To address consumer concerns about information privacy and identity theft, Amazon has filed a patent request with the U.S. Patent Office for “Anonymous Mobile Payments,” which would enable individuals to avoid providing personal or private information when paying funds recipients.
From the patent filing abstract:
“Anonymous mobile payments enable a user to make and/or receive payments without disclosing personal or private information to another party. In some aspects, a provider of a payment may request an anonymous payment for a specified value from a host. In response, the host may transmit to the provider a code that is available for redemption. The provider may then relay the code to a recipient, who may redeem the code from the host. In other aspects, a recipient may request a temporary identifier (special code) from a host. The recipient may relay the temporary identifier to a provider, who may in turn transmit a payment, via the host, using the temporary identifier. The recipient may then claim the payment from the host. In additional aspects, the codes of the anonymous payments may include expiration times and/or restrictions on a number of uses of the code.”
Amazon appears to be taking seriously consumer concerns about identity theft and other problems that could arise when third parties have their personal or private information, and the patent request suggests one way the online merchant may address the issue. Amazon in May also plans to launch its own virtual currency, Amazon Coins, potentially for the same purpose. At launch, it intends to give away tens of millions of dollars in Amazon Coins to customers to spend on Kindle Fire apps, games, or in-app items. But Amazon also views the virtual currency as a means to help app developers to drive more traffic, downloads and revenue. At launch, only U.S. consumers may buy and use Amazon Coins.
Click here to read the patent.