A new patent application published by Google gives a unique insight into a possible mobile version of Google Checkout.
The Text Message Payment patent, filed on February 28th 2006, details how text messages could be used to pay for goods from vending machines and retailers as well as secure methods for validating larger payment amounts.
With Google widely tipped to launch a mobile phone later this year a payment system would be a logical extra item to make the Google Phone stand out amongst its competitors. Certainly Google would like to have at least one “killer application” before it tried to break the mobile market and a payment system would seem a good solution.
The abstract discusses a “computer-implemented method of effectuating an electronic on-line payment” while the patent talks about how the system will work and why it is useful:
The payment process may occur through the simple composition by the payor of a text message that includes identifying information for the payee and an amount of the payment. The message may then be sent to a payment processing system, which may debit an account of the payor (i.e., reduce it in value), credit an account of the payee (i.e., increase it in value, such as monetary value), and notify either or both of the payor or the payee that the money has been transferred.
The inventions described here may provide one or more of the following advantages. Users of mobile devices may be provided with a convenient method of making payments, including when they are far from home, a banking institution, or a cash machine. Users may make micropayments without the overhead of other payment systems. Person-to-person commerce may be aided, so as to permit electronic transactions instead of cash transactions. As a result, users may be able to make transactions without the need to plan ahead and carry cash with them. Tracking and reporting of transactions may also occur, so that users can more easily summarize activity in their financial accounts without extensive manual bookkeeping operations. Transactions may occur that would not otherwise be trustworthy or safe using cash.
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