This week’s wrapup of the latest in payments patent applications and patents issued.

MasterCard: Why Limit POS Communications To Payments?

In a U.S. Patent application filed by MasterCard on Jan. 14, the card brand envisioned using POS data connections as a more flexible communication system, with messages going “to an entity that is neither a payment account issuer nor the transaction acquirer.”

“The payment network may provide a portion of a two-way communication channel between such a third party and the POS terminal One particularly useful application for this type of novel communication via a payment network may be for recording and tracking information relevant to product warranties,” the filing said.

MasterCard: Mobile Method For Loading Prepaid Cards

In another Jan. 14 Patent application, the card brand touts a “method for loading a prepaid card, the method executed at a service layer of a payment facilitator, the method comprising: receiving, from a mobile application installed at a mobile device, a pay-and-load request to load the prepaid card with a desired amount, the pay-and-load request comprising payment details; retrieving a quote stored at the service layer, the quote corresponding to the pay-and-load request; transmitting, to a payment gateway, a payment authorisation request comprising the payment details and a payment amount indicated by the retrieved quote; receiving an authorisation response from the payment gateway responsive to the payment authorisation request; and transmitting, to a payment processing platform, a load request to load the prepaid card with the desired amount, if the authorisation response indicates a successful authorization.”

PayPal: Web Browser Payment Authentication

PayPal on Jan. 14 proposed to the U.S. Patent Office a way to authenticate transactions using a specific browser.

“Methods and systems of the present disclosure provide a “wallet” or “purse” that is associated with a particular machine, device, or web browser, such as Internet Explorer, where the wallet can be used to make payments for goods or services without the user having to go through several steps to authenticate the payment. In one embodiment, the user creates and pre-funds an account associated with the wallet, through a payment provider, such as PayPal, Inc. of San Jose, Calif. The amount funded can be a small amount, such as $5, determined by the user or by the payment provider. The funding can be through an account of the user with the payment provider or an outside funding source, such as a bank account or credit card. The user may have multiple wallet-accounts, one for each different machine, device, or browser. Each account is associated with a machine, device, or browser, such as by the user creating the account through the particular machine, device, or browser. The payment provider communicates with the machine, device, or browser, such that when the user logs into the machine, device, or browser, an icon, button, or other indicator of the “wallet” or “purse” appears. In this way, the funds are associated to a particular machine-browser combination (or other such combinations) and thus provides against fraudulent use of the account since the fraudulent party would have to take possession of the machine to “authenticate.”

“After logging in to the machine, the user, when using the specific device, machine, or browser, can select the icon to make a purchase. The user may indicate the amount of purchase or the purchase amount may be automatically indicated when an item or service is selected. The amount is deducted from the user’s specialized account, and payment is made to a merchant, host, or developer. Thus, the user is able to purchase services/items on web sites by leveraging the machine-browser to authenticate with the payment provider. Because the wallet is associated with the machine, device or browser, the machine, device, or browser has its own stored value. This makes minor purchases much easier for the user. In another embodiment, a unique motion of a mouse, pointer, or device that is associated with a user and device enables the user to be authenticated if the motion matches what is expected. For example, a user may “register” a motion with a system, such as a payment provider. When the user wishes to access the system and/or device, the user performs the motion. The system compares the motion with a stored motion and determines whether the user is the registered user. If so, access is granted. This may also be used to enhance the seamless authentication embodiment above. Other ways to enhance security may include flash-stored objects, browser-based cookies, and hardware/software “fingerprints” (e.g., unique code of the motherboard).”