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Publication numberUS20070033134 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/161,418
Publication dateFeb 8, 2007
Filing dateAug 2, 2005
Priority dateAug 2, 2005
Also published asCA2617837A1, CN101268485A, EP1915731A2, EP1915731A4, US8301530, US8635137, US20100138346, US20130030992, US20140108237, WO2007016697A2, WO2007016697A3
Publication number11161418, 161418, US 2007/0033134 A1, US 2007/033134 A1, US 20070033134 A1, US 20070033134A1, US 2007033134 A1, US 2007033134A1, US-A1-20070033134, US-A1-2007033134, US2007/0033134A1, US2007/033134A1, US20070033134 A1, US20070033134A1, US2007033134 A1, US2007033134A1
InventorsDaniel Carretta, Thomas Hancock, Karen Lewy, Charles Liu, Jack Meyers, Sheryl Strott, Faith Tucker, Carrie Williams
Original AssigneeBank Of America Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic Savings Program
US 20070033134 A1
Abstract
A computer implemented method of processing a financial transaction executed by first person includes determining an automatic savings amount from the financial transaction by rounding up the amount of the financial transaction to the nearest dollar. The method further includes debiting the calculated savings amount from an account of the first person and crediting the savings amount to an account of a second person.
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Claims(29)
1. A method of processing a first financial transaction of a first person comprising:
determining a savings amount based on at least the first financial transaction;
debiting the savings amount from a source account of the first person; and
crediting at least a part of the savings amount to a first recipient account of a second person.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the crediting at least a part of the savings amount comprises:
crediting a first percentage of the savings amount to the first recipient account; and
crediting a second percentage of the savings amount to a second recipient account.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein debiting the savings amount occurs on a daily basis and is based on a aggregate savings amount from a plurality of financial transactions.
4. The method of claim 3, further comprising:
determining if adequate funds are available in the source account before debiting the savings amount.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the savings amount is determined by rounding up a value of the financial transaction to a nearest predetermined value to calculate a rounded up amount, and the savings amount is equal to the rounded up amount.
6. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
crediting a matched amount to the first recipient account.
7. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
providing an identity of the first person to the second person as a source of the savings amount.
8. A method of automatic savings comprising:
executing a financial transaction for a first account;
calculating a savings amount based on the financial transaction;
debiting the savings amount from the first account;
crediting a first portion of the savings amount to a second account; and
crediting a second portion of the savings amount to a third account.
9. The method of claim 8, wherein the first account and the second account are owned by different entities.
10. The method of claim 8, wherein the debiting the savings amount occurs on a daily basis and is based on a aggregate savings amount from a plurality of financial transactions.
11. The method of claim 8, further comprising:
determining if adequate funds are available in the first account before debiting the savings amount.
12. The method of claim 8, wherein the savings amount is determined by rounding up a value of the financial transaction to a nearest predetermined value to calculate a rounded up amount, and the savings amount is equal to the rounded up amount.
13. The method of claim 8, further comprising:
crediting a matched amount to the second account.
14. The method of claim 8, further comprising:
providing an identity of the first account to the second account as a source of the savings amount.
15. The method of claim 12, wherein the nearest predetermined value is a nearest whole dollar amount.
16. A computer readable medium having instructions stored thereon that, when executed by a processor, cause the processor to:
determine a savings amount based on at least a first financial transaction;
debit the savings amount from a source account of a first person; and
credit at least a part of the savings amount to a first recipient account of a second person.
17. The computer readable medium of claim 16, wherein the credit at least a part of the savings amount comprises:
credit a first percentage of the savings amount to the first recipient account; and
credit a second percentage of the savings amount to a second recipient account.
18. The computer readable medium of claim 16, wherein the debit the savings amount occurs on a daily basis and is based on a aggregate savings amount from a plurality of financial transactions.
19. The computer readable medium of claim 16, said instructions further causing said processor to:
determine if adequate funds are available in the source account before debiting the savings amount.
20. The computer readable medium of claim 16, wherein the savings amount is determined by rounding up a value of the financial transaction to a nearest predetermined value to calculate a rounded up amount, and the savings amount is equal to the rounded up amount.
21. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
determining whether a matching program is still in effect before crediting.
22. A method of processing a first financial transaction of a first person comprising:
determining a savings amount based on at least the first financial transaction;
debiting the savings amount from a source account of the first person;
crediting a first portion of the savings amount to a first recipient account; and
crediting a matched amount to the first recipient account.
23. The method of claim 22, further comprising crediting the matched amount only if it is determined that the first financial transaction is eligible to be matched.
24. The method of claim 22, further comprising crediting the matched amount only if it is determined that a predetermined time period has not been surpassed.
25. The method of claim 22, wherein the matched amount approximately equals the savings amount
26. The method of claim 22, wherein the matched amount equals a predetermined amount.
27. The method of claim 22, wherein the first recipient account is owned by a second person.
28. The method of claim 22, further comprising crediting a second portion of the savings amount to a second recipient account.
29. The method of claim 22, wherein debiting the savings amount occurs on a daily basis and is based on a aggregate savings amount from a plurality of financial transactions.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the present invention is directed to the computer processing of a consumer savings program. More particularly, one embodiment of the present invention is directed to the computer processing of a consumer savings program that provides for automatic savings during any transaction.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Many consumers feel that saving money is difficult. Those who make less than the median income level, or are raising families, or are new immigrants, find it particularly challenging to put money away for emergencies, a child's education, or a special purchase. Even affluent consumers who do have the means to save money often feel that they could save more.

Currently, a consumer can save funds in a bank account by making deposits into the account or by transferring funds from another account. Further, they can automate the savings function by setting up recurring transfers from another account. However, the recurring transfer function is limited by the requirement to set a specific and minimum transfer amount and the need for the transfer to occur on a particular schedule. The recurring transfer function does not adequately support the flexibility of daily or small amount transfers.

In addition, grandparents or other relatives or friends sometimes desire to contribute money to somebody else's (e.g., a grandchild's) savings account. These contributors likely desire an automatic and pain free way to facilitate such a transfer of funds.

Based on the foregoing, there is a need for a system and method for automatically facilitating savings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the present invention is a computer implemented method of processing a financial transaction executed by first person. The method includes determining an automatic savings amount from the financial transaction by rounding up the amount of the financial transaction to the nearest dollar. The method further includes debiting the calculated savings amount from an account of the first person and crediting the savings amount to an account of a second person.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an overview diagram of a system in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of the functionality performed by a server in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention in order to enroll a customer in the automatic savings program.

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of the functionality performed by a server in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention to daily process the automatic savings transaction.

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of the functionality performed by a server in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention to perform a daily posting of the automatic savings transaction.

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of the functionality performed by a server in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention to implement a matching process in conjunction with the automatic savings program.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

One embodiment of the present invention is a computer implemented savings program in which each financial transaction by a customer of a bank or other financial institution automatically generates a savings amount which is deposited in the customer's or somebody else's savings account. Thus the customer can accumulate savings conveniently and painlessly.

FIG. 1 is an overview diagram of a system 10 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. System 10 includes a point of sale device (“POS”) 12 coupled to a computer server 16 via a network 14.

POS 12 is an electronic cash register that includes a barcode reader 9 that is used to read barcodes on products and to automatically enter the products and prices into POS 12. POS 12 further includes a card reader 11 that reads account information from a credit card, debit card, or any other type of financial device that can be used to purchase an item. POS 12 may include other devices, such as a keypad, that can also be use to read account information for facilitating a transaction. In one embodiment, POS 12 is located at a retailer.

Network 14 can be any type of network or communication device that allows POS 12 to communicate with server 16. Network 14 includes one or more routers or computer systems. In one embodiment, network 14 includes a computer system operated by the issuer of the credit card or debit card/check card used to make a purchase at POS 12 (e.g., a computer system operated by VISA).

Server 16 is a computer system operated by a bank or other financial institution that is implementing an embodiment of the present invention. Server 16 may be any type of computer or other device that is capable of communicating with network 14 and executing software steps. In one embodiment, server 16 includes a processor, memory and communication interface.

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram of the functionality performed by server 16 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention in order to enroll a customer in the automatic savings program. In one embodiment, the functionality of FIG. 2, and FIGS. 3-5 disclosed below, is implemented by software stored in memory and executed by a processor. In other embodiments, the functionality can be performed by hardware, or any combination of hardware and software.

100: Account set-up and maintenance screens/interfaces are accessed in response to a customer request to enroll in the automatic savings program (50). In one embodiment, the screens/interfaces are accessed by bank personnel at a terminal locally or remotely connected to server 16. In another embodiment, a user may access the screens/interfaces at a terminal remotely connected to server 16 through network 14.

102: The checking account that is the source of the automatic savings amount is selected. The eligible source accounts are displayed from the customer's profile (51). In other embodiments, another type of account instead of a checking account can be used, as long as the selected account is a source of funds.

104: The types of debits/transactions that are to be “round up” are selected. “Round up” refers to one method used to calculate a savings amount from a transaction. In one embodiment, the round up amount is an amount of excess funds produced by applying a rounder transaction to the amount of a transaction such as a credit/debit card charge at POS 12. If the rounder transaction rounds up to the nearest dollar, for example, a purchase made for $54.08 would generate a rounded amount of $0.92. Other embodiments of the present invention may round up to a predetermined amount besides the nearest dollar. Still further, other embodiments of the present invention may calculate the savings amount using a method other than round up. For example, a fixed percentage can be applied to each transaction to calculate a savings amount, or a fixed amount of money (e.g., $1.50) can be considered the savings amount. The available debits/transaction types to be round up are displayed (52) and can include only check card/debit card POS transactions, or any other types of debits. Example of other debits that can be the subject of round up or other calculation of a savings amount include paper checks, electronic bill pay, electronic checks, automatic payments and Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) transfers.

106: The recipient account or accounts for the savings amount is selected based on the displayed eligible recipient accounts and % fields or the account number can be inputted. In one embodiment, possible recipient accounts include the customer's own savings account, person to person transfer (e.g., a grandparent's round ups being credited to a grandchild's savings account or 529 college savings plan), charities, investment accounts, etc. In general, any account that can accept transfers can be eligible for selection. If multiple recipient accounts are selected, the customer can choose a percentage distribution for each of the accounts, or another mechanism that can be used to divide the savings amount between the multiple accounts.

108: The name to display on the recipient's account statement as the source of the transfer is input. The name may be customized to a maximum number of characters or may default to a pre-set description. For example the account statement might state “a Transfer From Grandma”.

110: The customer is given disclosures that for example, describe the customer's selections and the legal ramifications of such selections.

An embodiment of the present invention also allows the customer to modify parameters or discontinue enrollment at any time remotely using an online banking feature or other remote computing technology.

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of the functionality performed by server 16 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention to daily process the automatic savings transaction.

200: The debit to the source account (e.g., check card POS, check, etc.) selected at 102 is authorized.

202: The debit transaction, such as a purchase at POS 12 using a debit card, is processed.

204: The debit transaction is posted to the source account.

206: The daily posting transaction begins.

208: The round up amount (or other savings amount) for each eligible debit transaction is determined. This occurs on a daily basis.

210: All round up amounts are aggregated. This occurs on a daily basis. By aggregating the round ups for one daily posting, overdrafts to the source account can be avoided. In one embodiment, the daily posting occurs at the end of the day to further avoid overdrafts.

212: A determination is made if funds are available in the source account. If not, the aggregated round up debit transaction is cancelled (214) and a $0.00 transaction is created with a no funds in source account descriptor (216).

FIG. 4 is a flow diagram of the functionality performed by server 16 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention to perform a daily posting of the automatic savings transaction.

300: If funds are determined to be available at 212, the aggregated round up debit transaction is posted.

302: The credit transaction is created.

304: A determination is made if the recipient account(s) selected at 106 is valid. If it is valid, the credit transaction is posted (310).

306: If the recipient account(s) is not valid at 304, the credit transaction is returned to the source account and a $0.00 transaction is created with a status descriptor. A report of the invalid source account is sent to an “exceptions & returns” file and enrollment of the automatic savings account for that customer is terminated (312, 314).

316: Monthly statements are generated that include the automatic savings function. Both the source and recipient accounts may display a month-to-date and year-to-date summary of round up transfers on their statements.

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram of the functionality performed by server 16 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention to implement a matching process in conjunction with the automatic savings program. A bank or other organization can implement the matching process in order to encourage more customers to enroll in the automatic savings program, or to encourage customers to modify their behavior for the benefit of the bank, such as to use their debit cards more often, use checks less, switch to electronic statements, use check safekeeping, etc. The bank can offer to match the round up or other savings amount for a fixed time period, a permanent time period, or other type of arrangement (e.g., every 10th transaction, $0.05 for every transaction, etc.).

400: During the daily posting process of FIG. 4, or at another point in the process (e.g., quarterly, annually, etc.), the customer data file for the automatic savings program is pulled. The data file stores all transactions eligible for matching and other data, such as the length of enrollment for the customer, that can be used to determine if the customer has met the matching incentive criteria.

402: It is determined if the customer met the matching incentive criteria. If not, the matching process is ended (408).

404: If the customer meets the matching incentive at 402, the matching funds credit transaction is calculated. The matching funds is then posted to the recipient account (406).

As disclosed, an automatic savings program in accordance to embodiments of the invention provides an easy and automatic method for a customer to save, and can encourage increased savings.

Several embodiments of the present invention are specifically illustrated and/or described herein. However, it will be appreciated that modifications and variations of the present invention are covered by the above teachings and within the purview of the appended claims without departing from the spirit and intended scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7480634Apr 15, 2002Jan 20, 2009Cornelius MarketingMethod and system for saving and investing through use of a money management card and pooled investment accounts
US7725391 *Sep 29, 2008May 25, 2010The Pnc Financial Services Group, Inc.Savings system based on time of transaction
US8214287 *Dec 11, 2008Jul 3, 2012Ernest GarfieldSystem for collecting and distributing charitable contributions
US8416924 *Oct 10, 2006Apr 9, 2013United Services Automobile Association (Usaa)Methods and systems for customer directed rounded purchase amount investments
US8548906Jan 24, 2008Oct 1, 2013Intuit Inc.Method and apparatus for automatic savings upon event detection
US8682760 *May 20, 2009Mar 25, 2014U.S. Bank National AssociationMethods and devices for savings participation
US8732080Jul 8, 2009May 20, 2014Quercus (BVI) LimitedSystem and method for executing a financial transaction
US8732082Feb 22, 2010May 20, 2014Quercus (BVI) LimitedSystem and method for executing an electronic payment
US20100138287 *Feb 1, 2010Jun 3, 2010Hoque Mohammad MFlexible Savings System
US20100299186 *May 20, 2009Nov 25, 2010Valerie Felice CameoMethods and devices for savings participation
US20130060692 *Sep 1, 2011Mar 7, 2013Bank Of America CorporationAccess Control for a Financial Account
Classifications
U.S. Classification705/38
International ClassificationG06Q40/00
Cooperative ClassificationG06Q40/025, G06Q40/02, G06Q20/40, G06Q20/10
European ClassificationG06Q40/02, G06Q40/025, G06Q20/40, G06Q20/10
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 10, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION, NORTH CAROLINA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CARRETTA, DANIEL A.;HANCOCK, THOMAS M.;LEWY, KAREN K.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:016627/0091;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050725 TO 20050728