Apple Files Patent for Mobile Payments

Jan. 23, 2014

Apple Files Patent for Mobile Payments As the payment world continues to wait for Apple to more than dip its toe in the mobile payment pool, a patent filing made public last week sheds some light on the company’s thinking. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published Apple’s application for a “Method to send payment data through various air interfaces without compromising user data.” According to the application, the Apple’s system would utilize two separate over-the-air connections. First the user’s phone could communicate with the POS either via NFC, which the company has not included support for in iPhones, or via Bluetooth, which might make more sense since the introduction of iBeacon.

The second mode of communication described in the patent connects the POS device via WiFi with a backend server to complete the purchase. Apple intends to store the user’s payment-card information securely on the device similar to how the iPhone 5s protects the information from the Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

To make the payment, a user taps their iPhone at the POS and an alias is transmitted along with a cryptographic code. The alias code is decrypted by the backend and compared to the one it already stores. The backend never holds the actual payment information.