Patent Issued for Mobile Subscriber Device For Financial Transaction Tokens (USPTO 10,275,762)

Information Technology Business Daily |

2019 MAY 15 (NewsRx) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Business Daily -- Visa USA Inc. (San Francisco, California, United States) has been issued patent number 10,275,762, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by NewsRx editors.

The patent’s inventors are Faith, Patrick L. (Pleasanton, CA); Hammad, Ayman (Pleasanton, CA).

This patent was filed on and was published online on .

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: “Increasingly, consumers have come to rely on debit, credit, and stored value cards as a preferred vehicle to provide payment for transactions. Credit cards provide ready access to funds, offer financial protection superior to cash or checks, support loyalty programs, and allow consumers to take advantage of purchasing opportunities when funds may not be otherwise available. As debit and stored value cards have become increasingly popular, the need for consumers to carry cash or checkbooks is still further reduced.

“Within the past few years, card associations and issuers have been providing transaction cards that are enhanced with features beyond the typical embossed account number, expiration date, cardholder name, and signature area. ‘Smart cards,’ for example, have now come into popular use, and allow for enhanced security of both debit and credit cards by use of onboard integrated circuits to provide memory and optional microprocessor functionality. Smart cards and other enhanced or memory cards or tokens have found uses from replacements for simple embossed credit/debit cards, toll booth payment, ATM card replacements, and even Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in cellular handsets.

“Even though smart cards and electronics-enhanced cards have provided improvements over traditional credit cards, they suffer from a number of deficiencies. For example, electronics circuitry on enhanced financial transaction cards must receive externally-provided power to operate. To obtain power from a merchant’s financial or Point-Of-Service (POS) terminal, contact-type smart cards use a physical connector interface; two of such interfaces are defined ISO standards 7810 and 7816. However, many types of cards not in physical contact with a POS terminal or other power source cannot operate, and therefore these cards are necessarily inactive at all other times. Alternatively, some enhanced financial transaction cards obtain power from a terminal-generated RF electromagnetic field by way of an inductor that is part of the card’s circuitry. For example, ISO 14443 defines a popular contact less financial transaction card protocol. However, current contactless cards must be in close proximity to the properly modulated electromagnetic field in order to operate (10 cm in the case of ISO 14443-compliant cards). Due to the intentionally limited power and range of such short range fields, RF-powered cards cannot operate outside of the immediate area of a merchant’s POS terminal, and may not have sufficient power in some cases to provide sophisticated electronic computations or support more power consuming circuitry such as displays. Further, embedded chips of some contactless smart cards often employ cryptographic security algorithms that can be ‘cracked’ or decoded if the time and electrical current required for certain encryption or decryption operations is measured. Several demonstrations of this mode of account compromise have been documented, and thus, the possibility of surreptitious measurement of such parameters without knowledge of the cardholder presents a significant security risk.

“What is needed then is a mobile subscriber unit that interfaces to a financial token or card, wherein the token or card has an energy storage mechanism. What is further needed is a mobile subscriber unit for a financial transaction card or token that has an onboard power source that does not utilize the hazardous chemicals associated with typical power sources such as replaceable or rechargeable batteries. What is also needed is a mobile subscriber unit that utilizes a financial transaction card or token that has a power source that is rechargeable and has a form factor that may be easily carried in a pocket or purse. What is further needed is a mobile subscriber unit for a financial transaction token that can allow the token to operate in an environment significantly removed from a POS terminal. What is also needed is a mobile subscriber unit for a financial transaction token that utilizes an onboard power source to provide cryptographic security and protect the token when not in use. What is still further needed is a mobile subscriber unit that may reprogram a financial transaction card or token to encode a variety of types of account information, thereby allowing for payment flexibility using the financial transaction token. What is also needed is a mobile subscriber unit for a financial transaction token that allows the holder to view information stored in the token without being in proximity to a POS terminal. What is also needed is a mobile subscriber unit for a financial token transaction token that allows the holder to charge an energy storage device on the financial token and view the charge status of the financial tokens’ energy source. What is also needed is a mobile communications device that can provide payment for financial transactions though an internally retained financial token.”

Supplementing the background information on this patent, NewsRx reporters also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent: “There is provided a mobile subscriber unit for a financial transaction token. The financial token has an onboard power storage device that enables the financial token or card that is in communication with the subscriber unit to operate when the card or token is not in the proximity of a merchant terminal (e.g.; a POS terminal). In one implementation, the onboard power storage device includes a rechargeable battery or capacitor such as a thin-film capacitor that stores sufficient energy to power the subscriber unit’s onboard electronics and/or the electronics of a financial token in communication with the subscriber unit. The subscriber unit may comprise a consumer device or may be a subcomponent of another consumer device such as a computing device, communications device, an item of clothing, an item of jewelry, a cell phone, a PDA, an identification card, a money holder, a wallet, a purse, a briefcase, or a personal organizer.

“In one implementation, the subscriber unit includes a housing with a user interface, an integrated processor and storage, an onboard power source, and an interface to a financial token such as a smart card. The user interface optionally has an exposed region that is provided for encoding data including an account to pay for a transaction. The encoding renders data in several alternate or complementary formats, such as light- or laser-scannable bar coding on a display, electromagnetic signals that are transmitted to a merchant receiver, external contact pads for a contact-based pickup, and a magnetic stripe assembly. Using the exposed area, the subscriber unit may complete a transaction with a merchant as a proxy for a financial token that is in communication with the subscriber unit. In one implementation, a financial token that is in communication with the subscriber unit may be reprogrammed by the subscriber unit by accepting inputs from the subscriber unit’s user interface, and a the subscriber unit’s integrated processor transmits data to a processor embedded in the token, which in turn accepts the information and executes software in a processor located within the token to effect the reprogramming. This reprogrammable feature enables the holder of the subscriber unit to secure the token by erasing a display or magnetic stripe or locking the token from unauthorized use. The subscriber unit, when access is granted to a user, may perform calculations such as adding a tip from a predetermined tip percentage, or selecting payment to occur from a variety of different financial accounts. In one implementation, a magnetic stripe assembly in proximity to the token is reprogrammable, so that the token’s embedded processor may select a particular account from input specified in the subscriber unit’s user interface, and provide instructions to reprogram the magnetic stripe. In another implementation, the subscriber unit possesses read/write heads that are capable of reprogramming a financial token as the token is placed within or removed from a retaining cavity within the subscriber unit’s housing. The token’s magnetic stripe may then be swiped through a conventional merchant magnetic stripe reader to initiate payment for a transaction. In yet another implementation, the account information or transaction authorization protocol stored within a financial token’s memory is relayed to a mobile subscriber unit with which it is in communication, and a financial transaction is completed by the subscriber unit in proxy for or in lieu of the token. In another implementation, the token also includes a memory that may optionally be maintained by the onboard power source located within the subscriber unit.

“In another implementation, a mobile subscriber unit interfaces to a financial token and provides a charging current to an energy storage device located within the financial token. In this way, a relatively small capacity energy storage clement can be recharged by placing the token in communication with the subscriber unit, such as by sliding the token within a slot or cavity within the subscriber unit’s housing. An electrical interface may then proceed to charge the financial token’s energy storage element through current provided by a power source in the subscriber unit, or through relaying charging current that is obtained by the subscriber unit’s external charging interface. In another implementation, the subscriber unit for a financial token possesses a charging circuit that can utilize an onboard energy generation capability to recharge the financial token’s energy storage clement and optionally recharge the power source within the subscriber unit.

“In another implementation, a mobile subscriber unit for a financial transaction card is provided that accepts and retains the card within a protective housing. The card may have a substantially rigid substrate not unlike conventional credit cards and an onboard energy storage device such as a thin-film capacitor. The card includes, in one implementation, a conventional or reprogrammable magnetic stripe assembly that is disposed proximal the substrate. As mentioned previously, the reprogrammable substrate may be configured by an embedded processor that is commanded through inputs provided to a mobile subscriber unit with which the card is in communication therewith. In one implementation, the user provides input through a keyboard or an array of contact pads or blister buttons on or integrated into the subscriber unit’s housing. Alternately, the user input section may include a biometric input device that scans fingerprints or other biometric data to authenticate the user of the subscriber unit, or may have a pressure-sensitive area for inputting a predetermined access glyph such as by the user dragging a fingertip over a pad to reproduce a symbol that the user has previously identified. In one embodiment, the housing of the subscriber unit retains and protects the card from unauthorized access, such as by preventing physical access to the card through a locking retaining mechanism, and/or by providing shielding against electromagnetic radiation including RF signals.

“Various features and advantages of the invention can be more fully appreciated with reference to the detailed description and accompanying drawings that follow.”

The claims supplied by the inventors are:

“What is claimed is:

“1. A programmable device comprising: a mobile subscriber unit in a form of a wearable item, wherein the mobile subscriber unit comprises: an integrated processor configured to communicate with an interface of a financial transaction token comprising a memory storing data regarding an account, wherein the financial transaction token comprises payment account data; storage, coupled to the integrated processor and configured to store and retrieve code executable by the integrated processor; and a transceiver coupled to the integrated processor; wherein the integrated processor is configured to detect through the transceiver of the mobile subscriber unit a signal requesting initiation of a transaction received from a merchant access device, and wherein the mobile subscriber unit conducts transactions as a proxy for the financial transaction token, and wherein the financial transaction token conducts transactions independently of the mobile subscriber unit.

“2. The programmable device of claim 1, wherein the wearable item is jewelry.

“3. The programmable device of claim 1, wherein the wearable item comprises an onboard energy source.

“4. The programmable device of claim 3, wherein the onboard energy source is a thin film capacitor.

“5. The programmable device of claim 1, wherein the financial transaction token further comprises an electrical interface in communication with the integrated processor of the mobile subscriber unit, and the mobile subscriber unit is further configured to: obtain, through the electrical interface of the financial transaction token, the payment account data; and transmit the payment account data through the transceiver.

“6. A mobile subscriber unit comprising: an integrated processor configured to communicate with an interface of a financial transaction token, wherein the financial transaction token comprises: a memory storing data regarding an account, a substrate of a payment card encoded with payment account data, and an energy storage device located within the financial transaction token; a power source located in the mobile subscriber unit, wherein the integrated processor is configured to: receive a communication from the financial transaction token, and relay a charging current from the power source located in the mobile subscriber unit to the energy storage device located within the financial transaction token; and wherein a transaction is conducted in one of two modes, including the mobile subscriber unit acting as a proxy for the financial transaction token to conduct the transaction, and the financial transaction token conducts the transaction independently of the mobile subscriber unit.

“7. The mobile subscriber unit of claim 6, wherein the power source utilizes an onboard energy generation capability to generate the charging current for the energy storage device located within the financial transaction token.

“8. The mobile subscriber unit of claim 7, wherein the power source is a thin film capacitor.

“9. The mobile subscriber unit of claim 6, wherein the mobile subscriber unit further comprises a second energy storage device, and wherein the power source utilizes an onboard energy generation capability to generate the charging current for the second energy storage device.

“10. The mobile subscriber unit of claim 6, wherein the mobile subscriber unit further comprises a second interface, and the second interface displays a keyboard.

“11. A mobile payment system for effecting payment for a financial transaction, the mobile payment system comprising: a financial transaction token comprising an interface; a memory storing data regarding an account; and an embedded processor coupled to the memory; a mobile subscriber unit comprising: an integrated processor configured to communicate with the interface of the financial transaction token; storage, coupled to the integrated processor and configured to store and retrieve code executable by the integrated processor; and a transceiver coupled to the integrated processor, wherein the integrated processor executes at least some of the code stored in the storage to: (1) command the embedded processor of the financial transaction token to assume an active state; (2) configure the financial transaction token to select the account for use in the financial transaction; (3) obtain data regarding the selected account; and (4) transmit the data regarding the selected account through the transceiver; wherein the financial transaction token is programmable to initiate transactions independently of the mobile subscriber unit and the mobile subscriber unit is programmable to initiate transactions independently of the financial transaction token.

“12. The mobile payment system of claim 11, wherein the mobile subscriber unit conducts transactions as a proxy for the financial transaction token.

“13. The mobile payment system of claim 11, wherein the mobile subscriber unit comprises an onboard energy source.

“14. The mobile payment system of claim 13, wherein the onboard energy source is a thin film capacitor.

“15. The mobile payment system of claim 11, wherein the financial transaction token further comprises an electrical interface in communication with the integrated processor of the mobile subscriber unit.”

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Faith, Patrick L.; Hammad, Ayman. Mobile Subscriber Device For Financial Transaction Tokens. U.S. Patent Number 10,275,762, filed , and published online on . Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=10,275,762.PN.&OS=PN/10,275,762RS=PN/10,275,762

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