Title:
CHARGE-FOR-SERVICE NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION TRANSACTIONS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for purchasing a value item using near field communication (NFC) includes placing a NFC enabled data communication device of a buyer of the item in close proximity to a NFC enabled data communication device of a seller of the item, the devices being interoperable to establish a NFC communication link between the devices when placed in close proximity to each other, transferring a request for payment for the item from the seller's device to the buyer's device via the NFC link, and transmitting the payment request, together a buyer's authorization therefor, to a third party service provider via a network. In response to receipt of the transmission, the service provider transfers money in an amount equal to the purchase price of the item from a funding account of the buyer to a receiving account of the seller and sends the parties a message confirming the transfer.



Inventors:
Griffin, Kent (Mountain View, CA, US)
Stone, Carl B. (Campbell, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/242667
Publication Date:
07/30/2009
Filing Date:
09/30/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
705/40, 705/44
International Classes:
G06Q30/00; G06Q40/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
OJIAKU, CHIKAODINAKA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Haynes & Boone, LLP (70481) (Dallas, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for purchasing a value item, the method comprising: downloading a request for a payment for the item from a communication device of a seller of the item with a data communication device of a buyer of the item; transmitting the payment request, together with a buyer's authorization to make the payment, to a third party service provider; and, receiving a message from the third party service provider confirming the making of the payment from the buyer to the seller.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the request for payment is downloaded via a near field communication (NFC) link between the buyer's device and the seller's device.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the value item comprises downloadable data, and further comprising downloading the value item from the seller's device with the buyer's device along with the request for payment.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the value item is received in a locked form, and further comprising unlocking the item for the buyer's use after the receiving of the confirming message.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the value item comprises downloadable data, and further comprising downloading the value item from the seller's device with the buyer's device after the receiving of the confirming message.

6. The method of claim 2, wherein the downloading of the request for the payment comprises placing the buyer's device in close proximity to the seller's device.

7. The method of claim 2, wherein the downloading of the request for the payment and the transmitting of the payment request and the buyer's authorization therefor to the third party service provider comprises placing the buyer's device in close proximity to the seller's device.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the transmitting of the payment request and the buyer's authorization therefor is effected by the buyer's device via a network.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the confirming message comprises at least one of the group consisting of a visible message, an audible message and a tactile message.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein at least one of the communication devices of the buyer and the seller comprises a cell phone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a smart phone, a personal computer (PC) or a point of purchase (POP) terminal.

11. The method of claim 6, wherein the placing of the buyer's device in close proximity to the seller's device comprises placing the seller's device within about 10 centimeters of the buyer's device or touching the seller's device with the buyer's device.

12. The method of claim 7, wherein the placing of the buyer's device in close proximity to the seller's device comprises placing the seller's device within about 10 centimeters of the buyer's device or touching the seller's device with the buyer's device.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the request for payment comprises at least one of the group consisting of the seller's identity, cell phone number, email address, receiving account and amount of the payment requested.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein the buyer's authorization for the payment comprises at least one of the group consisting of the buyer's identity, password, personal identification number (PIN), cell phone number, email address, and payment funding account identity.

15. The method of claim 8, wherein the network comprises the Internet, an intranet, a landline network or a wireless network.

16. The method of claim 1, further comprising transmitting additional information to the service provider along with the payment request and the buyer's authorization therefor.

17. The method of claim 18, wherein the additional information comprises an avatar or an icon.

18. A method for selling a value item, the method comprising: uploading a request for a payment for the item from a communication device of a seller of the item to a data communication device of a buyer of the item; receiving a message from a third party service provider confirming the making of the payment from the buyer to the seller; and, delivering the value item to the buyer.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the request for payment is uploaded via a near field communication (NFC) link between the buyer's device and the seller's device.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein at least one of the communication devices of the buyer and the seller comprises a cell phone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a smart phone, a personal computer (PC) or a point of purchase (POP) terminal.

21. The method of claim 18, wherein the value item comprises downloadable data, and wherein the delivering of the value item to the buyer comprises uploading the value item from the seller's device to the buyer's device after the receiving of the confirming message.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the delivering of the value item to the buyer comprises: uploading the value item in a locked form along with the request for payment from the seller's device to the buyer's device; and, unlocking the value item for use by the buyer after the receiving of the confirming message.

23. A method for facilitating the sale of a value item, the method comprising: receiving a request for a payment for the item from a seller of the item, together with an authorization of a buyer of the item for making the payment, from a data communication device of the buyer; making the payment to the seller on behalf of the buyer; and, sending a message to at least one of the buyer and the seller confirming the making of the payment, wherein the request for the payment is sent to the buyer's communication device from a data communication device of the seller.

24. The method of claim 1, wherein the request for payment is sent via a near field communication (NFC) link between the buyer's device and the seller's device.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein the payment request and the buyer's authorization therefor is received via a network.

26. The method of claim 25, wherein the network comprises the Internet, an intranet, a landline network or a wireless network.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Nos. 61/024,758, filed Jan. 30, 2008, and 61/034,890, filed Mar. 7, 2008, the entire respective disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present disclosure relates generally to financial transactions, and more particularly, to making peer-to-peer payments for services between mobile devices using near field communication (NFC) in a network environment.

2. Related Art

Arguably, mobile phones are currently the most widespread mobile computing device in the world. They have become ubiquitous companions in our life, enabling communication nearly anytime and anywhere to facilitate information access to mobile services and the Internet. In addition, mobile phones have become multimedia computing platforms with integral digital cameras for taking pictures and video, playing music, recording conversations, and for organizing our lives.

Using physical objects as entry points to data and services can ease mobile communication and information access. Augmentation of the environment enables physical mobile interactions, which involve a user, a mobile device, and a physical object or another mobile device. The object is augmented with some kind of technology and subsequently stores information. The information is typically associated with a mobile service that might be triggered through an interaction with the physical object. Physical mobile interactions make it possible to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual world. In order to support communication between the mobile device and the augmented object, communication technologies are required.

Different short-range communication technologies have been integrated into mobile devices in recent years. The process began with infrared transceivers for synchronizing applications with a desktop computer. Bluetooth technology evolved and overcame some of the problems experienced with infrared. However, when attempting to connect two devices with Bluetooth, the setup is often lengthy and is very often not user-friendly.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is another technology that has been easily integrated into mobile devices, such as cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or computers. RFID works with both active communication devices (transceivers or read-write devices) and passive non-powered tags (transponders). The tags are relatively small, inexpensive, and can store information, making them suitable for augmenting physical objects unobtrusively. The transponder is attached to objects that are to be identified and contains information, such as product price or vehicle identification, for example. The transceiver device emits an electromagnetic signal that activates the tag and enables the transceiver to read the tag's information and/or to alter it, assuming the tag is re-writeable. Usually, the transceiver is in communication with a computer or similar device to which the information is passed.

Near Field Communication, herein referred to as “NFC,” is the most recently explored technology for object augmentation to bring mobile devices and physical objects together to enable a user to interact with the augmented objects for information and/or data communication.

In this regard, NFC is a short range, high frequency, wireless communication technology that enables the exchange of data between devices over a relatively short distance, viz., 0-20 cm. NFC is based on RFID technology and uses many of the same working principles. The technology is standardized in ISO/IEC 18092 (International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission), ECMA-340 (European association for standardizing information and communication systems), and ETSI 102.190 (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). All of these standards define the NFC Interface and Protocol-1 (NFCIP-1), see FIG. 1, which specify the modulation schemes, coding, transfer speeds and frame format of the RF interface of NFC devices, as well as initialization schemes and conditions required for data collision-control during initialization for both passive and active NFC modes.

NFC is also standardized in ISO/IEC 21481 and ECMA 352, which corresponds to NFC Interface and Protocol-2 (NFCIP-2). The NFCIP-2 standard specifies the mechanism to detect and select one communication mode out of three possible communication modes typical of NFC devices (Peer-to-Peer, Read/Write Card, and Card Emulation), as further shown in FIG. 1.

NFC is compatible with ISO/IEC 14443 type A and type B (proximity cards operating at a maximum distance of 20 cm), ISO/IEC 15693 (vicinity cards operating at a distance from 10 cm to 2 m) and to the FeliCa contactless smart card system. Accordingly, an NFC device can communicate with both existing ISO 14443 smartcards and readers, as well as with other NFC devices, and is compatible with existing contactless infrastructure already in use for, among other things, public transportation, payment, and promotion/advertising.

As discussed above and illustrated in FIG. 1, a key feature of NFC devices is that the NFC chip that is integrated into the NFC device can read out an RFID tag's information, emulate a smart card so that a reader can access its data, or communicate directly with another NFC device in peer-to-peer fashion when the two NFC enabled devices are brought into direct contact or in very close proximity to each other. In other words, NFC technology enables communication between devices that both have active power and computing capabilities, as well as communication between powered devices and passive tags.

For operating in Reader Mode, it is sufficient to hold the NFC device near a compatible tag that stores some information (typically 1 Kb-4 kb). This information could be, for example, a bookmark of a company website in the company advertising poster, a timetable of a bus near a bus stop, some tourist information beside works of art near a museum, or the like. With peer-to-peer communication mode, it is possible, for example, to synchronize calendars between two NFC PDAs, or to set up networks (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or the like) simply by holding the two NFC devices in close proximity to each other. In card emulation mode, the NFC device can host virtual payment cards and enable the user to make payments. For example, it is possible to buy a travel ticket while providing management of associated customer loyalty and bonus programs. In card emulation mode, it is also possible to control access, i.e., the NFC device acts as a key.

Prior to utilizing many known NFC devices for the first time, some sort of pre-operationally process is typically required. In this regard, the present disclosure describes an activation and authorization process that may provide security features, as well as check NFC device compatibility and pre-configure the device accordingly.

One example of an NFC technology application is financial transactions. A consumer taps the NFC device on a reader to effect a monetary transfer. Typically, a retailer enters the total amount due, and the consumer taps the NFC device on the reader, which causes payment details to be sent to the consumer's financial institution. Very shortly after, the consumer and retailer receive payment confirmation. Such a method provides advantages such as eliminating the need to carry cash and enabling a faster financial transaction. PayPass is an example of this type of method. However, this method is limited in that the transfer is with a retailer at a POS terminal or reader. Further, the consumer NFC device simply authorizes a money transfer based on the POS terminal.

SUMMARY

For purposes of summarizing the disclosure, exemplary embodiments of peer-to-peer payments between mobile devices using near field communication in a network environment are described herein.

In one embodiment, a method for purchasing a value item, such as a music download, using near field communication (NFC) includes placing a NFC enabled data communication device of a purchaser of the item in close proximity to a NFC enabled data communication device of a seller of the item, the devices being interoperable to establish a NFC communication link between the devices when placed in close proximity to each other, transferring the value item, together with a request for payment for the item, from the seller's device to the buyer's device via the NFC link, and transmitting the payment request, together a buyer's authorization for the payment, to a third party service provider via a network and thereby causing the service provider to transfer money in an amount equal to the purchase price of the item from a funding account of the buyer to a receiving account of the seller.

A better understanding of the above and many other features and advantages of the novel payment systems and methods of the present invention may be obtained from a consideration of the detailed description of some example embodiments thereof below, particularly if such consideration is made in conjunction with the several views of the appended drawings, wherein like elements are referred to by like reference numerals throughout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows that an NFC enabled device can read out an RFID tag's information, emulate a smart card so that a reader can access its data, or communicate directly with another NFC device in peer-to-peer fashion when the two NFC devices are brought in direct contact or in very close proximity to each other.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show the establishment of a Bluetooth or a similar short range wireless communication between two computers using NFC.

FIG. 4 shows the use of an NFC enabled computer (PC) and NFC enabled mobile phone to download a game application from a website directly into the mobile phone.

FIG. 5 shows an example of NFC devices communicating consumer account information via radio frequency (RF) to a retailer's payment terminal.

FIG. 6 shows a system and method for enabling a peer-to-peer financial transaction between mobile devices using near field communication in a network environment in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 7 shows application(s) activation in accordance with one embodiment.

FIGS. 8A and 8B respectively illustrate a typical “known” request for money and a contrasting request for money in a peer-to-peer financial transaction between mobile devices using near field communication in a network environment in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 shows examples of various interface screens that be applicable to the a sender's mobile device and/or a recipient's mobile device for conducting a peer-to-peer financial transaction between mobile devices using near field communication in a network environment in accordance with one embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Exemplary embodiments will now be described with references to the accompanying figures, wherein like reference numbers are used to refer to like elements throughout. The terminology used in the description presented herein is not intended to be interpreted in any limiting or restrictive manner simply because it is being utilized in conjunction with a detailed description of certain embodiments. Furthermore, various embodiments (whether or not specifically described herein) may include novel features, no single one of which is solely responsible for their novelty or desirability.

As indicated above, NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that evolved from a combination of existing contactless identification and interconnection technologies. Operating at 13.56 MHz via magnetic field induction (i.e., two loop antennas are located within each other's near field) and transferring data at up to 424 Kbits/second, NFC provides simple communication between electronic devices over relatively short distances, viz., 0-20 cm. This means that no restrictions are applied and no licenses are required for use of the NFC devices in the RF band. NFC is both a “read” and “write” technology. Furthermore, combining the read and write modes in more than two mobile devices enables a third peer-to-peer mode by alternating between read and write modes. As also discussed above, the underlying layers of NFC technology follow universally implemented ISO, ECMA, and ETSI standards. Because the transmission range of NFC is very short, NFC-enabled transactions are relatively secure. However, to provide more robust security, applications may use higher layer cryptographic protocols, such as TLS, SS, or the like.

In this regard, the NFC interface and protocols primarily target consumer electronics users that will be able to use the secure means of communication between various devices without exerting much effort in configuring their “network”. Communication between two NFC-compatible devices occurs when they are brought in close proximity with a wave or touch of the two device(s). This action causes the respective NFC wireless interfaces of the two devices to engage and configure the devices to link up in a peer-to-peer network, enabling the automated and transparent establishment of a network connection between the devices.

The NFC communication protocol distinguishes between an Initiator device and a Target device of the NFC network communication. Any device may be either an Initiator or a Target. The Initiator, as indicated by the name, is the device that initiates and controls the exchange of data. The Target is the device that answers a request for data from the Initiator. A device may also be both initiator and target, as described in the peer-to-peer mode above.

The NFC protocol further distinguishes between two modes of operation, viz., an Active mode and a Passive mode. All devices support both communication modes. In the active mode of communication, both devices, i.e., both the Initiator and the Target, generate their own RF field to carry the data. In the passive mode of communication, only one device (the Initiator) generates the RF field while the other device (the Target) uses load modulation to transfer the data. This can be an important consideration for battery-powered devices, since the conservation of battery power is generally a high priority. As such, the protocol enables a device, such as a mobile phone, to operate in a power-saving mode (passive mode of NFC communication). In other words, the passive mode does not require both devices to generate the RF field and enables a complete communication to be powered from one side only. (The device still needs to be powered internally, but does not have to “waste” the battery on powering the RF communication interface.)

The difficulty in using longer-range protocols, such as Bluetooth and Wireless Ethernet (Wi-Fi), is in selecting the correct device from a multitude of devices in the operating range and providing the right parameters to establish the connection. However, NFC overcomes this difficulty, as once the configuration data has been exchanged using NFC, the devices can then easily setup and continue to communicate over a greater range and using faster protocols, such as Bluetooth or Wireless Ethernet (Wi-Fi).

For example, as indicated by the dashed double-headed arrow 2 in FIG. 2, ordinarily, to establish Bluetooth communication between two computers, the two devices need to be setup manually with a password to protect communication. However, as indicated by the broad arrow 1 in FIG. 2, NFC may be used as a first step in establishing, e.g., a Bluetooth communication link by simply touching, or “tapping” one of the two devices against the other, or by bringing the two devices into close proximity to each other. By touching the devices at a “hotspot,” they can automatically open a data connection link to exchange the parameters of the Bluetooth communication and thereby seamlessly establish a secret key without any further action being required on the part of the user. As illustrated in FIG. 3, once the Bluetooth communication link is established, the devices can then be moved away from each other in a second step as communication between the devices continues using the session of Bluetooth that was previously established.

Substantially the same NFC procedure may be used to establish a wireless (e.g., Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or the like) connection with a variety of devices, from mobile phones that enable payment or transfer of information to digital cameras that send their photos to a television set with just a touch. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 4, by using an NFC enabled computer (PC) and an NFC enabled mobile phone, a game application may be downloaded from a website directly into the mobile phone from the PC.

NFC capabilities further include information access via a “smart poster” application. In this example, the user taps an NFC enabled mobile phone to a tag embedded in a poster or similar object, which then triggers the transmission of a uniform resource locator (URL) to the phone. The URL could be used, for example, to direct a user to a website at which the user can gather information or download a special coupon or token.

As illustrated in FIG. 5, other examples of NFC applications include mobile cell phones, cards, or key fobs that have a built-in integrated circuit (IC) microchip and antenna. The chip is able to emulate contactless smart cards. Consumers can use the NFC device to communicate consumer account information via radio frequency to the retailer's payment terminal, such as the VIVO pay line of contactless payment systems manufactured by VIVOtech. The payment terminal then connects to the appropriate financial networks or other back-end processing system to authorize the transaction. Once authorized, the consumer completes the transaction and receives payment confirmation.

Mobile cell phones or “wallet phones” may include a prepaid wallet that can be used for making mobile payments. Users interact with readers at point of sale (POS) terminals or cash machines to recharge the wallet and access control systems located there, for example, ticketing and reservation systems at train stations, airports, hotels, and the like, using the wallet phone to make purchases.

FIG. 6 illustrates an example embodiment of a system and method for enabling a peer-to-peer financial transaction between mobile devices using near field communication in a network environment in accordance with this invention. The system and method for enabling a peer-to-peer financial transaction between mobile devices 100 may include a first NFC enabled mobile device 105 and a second NFC enabled mobile device 110, a network 115 to enable connectivity between entities/elements and the flow of information, and a third party payment provider system 120 (PPS) for, among other things, payment processing (verification, authorization and confirmation) of the financial transaction between the mobile devices 105 and 110, as well as the debiting and crediting of appropriate accounts respectively associated with each of the users 140 and 145 thereof.

As used herein, the term “mobile device” is a broad term and may include, but is not limited to, cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smart phones, key fobs, smartcards, computers or PCs, or similar type of augmented objects or devices.

Each of the mobile devices 105 and 110 are NFC enabled and may include, among other things, a user identifier 125, an NFC service application 126, a network communication application 127, and other applications 128, including a payment provider application, a browser application, a toolbar application, and the like, as may be necessary to enable NFC communication between the mobile devices 105, 100 and the payment provider system 120 via the network 115.

Broadly, the NFC service application 126 provides those features that generally enable NFC communication between NFC enabled devices, but may also enable the user to activate various multimedia features, as well as to effect financial transactions via icon linked applications, such as “send money,” “request money,” “send contact information,” “acquire contact information,” and the like.

Likewise, the payment provider application provides those features that generally enable the mobile device 105 and 110 to communicate with the payment provider system 120, but may also enable the user to activate various multimedia features, as well as to effect financial transactions via icon linked applications, such as “send money,” “request money,” “send contact information,” “acquire contact information,” and the like.

Accordingly, persons of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the use of either a NFC service application and a separate payment provider application, or the use of a single bundled application that is the functional equivalent of the NFC service application and the payment provider application in any mobile device may depend on a number of factors, including manufacturer preferences, cost, and intended use, to name a few. Accordingly, the term “application,” “applications,” or “application(s)” as used herein indicates that either a separate NFC service application and a payment provider application, or a bundled application having capabilities of both the NFC service application and the payment provider application is present in the mobile device.

In one example embodiment, the network 115 may be implemented as a single network or a combination of multiple networks. For example, in various embodiments, the network may include the Internet and/one or more intranets, landline networks, wireless networks, and/or other appropriate types of communication networks. In another example, the network may comprise a wireless telecommunications network (e.g., cellular phone network) adapted to communicate with other communication networks, such as the Internet.

The payment provider system 120 may include, among other things, a server identifier 130, a payment processing application 131, and an account database 132 having account information 133 and other databases 134, as may be required to enable payment processing between the mobile devices 105 and 110.

In one embodiment, a financial transaction between the mobile devices 105 and 110 may include the transfer or sending of money from the first mobile device 105 (sender) to the second mobile device 110 (recipient). In this regard, preconditions for the successful completion of the transfer of money between mobile devices 105 and 110 include the assumptions that the first mobile device 105 and the second mobile device 110 are NFC enabled; that a payment provider service application 126, NFC service application, or bundled application is present on the sender's 140 mobile device 105; and, that at least the sender 140 has a previously established payment provider account 132.

In this regard, the application(s) setup may be facilitated over-the-air (OTA), wherein, depending on implementation, an OTA application/software download can be initiated upon an action, such as a call to the payment provider system 120 or other dialable service, or can be performed automatically when visiting a service site.

Alternatively, the application(s) setup may be facilitated by using another NFC chip, wherein, for example, a pre-loaded NFC card issued by the payment provider system 120 or other entity may be pre-loaded with a basic application, account information, URL, and the like, such that, when touched to an NFC enabled mobile device, the information is transferred to the mobile device to permit access to an OTA site where the application/software download can be effected.

In one embodiment, an initial payment provider application activation process may be required to be completed prior to utilizing the application(s) 126-129 for the first time. In this regard, as illustrated in FIG. 7, application(s) activation may begin with the user entering login information, such as a phone number, pin number, email address and/or password, and the like, in the mobile device 105, 110. The application forwards the information and a public key (unique identifier) 125 based on the NFC mobile device's chip to the payment provider system 120. In one embodiment, network connectivity for the communication of voice and/data between the mobile device 105, 110 and the payment provider, e.g., PayPal. A Short Message Service (SMS) text message to the mobile device is then communicated from the payment provider system 120 may be facilitated by an HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) connection over a general packet radio service (GPRS). GPRS is a packet based wireless communication service that offers continuous connection to the Internet or other network 115 for mobile phone and computer users. GPRS is based on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) and complements existing services such as circuit switched cellular phone connections and the Short Message Service (SMS), i.e., text message. Persons of skill in the art will understand similar protocols and wireless services may be utilized within the scope of the disclosure to enable wireless connectivity and communication between the mobile devices and the payment service provider.

In response to receiving the user's information and unique identifier, the service provider system 120 sends packet information to the mobile device 105, 110. The packet information from the payment provider system 120 to the mobile device may include data relating to country, currency, language, activation code and/or security keys. A corresponding code generated by the application is then communicated back to the payment provider system 120 from the mobile device 105, 110.

In this regard, such a back-and-forth communication or “handshake” between the mobile device 105, 110 and the payment provider system 120 allows for user and/or system verification, authorization, and compatibility check to complete the application(s) activation process. Typically, the users 140, 145 are then notified that the application is activated. Packet information previously sent from the payment provider system 120 to the mobile device 105, 110 is stored on the chipset for future use when activating the application(s) 126-129. The payment provider system 120 may further communicate a short welcome text message to the mobile device 105, 110.

After the initial setup and activation of the application(s) is complete, subsequent activation of one or more of the application(s) may occur upon activation of the mobile device. In one embodiment, the mobile device 105 may be a cell phone in which activation may occur upon opening the mobile device 105. Typically, as indicated above, access or activation of the mobile device 105 will likewise activate one or more of the applications. In another case, the sender 140 may be required to touch a feature (e.g., an icon, pushbutton, or the like) on the mobile device 105 to access and activate one or more of the application(s). In yet another case, activation of one or more of the applications may occur upon “tapping” or bringing the mobile device 105 in close proximity with another NFC enabled device.

Upon activation of the mobile device 105, the sender 140 may be presented with menu options for enabling various functions, including those associated with, for example, multimedia features (e.g., music, video, games, and the like), user contact information, and those relating to financial transactions, such as “request money,” “send money,” and the like.

The sender 140 may then choose the desired function from the menu options, for example, “send money” in the case of a proposed money transfer between the mobile devices 105 and 110. In one embodiment, the sender 140 may be asked to enter, in no particular order, funding particulars, including a funding source (e.g., MC, VISA, AMEX, Citibank, PPS account, or other funding source account), the amount of money to be sent, and login information (PIN, pass code, password, or the like).

As persons of skill in the art will appreciate, in the absence of an affirmative choice of one or more presented funding particulars, preset default settings may be enabled. In addition, in some embodiments, the sender 140 may be presented with the opportunity to review and edit the payment choices prior to communicating the payment request to the payment provider system 120.

Upon activation of the mobile device 110, the recipient 145 may, like the sender 140, be presented with various menu options for enabling various functions, including those associated with multimedia features (e.g., music, video, games, and the like), user contact information, and those relating to financial transactions, such as “request money,” “send money,” and the like.

The recipient 140 of the intended money transfer may then choose the desired function from, for example, “receive money” or “ready, wait” (a default setting having implications of what is being shared) in the case of the above described proposed money transfer between the mobile devices 105 and 110. In one embodiment, by choosing the “receive money” function, the recipient implicitly/explicitly agrees to provide certain designated information, such as email address, phone number, receiving account information, and the like, to facilitate funding by the payment provider system 120 to the designated recipient account, digital wallet (phone), or email address where funds may be deposited or acquired.

The sender 140 may then simply touch or “tap” the NFC enabled mobile device 110 of the recipient 145 with the sender's mobile device 105 to effect the transfer of the designated recipient information from the recipient' mobile device 110 to the sender's mobile device 105 via NFC.

As those of ordinary skill in the art will understand, although the method(s)/step(s) are illustrated and described herein as occurring in a certain order, the specific order, or any combination or interpretation of the order, is not required. Obvious modifications will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, all of which will not depart from the essence of disclosed subject matter, and all such changes and modifications are intended to be encompassed within the scope of the disclosure.

For example, recipient information may be acquired prior to selecting the funding source and/or the amount of money to be sent by the sender 140. In this regard, the acquisition of recipient information may automatically activate the “send money” function on the sender's mobile device 105, thereby presenting the menu options for enabling various functions, including those relating to financial transactions, as described above.

The sender's payment request is then automatically communicated (submitted) to the payment provider system 120 for processing, including, among others, verification, authorization, distribution, and confirmation thereof. Alternatively, the sender 140 may be provided with an opportunity to review the payment request information prior to its submission to the payment provider system 120.

Upon the successful completion of payment processing, the payment provider system may communicate a corresponding SMS notification, i.e., successful transfer of funds, successful deposit of funds, amount of transfer or deposit, or some other related message informing the sender 140 and/or the recipient 145 of the payment processing results, such as by way of an email, phone call, or a multimedia messaging service (MMS) message. Sender 140 and/or recipient 145 notifications may further include an audible and/or a visible and/or a tactile indication, such as a vibration in the respective devices.

In summary, in one embodiment, contact information of the transfer is communicated directly via NFC from the recipient's mobile device 110 to the sender's mobile device 105. Payment review is done via NFC from the sender's mobile device 105 to the recipient's mobile device 110 showing the conditions of the financial transaction. The payment request is communicated OTA to the payment provider system 120 in real-time, while notifications and confirmations are communicated to the sender's mobile device 105 and the recipient's mobile device 110 via SMS and/or MMS and/or other form of sensible indicators.

As described above, peer-to-peer payment between mobile devices 105 and 110 may be facilitated using near field communication in a network environment. In this regard, objects, such as mobile devices 105 and 110, may be augmented with a chip to permit users to gather information and/or conduct financial transactions. Such transactions include the payment for goods, receiving money, transferring money, and transferring and receiving user information.

As further described above with reference to FIG. 6, a financial transaction may include a “one-tap” process between NFC enabled mobile devices 105 and 110 in which a single “tap” between the mobile devices communicates contact information (e.g., cell phone number or email address), and then communicates the payment request to the payment provider system if the payment amount was previously entered.

Alternatively, a financial transaction may comprise a two step or “two-tap” process between NFC enabled mobile devices 105 and 110 in which a first “tap” between the devices communicates contact information (e.g., cell phone number or email address), as above, and a second “tap” between the devices communicates the payment request to the payment provider system 120. As discussed above, the sender 140 may be given the opportunity to review and edit certain of the details of the transaction, e.g., payment amount, funding account, after effecting the first tap and before effecting the second.

The systems and methods for payment between mobile devices 105 and 110 using near field communication in a network environment may be utilized to facilitate an “open loop” financial transaction in which a one-time virtual credit card or debit account is issued by the payment provider system 120 and used by a merchant so that the user and merchant view the process as a standard financial transaction.

Alternatively, the systems and methods for payment between mobile devices 105 and 110 using near field communication in a network environment may be utilized to facilitate a “closed loop” financial transaction in which the payment provider system 120 provides POS terminals for merchants. In this regard, a user can “tap” his or her mobile device 105 on the POS terminal to pay for merchandise and the merchant may be paid directly through the payment provider system 120.

FIGS. 8A and 8B respectively illustrate a typical “known” type of request for money and a contrasting request for money in a peer-to-peer or “face-to-face” financial transaction between mobile devices using near field communication in a network environment in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

In contrast to the known four-step process for requesting money illustrated in FIG. 8A, a money request utilizing NFC may, as illustrated in FIG. 8B, include a first step of (1) the recipient sending a request for money to the sender via NFC, a second step of (2) the sender authorizing payment with the payment provider system via an OTA transmission, and a third step of (3) the payment provider system notifying the recipient of the transfer of funds, as illustrated in FIG. 8B.

In this regard, by communicating information via NFC, the sender only needs to enter a PIN to approve payment with the payment provider system.

Similar to the money request transaction illustrated in FIG. 8B, a “charge for a service” may be conducted in a peer-to-peer financial transaction between mobile devices using near field communication in a network environment in accordance with one embodiment. In this regard, in the first step of FIG. 8B, downloadable data content, for example, a music download or a computer game, may be communicated to the sender's mobile device along with a money request of a specified amount for the downloaded item from the recipient's mobile device via an NFC link. If the sender agrees to the purchase of or the sending of money for the music download, the process would then continue with steps (2) and (3) substantially as described above.

In detail, in this embodiment, the recipient-seller may send a value item (e.g., a locked music file) along with a payment request to the sender-buyer via an NFC link between the respective NFC enabled devices of the recipient and the sender initiated by, e.g., a single a “tap” between the devices. If the sender does not agree to purchase the item, the transaction is terminated, and the value item remains locked or unusable by the user. However, if the sender chooses to purchase the item, then the sender sends the payment request, along with the sender's authorization to make the payment, to a third party service provider, e.g., PayPal, which can be effected by a second tap between the respective devices, or alternatively, by a direct OTA communication by the sender with the third party provider.

The third party provider then makes the payment authorized by the sender and sends a message confirming the transaction to the sender and the recipient. The NFC devices may connect to the Internet to effect the money portion of the transaction. As in the above embodiments, additional information can be transferred along with the payment information, such as user IDs, telephone numbers, account numbers, avatars, icons, and the like. Once the transaction is in progress or has been completed, the users are notified thereof, such as with an audio and/or visual indication and/or a tactile message, e.g., a vibration of the respective recipient and sender devices. The value item may then be unlocked, e.g., by receipt of the confirmation message itself, or by the separate transmission of a digital “key” from the recipient to the sender, so that the value item can be then be used or accessed by the sender.

It should be understood that the value item need not necessarily be downloaded simultaneously with the payment request from the recipient, or indeed, be a downloadable type of item at all. Thus, in another embodiment, an “offer of sale” of the item, i.e., a payment request alone, may be transmitted to the sender via a first tap between the respective NFC devices of the sender and recipient, and upon acceptance of the offer by the sender, transmission of the payment request and authorization therefor to the third party provider, and receipt of confirmation of the success of the transaction by the recipient, a transmission of the subject “goods,” i.e., the music or game (in an unlocked state), from the recipient to the sender via an NFC link between their respective devices can then be initiated by, e.g., a second tap between the devices. In yet another peer-to-peer embodiment, for example, a swap meet or a flea market scenario in which the goods are not a downloadable type, e.g., a stereo or a TV, the recipient may simply hand the goods over to the sender upon receipt of confirmation of the transaction. Indeed, as those of skill in the art will appreciate, many advantageous variations on the foregoing peer-to-peer payment transaction scenarios are possible, each enabling the transaction to be effected quickly, easily and without the need for cash, checks, credit cards and the known drawbacks respectively attendant thereto.

FIG. 9 shows examples of various interface screens that can be displayed on a sender's and/or a recipient's mobile device for conducting a peer-to-peer financial transaction between two mobile devices using near field communication in a network environment in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure.

Although the apparatus and methods of the present invention have been described and illustrated herein with reference to certain specific example embodiments thereof, it should be understood that a wide variety of modifications and variations may be made to these without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined by the claims appended hereafter and their functional equivalents.