Our weekly look at the most interesting—or perplexing—Patents or Patents Pending from the payments industry brings us two from MasterCard.

MasterCard Wants To Bring The Stylus Back, Plastic Card Style

MasterCard on Tuesday (Jan. 26) was issued a patent for a creative way to integrate a high-tech stylus with plastic cards.

Here’s one problem for the standard stylus hanging by the signature screen: “Because the stylus of a transaction processing system is used by numerous individuals throughout the course of a day the stylus can become quite dirty, harbor bacteria and is generally unsanitary. While purchasing and carrying around a personal stylus is possible to avoid having to touch and use a ‘public’ stylus of a transaction processing system, carrying yet another accessory is inconvenient.”

Before we proceed, have to say “Ich!” Back to the Patent.

“It would be beneficial to have a credit/debit card with an integrated stylus that is specially adapted to be easily and effectively used in a sanitary manner when conducting transactions using an electronic touchscreen and/or signing printed receipts and does not require the user to carry any additional accessories,” the Patent said. ” A transaction card with an integrated stylus is provided, the transaction card includes: a base constructed from a substantially rectangular material having a first and second face forming at least a first thickness. The base is shaped to define a mount that is configured to support a stylus. Also included is a stylus having a stylus arm. The stylus arm is configured to engage the mount and at least a portion of the stylus tip is constructed from a metal alloy of the type which leaves an indelible mark when the metal alloy is abraded on a paper substrate. The transaction also includes an electronic storage medium bearing information presentable to consummate a financial transaction.”

Can Privacy Be Maintained By Analyzing Consumer Spend? Yes, But It’s Not Easy

This one was an application submitted by MasterCard back on Jan. 21.

The patent applicaton described “a method for maintaining consumer privacy in behavioral scoring includes a first computing system and a second computing system. The first computing system disguises consumer characteristics and maps disguised consumer characteristics to unencrypted account identifiers, and then transmits the data to the second computing system. The second computing system encrypts the account identifiers upon receipt, and maps the encrypted account identifiers to anonymous transaction data. The second computing system uses the transaction data to calculate consumer behavioral scores, and then generates a scoring algorithm that uses disguised consumer characteristics to calculate consumer behavior scores based on the calculated consumer behavioral scores and corresponding disguised consumer characteristics. The generated algorithm is then returned to the first computing system, with the second computing system not receiving any unencrypted account identifiers, any undisguised consumer characteristics, or any personally identifiable information.”