Another captivating Apple patent application referring to a hybrid digital wallet and billing service was discovered on Thursday. The service seems to be issuing credits and tokens to users, these having the possibility to exchange them afterwards, for real world goods or services like a cellular phone bill.
The patent was first filed for in Great Britain in 2008 before being terminated and reassigned to Apple, the inventors being Janne Aaltonen and Sami Saru.
What appears to be a wide-ranging virtual currency solution that covers cell bill payments, tangible goods purchases, peer-to-peer money transfer, and even more has been published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office being named as a “Method and system for managing credits via a mobile device.”
According to the patent abstract, the user of the mobile device, benefits of a maintained account of available credit, the authorization to issue credit being given just as a request for credit for the mobile device is received. The account keeps track of how the virtual currency is being used.
In order to enable the user to purchase items by using its mobile device, the credit may be offset, or sponsored, by one or more token providers, such as advertisers, and issued to the user, upon authorization.
What appears to be very interesting is that this method allows for advertisers to be billed directly, instead of sending invoices for said services to the user.
In addition, the billing system is connected with the communication network on which a credit carrying mobile device is operating. This is the reason why the usage patterns can be monitored in real time.
As stated above, the users have the possibility to purchase real world items via point of sale terminals, even though the tokens and coupons may remain in the digital domain. Therefore, when it comes to the ability of the coupons to remain stored on the mobile device, in order to be exchanged for real goods when the user desires, the digital wallet seems similar to Apple Passbook.
An additional interesting feature of this invention is the fact that creating lines of credit, provisions for connecting with bank accounts is allowed.
This solution represents amazing news for those who are interested having an iPhone, for example, but cannot afford it, as well as for the cellular carriers in developing nations, where Apple already used an “aggressive approach” by adding cash discounts to the iPhone deals.