a geographic region (e.g., a home zip code), or some combination thereof. Additionally, the financial transaction rules may provide for restrictions or limitations based on merchant categories and specific merchants.
When a Transaction Rule is Violated
The financial transaction rules defined in accordance with the present techniques may set forth certain control actions to be performed with regard to a particular subsidiary account transaction when a transaction rule is violated, such as when a defined a transaction amount limit is exceeded.
The control actions may include automatically declining the subsidiary transaction, notifying the primary account holder of the transaction, as well as requiring or requesting authorization from the primary account holder before the subsidiary transaction is approved.
Where authorization is required, a financial transaction rule may have defined therein an allotted amount of time in which the financial institution may wait for an instruction to authorize or decline a subsidiary transaction. The authorization times may be defined by the primary account holder using the process-based device. In one embodiment, the different authorization times may be defined based upon whether a pending subsidiary transaction is an in-person transaction (e.g., a cardholder-present purchase made at a physical "brick and mortar" store) or an online transaction (e.g., a cardholder-not-present purchase made from an online retailer via a website).
Defining Financial Transaction Rules
In accordance with a further aspect of the presently disclosed techniques, a primary account holder may define financial transaction rules having multiple tiers or levels of authorization with regard one or more of the transaction criteria discussed above. For example, where a financial transaction rule limits an amount that the subsidiary account holder may spend per transaction (e.g., per purchase), the primary account holder may define multiple transaction limits being associated with different respective control actions. For example, the multiple transaction limits may include a first transaction limit associated with a first control action (e.g., notifying the primary account holder for purchases exceeding the first limit) and a second transaction limit associated with a second control action (e.g., requesting authorization from the primary account holder for purchases exceeding the second limit).
About Apple's Patent Figures
Apple's patent FIGS. 7A and 7B show a plurality of screens that may be displayed on a future iPhone with Near Field Communications. It illustrates the configuration of a financial transaction rule for the subsidiary financial account; FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating how financial transaction rules for the subsidiary financial account may be updated; FIGS. 9A/C/D show a plurality of screens that may be displayed on an iOS device illustrating the configuration of additional financial transaction rules for the subsidiary financial account; FIGS. 14A and 14B show screens that may be displayed on a Mac for configuring financial transaction rules for a subsidiary financial account. The illustrations show that Apple will use iTunes for credit card statements and records.
Apple credits Brandon Casey (San Jose, CA), Gary Wipfler (Los Altos, CA) and Erik Cressall as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q1 2009. Apple's patent is supported by 23 Patent Claims.
Update March 20, 2012: Also See Part 2 - Apple's iWallet: The One that will Rule the World
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Check out Our Latest Report on Patent Bolt Titled:
Here are a Few Great Sites covering our Original Report
Ritholtz - The Big Picture, MacSurfer, StockTradingToGo, NY Times Bits Around the World, Twitter, Facebook, Real Clear Technology, NY Times Blogrunner, Financial Post, Mac Life, Apple Investor News, Google Reader, Macnews, Slashdot, iPhone World Canada, The Mac Observer, MarketWatch,Payment News, Techmeme, 9to5 Mac, iPhoneItalia Italy, Applesfera Spanish, iClarified, NFC World, iDownloadBlog, BGR, WebProNews, Aberto ate de Madrugada Portugal, Geek.com, App Advice, Excite Japan, Luca De Biase Italy, AppleInsider, CNET, MacDailyNews, International Business Times, phoneArena, GiveMeMind, Macerkopf Germany, 20Minutos Spain, AutomatiseringGids Netherlands, New Mobile Life Chinese, Edible Apple, ZDNet Australia, Gazeta Poland, GeekSailor, Law Harvard VRM Project, Electronic Transactions Association, PC Magazine, ZDNet UK, iSpazio Italy, iPhone 5 Latest, NFC News, Gizmodo Germany, Yahoo! News, Digital Trends, The Globe and Mail Canada, Forbes, and more
Note: The sites that we link to above offer you an avenue to make your comments about this report in other languages. These great community sites also provide our guests with varying takes on Apple's latest invention. Whether they're pro or con, you may find them to be interesting, fun or feisty. If you have the time, join in!