News Column

"Configurable Payment Tokens" in Patent Application Approval Process

February 20, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventors Anderson, Lisa (San Francisco, CA); Cushley, Seamus (Derry, IE); Downey, Fergal (Newry, IE), filed on July 26, 2012, was made available online on February 6, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Generally, the present application relates to financial data processing and presentation thereof. Specifically, methods, systems, and devices are presented for merchant-customizable token codes used for online shopping and preventing identity theft.

"Accepting credit card, debit card, prepaid card, and other payment cards is a given for many retail merchants. For online merchants, accepting PayPal.RTM. payments, Google Checkout.TM. payments, and other alternate electronic payment types in addition to traditional credit card payments is becoming more common. Interfacing with the plethora of payment brands that customers expect to be available for payment transactions can be daunting, especially given the regulatory burden of financial regulations, industry standards, and security considerations.

"Some merchants contract with third-party payment services in order to facilitate interfacing with the different types of payment networks. CyberSource of Mountain View, Calif., is one such third party payment service.

"Third-party payment services not only take care of maintaining interfaces between a contracting merchant and payment networks, they also offer other services such as risk management, hosted order pages (e.g., redirected online checkout web pages), and silent order posts (e.g., secure fields for a merchant's online checkout web page). These services are in addition to servicing the day-to-day payment transactions of merchants.

"In a typical payment transaction, a merchant sends an authorization request for a customer's payment to the third-party payment service, and the third-party payment service forwards the authorization request to the proper entity. This entity often is one of many third-party vendors with which the third-party payment service contracts. The entity then obtains an approval for the authorization request--an 'authorization'--from the customer's bank, etc. The authorization confirms that the customer indeed has money (or credit) in his or her account to pay for the transaction and also locks down or otherwise reserves the money (or credit) in the account.

"For example, for a merchant whose bank is Wells Fargo, an authorization request for payment from a customer's Visa credit card is forwarded to Wells Fargo (i.e., the acquirer). Wells Fargo then obtains an authorization for the request through VisaNet.TM. from the customer's bank that issued the credit card (i.e., the issuer).

"Hosted order pages and silent order posts allow a merchant to avoid collecting customers' credit card numbers and related specifics. Instead, the third-party payment service presents the credit card entry web page or fields for the user to enter his or her information. Because the merchant does not collect the information, it can avoid the burdens related to being payment card industry (PCI) data security standard (DSS) compliant.

"There are difficulties associated with hosted order pages and silent order posts. For one, customers prefer a seamless interface so that it appears that he or she is not being redirected to a third party in order to make a purchase. It has also been found that seeing the order specifics on the payment page helps remind the customer of why he or she is spending money, perhaps easing the purchase along. If order specifics are to be shown on a third party web site, then that information must be packaged and sent to the third party web site. There is also the complication of robustly handling a user who clicks a Back or Cancel button on his or her web browser. With all of the difficulties, it may be easier to keep as much of the payment selections on the merchant's web site as possible.

"A need exists in the art for better coordination of merchant web sites and third-party vendors that facilitate payments."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Methods and systems are disclosed for creating and using payment tokens--which represent credit card or other payment account numbers--whose format is customized. The customizable formats of the tokens can include the number of characters in the token such that the token can be a different length than the standard 16-digit format of payment cards. The format can include using a combination of letters and numbers, specifying certain characters for specific card brands, and using encryption and/or randomization for other areas of the token.

"Some embodiments of the present application are related to a method of generating merchant-customizable payment tokens. The method includes receiving from a secure web site a payment account number from a customer for a first transaction with a merchant web site, retrieving a token format from a database, the token format configured by a merchant associated with the merchant web site, and generating, using at least one processor operatively coupled to a memory, a token representing the payment account number, the token including a plurality of characters, a portion of the token generated using a random number generator and a format of the token conforming with the token format. The method further includes receiving from the merchant web site an indication for a second transaction from the customer, sending to the merchant web site the token representing the payment account number, receiving a selection of the token from the merchant web site, and initiating a payment transaction using the payment account number based on the selection

"Some embodiments are related to a method of generating customizable payment tokens. The method includes receiving from a merchant a payment token format specifying an alphanumeric field, the token format specifying a character length of a payment token, generating, using at least one processor operatively coupled with a memory, a payment token representing a payment account number, a field of the generated token representing an encrypted portion of the payment account number and having at least one letter, the generating conducted in response to a first transaction, receiving a selection of the token from a merchant web site, and initiating a payment transaction using the payment account number based on the selection

"Other embodiments relate to machine-readable tangible storage media and computer systems that employ or store instructions for the methods described above.

"A further understanding of the nature and the advantages of the embodiments disclosed and suggested herein may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification and the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 illustrates a merchant shopping cart page of the prior art.

"FIG. 2 illustrates a secure third-party credit card entry web page of the prior art.

"FIG. 3 illustrates a secure third-party web page for selecting a previously-used card of the prior art.

"FIG. 4 illustrates a merchant web page for selecting a previously-used card in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 5 illustrates a merchant defining a token format for a secure third-party in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 6 illustrates a customer's submitting a credit card number to a secure third party and generation of a token in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 7 illustrates a customer's selection of a token through a merchant in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 8 is a system sequence diagram of customer's first use of a card in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 9 is a system sequence diagram of customer's subsequent use of a card in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 10 illustrates a token customization interface in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 11 illustrates a token format in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 12 illustrates a token format in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 13 illustrates a token format in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 14 illustrates a token format in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 15 is a flowchart of a process in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 16 is a flowchart of a process in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 17 illustrates payment authorization in accordance with an embodiment.

"FIG. 18 shows a block diagram of an exemplary computer apparatus that can be used in some embodiments.

"The figures will now be used to illustrate different embodiments in accordance with the invention. The figures are specific examples of embodiments and should not be interpreted as limiting embodiments, but rather exemplary forms and procedures."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Anderson, Lisa; Cushley, Seamus; Downey, Fergal. Configurable Payment Tokens. Filed July 26, 2012 and posted February 6, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=969&p=20&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140130.PD.&OS=PD/20140130&RS=PD/20140130

Keywords for this news article include: Patents.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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