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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Untangling the legal side of acquiring

News

Industry Update

NACHA seeks input on QR codes

It's anonymous mobile payments for Amazon

Accord reached on EMV liability shift

Breach exposes 2.4 million cards

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

The promise of prepaid MDC

New approach urged for cross-border enforcement

Views

The new PCI SSC guidelines: Separating the cloud from the fog

Kurt Hagerman
FireHost Inc.

Get ready for the mobile revolution

Michael Gavin
Merchant Warehouse

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Think like an aggregator

Dale S. Laszig
Castles Technology Co. Ltd.

Impact of EMV and NFC on acquiring

Jim Bibles
Aperia Solutions

Training customized for you

Bill Pirtle
C3ET Credit Card Consortia for Education & Training Inc.

Company Profile

PaySimple

Features

Meet The Expert: Ross Federgreen

New Products

Versatile storefront, mobile merchant app

AprivaPay Plus
Apriva LLC

Inspiration

Conform, with style

Departments

Readers Speak

Resource Guide

Datebook

Skyscraper Ad

The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 13, 2013  •  Issue 13:05:01

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It's anonymous mobile payments for Amazon

Amazon.com Inc. filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 16, 2013, to patent a mobile payment system that would not reveal the identities of the parties to transactions. The application describes a mobile transactions system in which servers employed by an independent intermediary would provide electronic tokens to authorize payments while holding and securing the personal information of the two parties.

How it works

The system would allow consumers and retailers to conduct transactions without revealing such commonly required information as the buyer's name, telephone number or email address. The system would also allow anonymous transactions to be initiated by either the buyer or seller. Both parties are required to have an account with the intermediary to conduct the anonymous transaction (presumably this would be Amazon).

The system would also incorporate a short message service text message from the buyer, reserve payment in an account unavailable to the buyer, create a token to enable the buyer to make an anonymous payment without sharing personal information with the seller, and transfer the payment amount from the buyer to the seller.

A Bitcoin challenge

Payment attorney Adam Atlas said Amazon's patent application could indicate the retailer is ready to challenge Bitcoin and other purveyors of virtual currencies. As interest in bitcoins grows, however, the currency is gathering government scrutiny because of a potential avenue it provides for money laundering and purchase of illegal goods. Atlas added that the security and value of such currencies remain open to question, as well.

"This Amazon patent has got Bitcoin written all over it because it is aimed at one of the big selling points of Bitcoin: it is anonymous," Atlas said. "I think the issues you find with Bitcoin are similar to what lies ahead for Amazon if it adopts an anonymous payment system."

According to Atlas, people typically seek anonymity in transactions for four reasons: they are buying something illegal, ashamed of a particular purchase, philosophically opposed to revealing personal information in a monetary transaction, or do not trust the seller.

Atlas also noted that these payments would not be truly anonymous because the intermediary would hold the user information. If Amazon were to implement its anonymous payment system, it would still likely have to report suspicious transactions and payments of more than $10,000 to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and other regulatory agencies, he said.

For additional news stories, please visit www.greensheet.com and click on "Read the Entire Story" in the center column below the latest news story excerpt. This will take you to the full text of that story, followed by all other news stories posted online.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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