The assignee for this patent application is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to electronic transaction processing. More particularly, the present disclosure is directed to a method and system for communicating with a payment cardholder based on electronic transactions involving the card acceptor.
"The use of payment cards for a broad spectrum of cashless transactions has become ubiquitous in the current economy, accounting for hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions during 2010 alone. The process and parties involved can be visualized for example as presented in FIG. 1, and can be thought of as a cycle, as indicated by arrow 10.
"A cardholder 12 may present a payment card 14 to a merchant 16 as payment for goods and/or services. The payment card 14 here is emblematic of any transaction device, real or virtual, by which the cardholder and/or the source of funds for the payment may be identified.
"In cases where the merchant 16 has an established merchant account with an acquiring bank (also called the acquirer) 20, the merchant communicates with the acquirer to secure payment on the transaction. An acquirer 20 is a party or entity, typically a bank, which is authorized by the network operator 22 to acquire network transactions on behalf of customers of the acquirer 20 (e.g., merchant 16). Occasionally, the merchant 16 does not have an established merchant account with an acquirer 20, but may secure payment on a transaction thought a third-party payment provider 18. The third party payment provider 18 does have a merchant account with an acquirer 20, and is further authorized by the acquirer 20 and the network operator 22 to acquire payments on network transactions on behalf of sub-merchants. In this way, the merchant 16 can be authorized and able to accept the payment card 14 from a cardholder 12, despite not having a merchant account with an acquirer 20.
"The acquirer 20 routes the transaction request to the network operator 22. The data included in the transaction request will identify the source of funds for the transaction. With this information, the network operator routes the transaction to the issuer 24. An issuer 24 is a party or entity, typically a bank, which is authorized by the network operator 22 to issue payment cards 14 on behalf of its customers (e.g., cardholder 12) for use in transactions to be completed on the network. The issuer 24 also provides the funding of the transaction to the network provider 22 for transactions that it approves in the process described. The issuer 24 may approve or authorize the transaction request based on criteria such as a cardholder's credit limit, account balance, or in certain instances more detailed and particularized criteria including transaction amount, merchant classification, etc., which may optionally be determined in advance in consultation with the cardholder and/or a party having financial ownership or responsibility for the account(s) funding the payment card, if not solely the cardholder 12.
"The issuer 24 decision to authorize or decline the transaction is routed through the network operator 22 and acquirer 20, ultimately to the merchant 16 at the point of sale. This entire process is typically carried out by electronic communication, and under routine circumstances (i.e., valid card, adequate funds, etc.) can be completed in a matter of seconds. It permits the merchant 16 to engage in transactions with a cardholder 12, and the cardholder 12 to partake of the benefits of cashless payment, while the merchant 16 can be assured that payment is secured. This is enabled without the need for a preexisting one-to-one relationship between the merchant 16 and every cardholder 12 with whom they may engage in a transaction.
"The authorization may also be separate in time from the consummation of the transaction. In some cases, an authorization will be taken by a merchant 16, but payment is not made until goods are delivered or the services performed some time later. In any case, on a periodic basis, e.g., daily, the merchant 16 will submit a batch of completed and authorized transactions to the acquirer 20 to receive payment. The acquirer will in turn look to the network operator for payment in a process called 'clearing'. The clearing records, or list of cleared transactions including data relevant thereto in form and content specified by the network operator 22, is transmitted to the issuer 24.
"The issuer 24 may then look to its customer, e.g., cardholder 12 or other party having financial ownership or responsibility for the account(s) funding the payment card, for payment on approved transactions, for example through an existing line of credit where the payment card 14 is a credit card, or from funds on deposit where the payment card 14 is a debit card. The issuer 24 will prepare a periodic statement 26 listing transactions on the account of a cardholder 12, including merchant data as provided by the network operator 22.
"Conventionally, the cardholder's periodic statement 26 contains only minimal information pertaining to the merchant and the network operator. Specifically, the statement 26 will typically only identify the name of the merchant 16 and, perhaps, a location of the merchant. It is often desirable, from the point of view of both the merchant 16 and the network operator 22, to provide the cardholder 12 with additional information within the periodic statement 26 pertaining to the merchant and/or network operator. For example, additional information provided within the statement 26, which might entice the cardholder 12 to purchase additional goods and/or services from the merchant 16 and/or further utilize the services of the network operator 22 would naturally benefit the merchant and/or network operator.
"Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a method and system in which such information can be automatically communicated to the client based on certain predetermined criteria."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The present invention involves a method for providing enhanced merchant information to the user of a cashless payment device. The method generally includes the step of receiving a transaction request from an acquirer on behalf of a merchant in a cashless transaction clearing record, wherein the transaction request includes data identifying the merchant and the payment device. The data identifying the merchant is then compared to a database including a list of participating merchants to determine if a match exists in the database. In response to determining a match exists in the database between the data identifying the merchant in the transaction request and the list of participating merchants, it is then determined whether the data identifying the merchant in the transaction request should be enhanced with additional merchant information or information related to a program the merchant participates in. If so, data enhancement is performed and the transaction request having the additional merchant or program information is forwarded to an issuer of the payment device.
"In a preferred embodiment, the method further includes the steps of comparing the data identifying the merchant to a database including merchant add-on data entries to determine if a match exists in the database and, in response to determining a match exists in the database, appending the merchant add-on data entry to the transaction request before forwarding the transaction request to the issuer of the payment device.
"The add-on data entry for the corresponding merchant or program the merchant participates in may include one or more of a legal entity name of the merchant or program, a URL of the merchant or program, a telephone number of the merchant, informative text relating to the merchant or program, text which may include a call to action with respect to the merchant, or any combination of the above. The add-on data entry for the corresponding merchant may also include information relating to services provided by the merchant, including, for example, an offers program, a points based rewards/loyalty program, a cash-back based rewards/loyalty program, a rebate based rewards/loyalty program, or any combination of the above.
"The method further preferably includes the steps of identifying secondary information within the transaction request, comparing the secondary information to a database including secondary criteria data entries to determine if a match exists in the database and, in response to determining a match exists in the database, performing the data enhancement before forwarding the transaction request having the additional merchant information to an issuer of the payment device. Such secondary criteria may include at least one of a transaction date, a transaction time, a transaction location, a transaction point of sale entry mode, an indication of a cross-border transaction, or any combination of the above.
"The present invention further involves a system for providing enhanced merchant information to the user of a cashless payment device, wherein the system generally includes a processor and a computer-readable storage medium having a program of instruction thereon, which when executed by the processor cause the system to perform the method steps described above.
"The present invention further involves a computer-readable storage medium having a program of instruction thereon, which when executed by a processor causes a system to perform the method steps described above.
"As a result of the present invention,
"A preferred form of the method according to the present invention, as well as other embodiments, objects, features and advantages of this invention, will be apparent from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments thereof, which is to be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 illustrates a cycle for cashless transaction processing.
"FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of a card-based payment system.
"FIG. 3 is a flow diagram depicting the process for implementing merchant data enhancement according to a first embodiment of the present disclosure.
"FIG. 4 is a flow chart depicting the process for implementing merchant data enhancement according to a second embodiment of the present disclosure.
"FIG. 5 illustrates a network-enabled system according to a further embodiment of the present disclosure.
"FIG. 6 schematically illustrates a representative server of the system"
For more information, see this patent application: Liscia,
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