Apple Awarded iWallet Patent

Apple has been awarded an “iWallet” patent that, among other things, would link mobile payments to your iTunes account.

As reported by Patently Apple, the iWallet patent would allow credit card companies to send customers their statements via iTunes. There are also various customization options, like parental controls.

As a result, iWallet users could set up rules for access to specific accounts, whether that’s between a parent and child or employer and employee. There could also be restrictions based on a particular time period, location, or a combination of the two, as well as specific categories. Consumer electronics? OK. Clothing? No.

If someone tries to violate these rules, certain measures will be put into place, like “automatically declining the subsidiary transaction, notifying the primary account holder of the transaction, as well as requiring or requesting authorization from the primary account holder before the subsidiary transaction is approved,” Patently Apple said.

Images attached to the patent application show an iPhone screen for “Card Profile.” Users could select their credit card, set up billing alerts, add or delete those who have access to the account, and set spending limits.

If a child is attached to the account, they could specify that purchases at Best Buy are OK, but purchases from Apple require consent from the account holder, for example. Parents could also restrict purchases of alcohol or tobacco, or cut them off if they hit a certain spending limit.

In iTunes (below), iWallet would show up in the left-hand bar under “Services,” which would provide access to Card Profiles, Purchases, Summary, Preferences, and Messages.

Patently Apple noted that Apple’s first iWallet patent surfaced in May 2010, the same year that near-field communication (NFC) technology started popping up in the market. But the technology has yet to really catch on, thanks in part to some security concerns, as well as the fact that it hasn’t been deployed on a large number of phones.

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