Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR APPROVING TRANSACTIONS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In a transaction between a merchant and a payer, approval of the transaction may be provided by a payment processing system using authentication information provided from a mobile device of the payer. The authentication information may include a location of the payer mobile device which may be compared to a location of a merchant payment device such that the transaction is approved if the payer mobile device is within a defined distance of the merchant payment device.



Inventors:
Peterson, Robert W. (Plano, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/629937
Publication Date:
06/09/2011
Filing Date:
12/03/2009
Assignee:
RECURSION SOFTWARE, INC. (Frisco, TX, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
705/30, 705/44, 701/300
International Classes:
G06Q20/00; G01C21/00; G06Q10/00; G06Q30/00; H04L9/32
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
RAVETTI, DANTE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt/SFC-FC (1211 SW Fifth Ave. Suite 1900 Portland OR 97204)
Claims:
1. A method, comprising: identifying a payer from a payer identification device using a merchant payment device; transmitting a request for authentication data from the merchant payment device to a mobile communications device of the payer; transmitting a request for approval of a transaction between a merchant and the payer in response to receiving the authentication data from the merchant payment device.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein transmitting the request for approval comprises: generating a transaction record comprising the authentication data; providing the transaction record to a payment processing system; and receiving the approval of the transaction from the payment processing system in response to the transaction record.

3. The method according to claim 1, wherein the authentication data comprises a location of the mobile communications device.

4. The method according to claim 3, further comprising receiving the approval of the transaction in response to the location of the mobile communications device being within a defined distance of the merchant payment device.

5. The method according to claim 4, further comprising: transmitting a location of the merchant payment device to the payment processing system; and receiving the approval of the transaction in response to at least one of the location of the mobile communications device, the location of the merchant payment device, or a combination of both the location of the mobile communications device and the location of the merchant payment device.

6. The method according to claim 2, further comprising: receiving a transaction history of the payer identification device from the mobile communications device; providing the transaction history to the payment processing system; receiving the approval of the transaction from the payment processing system in response to transaction history.

7. The method according to claim 6, wherein the transaction history is received from the mobile communications device and provided to the payment processing system in an encrypted form.

8. The method according to claim 6, further comprising: receiving second authentication data at the merchant payment device from the payer identification device:, and providing the second authentication data from the payer identification device to the payment processing system.

9. 9.-17. (canceled)

18. A computer-readable storage device comprising computer-executable instructions stored thereon that configure a processing device to perform operations comprising: reading a payment identification device of a payer; identifying a mobile communications device of the payer; requesting authentication information from the mobile communications device; generating a transaction record incorporating the authentication information in response to receiving the authentication information from the mobile communications device; and providing the transaction record to a payment processing system.

19. The computer-readable storage device according to claim 18, wherein the processing device is configured to perform operations further comprising: receiving the authentication information in an encrypted form; and incorporating the encrypted authentication information in the transaction record.

20. The computer-readable storage device according to claim 18, wherein the processing device is configured to perform operations further comprising: determining a location of the processing device; and incorporating the location of the processing device into the transaction record.

21. A device, comprising: an identification module configured to identify a payer from a payer identification; a transmission module configured to transmit a request for authentication data to a mobile device of the payer; and a reception module configured to receive the authentication data from the mobile device in response to the request; wherein the transmission module is further configured to transmit a request for approval of a transaction between a merchant and the payer in response to the authentication data.

22. The device of claim 21, wherein the identification module is further configured to generate a transaction record comprising the authentication data; and wherein the transmission module is further configured to transmit the transaction record to a payment processing system; and wherein the reception module is further configured to receive the approval of the transaction from the payment processing system in response to the transaction record.

23. The device of claim 21, wherein the authentication data includes location data for the mobile device.

24. The device of claim 23, wherein the reception module is further configured to receive the approval of the transaction in response to the location data for the mobile device indicating that the mobile device is at a location geographically within a predefined distance from a location for the device.

25. The device of claim 24, wherein the transmission module is further configured to transmit the location data for the mobile device to a payment processing system; and wherein the reception module is further configured to receive the approval of the transaction in response to at least one of the location for the mobile device, a location for the device, or a combination of both the location for the mobile device and the location for the device.

26. The device of claim 22, wherein the reception module is further configured to receive a transaction history from the mobile device; and wherein the transmission module is further configured to transmit the transaction history to the payment processing device.

27. The device of claim 26, wherein the reception module is further configured to receive the transaction history in an encrypted form; and wherein the transmission module is further configured to transmit the transaction history to the payment processing system in the encrypted form.

28. A method, comprising: receiving a request to approve a transaction between a merchant and a payer, the request comprising a location of a device of the payer and an identification of the payer; and transmitting an approval for the transaction in response to the location of the device being within a predefined distance from a location of the merchant.

29. The method of claim 28, wherein the request further comprises a transaction history of the payer; and wherein transmitting the approval is further in response to the transaction history of the payer.

30. The method of claim 28, further comprising receiving the request in an encrypted form.

31. A computer-readable storage device comprising computer-executable instructions stored thereon that configure a processing device to perform operations comprising: receiving a request to approve a transaction between a merchant and a payer, the request comprising a location of a mobile device of the payer and an identification of the payer; and transmitting an approval for the transaction in response to the location of the mobile device being within a predefined distance from a location of the merchant.

32. The computer-readable storage device according to claim 31, wherein the request further comprises a transaction history of the payer; and wherein the processing device is configured to perform operations further comprising transmitting the approval in response to the transaction history of the payer.

33. The computer-readable storage device according to claim 31, wherein the processing device is configured to perform operations further comprising receiving the request in an encrypted form.

34. A device, comprising: a reception module configured to receive a request to approve a transaction between a merchant and a payer, the request comprising a location of a mobile device of the payer and an identification of the payer; and a transmission module configured to transmit an approval for the transaction in response to the location of the mobile device being within a predefined distance from a location of the merchant.

35. The device of claim 34, wherein the reception module is further configured to receive the request in an encrypted form.

36. The device of claim 34, wherein the request further comprises a transaction history of the payer; and wherein the transmission module is further configured to transmit the approval in response to the transaction history of the payer.

37. The device of claim 34, wherein the reception module is further configured to receive the request in an encrypted form.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This disclosure relates to systems and methods for approving commercial transaction such as transactions between a merchant and a payer. In particular, though not exclusively, the disclosure relates to transactions involving credit cards, debit cards, and the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

With the exception of cash transactions, most commercial transactions between a merchant and a customer typically use some form of payment identification device such as a credit card, debit card, loyalty card, or the like. Such transactions require approval by the administrator or provider of the payment identification card. Approval may be provided by various means such as a personal identification number, password, or presence of a physical payment authorization device (e.g., credit card). These solutions don't deal effectively with some classes of fraud, such as counterfeit credit cards, and use of a real card using a fraudulent merchant account. In particular, a person frequently traveling to foreign countries must either notify the institution issuing the card before every trip or forgo the crude default protection of disallowing transactions originating in a foreign country.

What is required is an improved system and method for identifying fraudulent attempts to use a payment authorization device based on the location of the device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a method for approving a transaction between a merchant payment device of a merchant and a payer identification device of a payer. The method comprises identifying the payer from the payer identification device at the merchant payment device, identifying a mobile communications device of the payer, communicating with the mobile communications device to receive a communication from the mobile communications device which indicates authentication data, and determining an approval for the transaction from the authentication data.

In one aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a payment processing system for approving a transaction between a merchant payment device of a merchant and a payer identification device of a payer. The payment processing system may be configured to receive a transaction record that indicates the payer identification device and the merchant payment device. The payment processing system may also be configured to analyze authentication data from a mobile communications device of the payer, approve the transaction using the authentication data, and indicate the approval of the transaction to the merchant payment device.

In one aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a computer-readable medium comprising computer executable instructions for execution by a processor of a device, that, when executed, cause the processor to read a payment identification device of a payer, identify a mobile communications device of the payer, request authentication information from the mobile communications device, receive the authentication information from the mobile communications device, generate a transaction record incorporating the authentication information, and provide the transaction record to a payment processing system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made, by way of example only, to specific embodiments and to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates components of a transaction system of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 illustrates a method for approving a transaction;

FIG. 3 illustrates a method for approving a transaction using location data of a payer mobile device;

FIG. 4 illustrates a method for approving a transaction using transaction history known to a payer mobile device;

FIG. 5 illustrates a payment processing system process;

FIG. 6 illustrates a processor and memory of a merchant payment device in communication with a processor and memory of a payment processing system; and

FIG. 7 illustrates an instruction set for executing on the merchant payment device processor of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A system 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure is illustrated in FIG. 1. In the system 10, there is provided a payment processing system 12 that interacts with a merchant payment device 14 through known communications protocols such as TCP/IP, FTP, EFTPOS etc. During a transaction, a payer, e.g., a customer, may identify a payer identification device 16 to the transaction. The payer identification device may be a credit card, debit card, or other form of account identifier, which in some embodiments, may include a mobile telecommunications device. The merchant payment device 14 (e.g., a credit card reader, a Bluetooth radio) is able to extract from the payer identification device 16 sufficient information, e.g., account number or card number, to pay the merchant. The merchant payment device 14 may communicate the payer information to the payment processing system 12 for verification. The payment processing system 12 may include a database 13 which stores payer identification including payer name, contact details, account information, credit limit and other required information for verifying transactions of the payer. In any typical legitimate transaction between the payer and the merchant, a mobile telecommunications device 18 of the payer will be available. In an embodiment of the disclosure, the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices is taken into account so that the payer's mobile device can be used in the transaction as an additional verification tool.

A method for verifying a transaction using a payer's mobile device is shown in the, flowchart 100 of FIG. 2. At step 101, the merchant payment device 14 scans, reads or otherwise identifies the payer identification device 16. At step 102, a mobile communications device 18 of the payer is identified, e.g., from data associated with the payer identification device 16, or from other data provided at the transaction, e.g., by communication direct from the payer. The merchant payment device 14 contacts the payer mobile device 18 to request authentication data (step 103) which is received at step 104. The authentication data is then used to determine an approval for the transaction (step 105), e.g., by providing the authentication data to a payment processing system 12.

The authentication data may take several forms, including the location of the payer mobile device or previous transaction history of the payer, known to the payer mobile device, which may or may not be known to the merchant payment device.

The authentication data may be provided from the payer mobile device to the payment processing service or to the merchant payment device and via any necessary intermediaries such as routers, network providers and the like.

The method described in FIG. 2 may be used to tie validation and authorization of a payment transaction to the locations of the entities involved. That is, the method may extend transaction authorization to include geolocation information. If the payer identification device 16 (credit card, debit card, cell phone acting as a credit card, etc.) is present, the geolocation of the payer mobile device 18 is compared during the card processor's authorization processing to other geolocation information, such as the location of the merchant's store, to establish that the person authorized to execute the transaction is in approximately the same location as the payer identification device 16. In simple terms, if the authorized card holder isn't near the card reader, the transaction should either be declined or additional identity confirmation should be conducted.

In one embodiment, illustrated in the flowchart 200 of FIG. 3, the merchant payment device 14 may be used to read the payer identification device 16 to pay a merchant (step 201).The merchant payment device 14 sends to the payment processing system 12 a transaction record (step 202) which identifies the payer identification device 16, the merchant payment device 14 and other details of the transaction such as the amount, time, etc. The transaction record maybe used to determine a geolocation of the merchant payment device (step 203). In one embodiment, the location of the merchant payment device 14 may be known locally in the payment processing system 12, e.g., stored in a local database 13, and may be retrieved from the database 13 using an identity of the merchant or the merchant payment device 14. In an alternative embodiment, in particular where the merchant payment device 14 may be mobile, the transaction record may include the geolocation of the merchant payment device 14, e.g., as determined by an internal GPS system of the merchant payment device 14 or other location determination system.

At step 204, the merchant payment device 14 may identify the mobile communications device 18 and request the current location of the mobile communications device 18 (step 205) which is received at step 206 and added to the transaction record. In an alternative embodiment, the database 13 of the payment processing system 12 may store contact details for the mobile communications device 18 such that steps 204, 205, 206 are performed by the payment processing system once the payer has been identified from the transaction record.

In one embodiment, the payer mobile device 18 may provide location information without user input. In an alternative embodiment, a message, such as an SMS message may be sent to the payer's mobile device 18, requiring an SMS response from the payer, with the location of the payer mobile device 18 being extracted from the response SMS message. If the payer mobile device 18 is within an acceptable distance from the location reported by the merchant payment device 14, the merchant payment device 14 is sent a message approving the transaction (step 207). The acceptable distance may depend on the transaction environment. For example, transactions with merchants where the payer may often be in a car, such as in a drive-through premises, may allow a greater distance than transactions where customers are generally slower or more stationary. Typical allowable distances are considered to be 100 feet for a casual restaurant, 20 feet for a retail store, and 10 feet for a fast food restaurant. The typical distance for each merchant is stored in the Payment Processing Service database 13.

In one embodiment, the transaction record may be complete when first sent from the merchant payment device 14 to the payment processing system 12. This has the advantage that a location of the mobile communications device 18 and the merchant payment device 14 are known at the immediate time of the transaction. However, the transaction record may also be sent in multiple stages. For example, the payment processing system 12 may separately query the merchant payment device 14 for its current location, which the merchant payment device 14 may add to the transaction record in response to the query.

In one embodiment illustrated in the flowchart 300 of FIG. 4, the merchant payment device 14 is used to read the payer identification device to pay a merchant (step 301). The merchant payment device 14 looks for the payer mobile device 18 (step 302) (e.g., cell phone, PDA, MID, etc.) and connects to the payer mobile device 18 (step 303), which communicates a previous transaction history, such as an authentication history for the merchant payment device 14 (step 304). If the payer mobile device 18 is not present or the registration check fails, the transaction requires additional verification before being accepted. The merchant payment device 14 sends the transaction record to the payment processing service 12 indicating that the payment processing system 18 can verify the transaction (step 305) by contacting the payer mobile device 18 using the process illustrated in FIG. 3 (from step 203). If the merchant payment device 14 verifies at step 304 that the payer identification device 16 has been previously authorized by the payer mobile device 18 for the merchant, the merchant payment device indicates the authorization history in the transaction record to the payment processing service. The payment processing service 12 processes the transaction, include checking the authorization history. If the validations succeed, the payment processing service 12 sends to the merchant payment device 14 a message approving the transaction (step 308). In embodiments such as this, e.g., where independent location verification is not necessarily used in the authentication step, it is conceivable that the payment identification device 16 and the payer mobile device 18 may be merged into a single device.

In one embodiment, the mobile communications device may provide additional authentication information that is unknown to the merchant and/or the merchant payment device for independent verification in the payment processing system. When the merchant payment device 14 queries the payer mobile device 18 for the payer mobile device's authentication information, in addition to providing the payer mobile device's most recent location, the payer mobile device 18 may also include information about the previous transaction, if any, involving the payer identification device 16. For example, the encrypted authentication information might include one or more of the geolocation, timestamp, merchant identity or transaction amount of the previous transaction, which is data the merchant is unlikely to possess and which ties the authentication information to the current transaction. The payer mobile device 18 returns the authentication data to the merchant payment device 14 in an encrypted form not decipherable by the merchant payment device 14. The merchant payment device 14 sends to the payment processing system 12 a transaction record that includes the geolocation of the merchant payment device 14 and the encrypted authentication information provided by the payer mobile device. The process at the payment processing end is shown in the flowchart 400 of FIG. 5. At step 401, the payment processing service 12 receives the transaction record and decrypts the authentication data provided by the payer mobile device 18 (via the merchant payment device 14) (step 402). The payment processing system 12 may verify the authentication data within the payment processing system (step 403), for example by retrieving details of the previous transaction from the database 13 and comparing the details with the data provided in the transaction record. In one embodiment, the previous transaction history may be sufficient to approve the transaction, without using the location data (step 404). Alternatively, the location data may also be such that if the payer mobile device 14 is within the defined acceptable distance from the location reported by the merchant payment device 14, then the payment processing system 12 may indicate to the merchant payment device 14 that the transaction is approved. Otherwise, if the authentication data fails these or other tests the payment processing service 12 may require additional verification before being accepted. By providing additional encrypted authentication information unknown to the merchant payment device 14 and incorporating the encrypted data in the transaction record, the system can reduce the possibility of replaying the encrypted authentication information which may lead to false or fraudulent approval of the transaction.

In one embodiment, the encrypted authentication data provided by the payer mobile device 18 may be supplemented by additional encrypted data from the payer identification device 16. For example, a payer identification device 16 may be provided with geolocation capabilities, such as from an internal GPS receiver which can be provided to the merchant payment device 14 during a transaction. To reduce the possibility of replaying the encrypted authentication information, merchant payment device sends to the transaction processor a transaction record that includes the encrypted authentication information provided by the payer identification device 16, and the encrypted authentication information provided by the payer mobile device 18. The payment processing service 12 processes the transaction record, including decrypting the authentication data provided by the payer identification device 16 and payer mobile device 18. If either the payer identification device 16 or the payer mobile device 18 is outside the acceptable distance from the location reported by the merchant payment device 14, or the authentication data fails some other test, the payment processing service may seek additional verification before approving the transaction. If the payment processing service 12 checks succeed, the payment processing service 12 sends to the merchant payment device 14 a message approving the transaction.

The components of the system 10 may be embodied in hardware, software, firmware or a combination of hardware, software and/or firmware. In a hardware embodiment, a merchant payment device may include a processor 61 operatively associated with a memory 62 as shown in FIG. 6. The memory 62 may store an instruction set 500 executable by the processor 61. When executed, the instruction set 500, shown in FIG. 7, causes the processor to commence a transaction by reading a payment identification device of a payer (step 501). After identifying a mobile communications device of the payer (step 502), a request for authentication information is sent to the mobile communications device (step 503) with the authentication information being received from the mobile communications device at step 504. The processor 61 then generates a transaction record incorporating the authentication information (step 505) and provides the transaction record to a payment processing system (step 506) for subsequent approval.

As shown in FIG. 6, the processor 61 of the merchant device may communicate the transaction record to a processor 68 and associated memory 69 of the payment processing system 12 through a suitable communications link 65. In addition, the processor 61 of the merchant device and/or the processor 68 of the payment processing system 12 may communicate with a processor and memory of a PayerMobile Device (not shown), for retrieving the required authentication information.

Embodiments of the system described above can be used to improve authorization confidence for a significant fraction of credit card uses, i.e., when the cardholder presents the physical card to a merchant and for other forms of payer identification devices. Thus, the system may be used to reduce credit card fraud by reducing the successful use of stolen credit cards, cloned credit cards, or fraudulent merchant card readers.

Although embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated in the accompanied drawings and described in the foregoing description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications, and substitutions without departing from the spirit of the invention as set forth and defined by the following claims. For example, the capabilities of the invention can be performed fully and/or partially by one or more of the blocks, modules, processors or memories. Also, these capabilities may be performed in the current manner or in a distributed manner and on, or via, any device able to provide and/or receive information. Further, although depicted in a particular manner, various modules or blocks may be repositioned without departing from the scope of the current invention. Still further, although depicted in a particular manner, a greater or lesser number of modules and connections can be utilized with the present invention in order to accomplish the present invention, to provide additional known features to the present invention, and/or to make the present invention more efficient. Also, the information sent between various modules can be sent between the modules via at least one of a data network, the Internet, an Internet Protocol network, a wireless source, and a wired source and via plurality of protocols.