News Column

Patent Issued for Method and System for Conducting Promotional Programs

February 20, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- Visa U.S.A. Inc. (San Francisco, CA) has been issued patent number 8645204, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventor is Patterson, Barbara (South San Francisco, CA).

This patent was filed on October 21, 2010 and was published online on February 4, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "Some conventional systems allow credit card processing companies to uniquely identify types of merchants. Once identified, specialized processing can take place for those merchant types. Such systems focused on the merchant relationships with card issuers, merchant acquirers, or both. The original intent of these relationships was to characterize a transaction for an appropriate interchange fee.

"An 'interchange fee' is a fee that is paid by an acquirer to an issuer for transactions that are processed. An 'interchange' process is the standardized electronic exchange of financial and non-financial data associated with sale and credit data between merchant acquirers and card issuers. The interchange process typically occurs at the end of the day, after all financial transactions for that day have been completed. It is part of the clearing and settlement part of the payment process, as opposed to the authorization part of the payment process. These two parts of the payment process are described in detail below.

"Since different types of merchants may sell goods or services of different values and different volumes, different interchange fees may be appropriate for different merchants. In such conventional systems, a transaction processing system may use a merchant identification value to identify the particular type of merchant that is performing a particular transaction and to assign a proper interchange fee to that transaction. For example, restaurants may be entitled to a lower interchange fee than car dealers, since restaurants typically generate more credit and debit card transactions than car dealers. Car dealers may be assigned one identification number and restaurants may be assigned another identification number. The identification number can be used by a central computer to identify the type of merchant associated with a transaction so that an appropriate interchange fee can be applied to the transaction.

"Others have described the use of merchant values to distinguish between authorized and unauthorized merchants. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,956,695 describes the use of a merchant identification value in an authorization process in a debit card reward redemption process. In the redemption process, a participant may use a debit card at a particular merchant to redeem points and conduct a transaction using those points. At that particular merchant, the merchant identification value may be sent to a filter processor with an authorization request message. The filter processor may then use the merchant identification value to determine if the merchant is an authorized merchant (i.e., one that is participating in the reward redemption process). This is done as a fraud prevention and verification measure.

"Although merchant identification values have been used and described in the credit card industry, they have not been used in conjunction with specific merchants and with specific consumers. They have also not been used to provide immediate feedback to a consumer at the point of sale.

"It would be desirable to provide for improved systems and methods that can encourage the use of portable consumer devices such as credit cards or debit cards."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "Embodiments of the invention are directed to methods and systems that can use merchant verification values with promotional programs. Such promotional programs may include rewards programs, contests, etc. that can be used to provide incentives to consumers to use electronic forms of payment. Other embodiments of the invention can be directed to methods and systems that can conduct promotional programs such as contests using the authorization process in an electronic payment transaction.

"One embodiment of the invention is directed to a method comprising: receiving an authorization request message including a merchant verification value through a payment processing network, wherein the authorization request message is associated with a purchase by a consumer; determining a merchant-specific promotional program using the merchant verification value; and performing the determined merchant specific promotional program after receiving the authorization request message.

"Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a computer readable medium comprising: code for receiving an authorization request message including a merchant verification value through a payment processing network, wherein the authorization request message is associated with a purchase by a consumer; code for determining a merchant-specific promotional program using the merchant verification value; and code for performing the determined merchant specific promotional program after receiving the authorization response.

"Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a method comprising: receiving an authorization request message, wherein the authorization request message is associated with a purchase by a consumer; after receiving the authorization request message, determining if the consumer is a winner in a contest; and if the consumer is a winner, sending a response message to the consumer, wherein the response message includes an indication that the consumer is a winner.

"Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a computer readable medium comprising: code for receiving an authorization request message, wherein the authorization request message is associated with a purchase by a consumer; code for determining if the consumer is a winner in a contest after receiving the authorization request message; and code for sending a response message to the consumer, if the consumer is a winner, wherein the response message includes an indication that the consumer is a winner.

"These and other embodiments of the invention are described in further detail below."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Patterson, Barbara. Method and System for Conducting Promotional Programs. U.S. Patent Number 8645204, filed October 21, 2010, and published online on February 4, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=29&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1424&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140204.PD.&OS=ISD/20140204&RS=ISD/20140204

Keywords for this news article include: Legal Issues, Visa U.S.A. Inc.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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