|Publication number||US20070106558 A1|
|Application number||US 11/539,947|
|Publication date||May 10, 2007|
|Filing date||Oct 10, 2006|
|Priority date||May 6, 2003|
|Also published as||CA2524062A1, CN1784699A, CN100587743C, US7797192, US20040225567, US20070094087, US20070094088, WO2004100027A2|
|Publication number||11539947, 539947, US 2007/0106558 A1, US 2007/106558 A1, US 20070106558 A1, US 20070106558A1, US 2007106558 A1, US 2007106558A1, US-A1-20070106558, US-A1-2007106558, US2007/0106558A1, US2007/106558A1, US20070106558 A1, US20070106558A1, US2007106558 A1, US2007106558A1|
|Inventors||Joan Mitchell, Scott Mastie|
|Original Assignee||International Business Machines Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (56), Classifications (19), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention is a continuation in part of published U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/430,824 (Attorney Docket No. BLD920030021US1), entitled “Point-of-Sale Receipt Electronic Generation” to Joan L. Mitchell et al., filed May 6, 2003 and published Nov. 11, 2004, publication No. 2004/0225567 A1; and related to U.S. Pat. No. 6,883,706 B2 (Attorney Docket No. BLD920030020US1), entitled “Point-of-Sale Bill Authentication” to Scott D. Mastie et al., issued Apr. 26, 2005; and to published U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/446,204 (Attorney Docket No. BLD920030019US1), entitled “Expense Accounting Data Management Based on Electronic Expense Document” to Joan L. Mitchell et al., filed May 27, 2003 and published Dec. 2, 2004, publication No. 2004/0243489 A1; all assigned to the assignee of the present invention and incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to business transactions and more particularly to in-store business transactions and payment of such in-store business transactions and self service transactions at electronic Point of Sale kiosks, such as at automated gas pumps and the like.
2. Background Description
Frequently, new businesses fail because of cash-flow problems and under capitalization. Often this is because a new business person finds it difficult tracking business expenses. Also, the typical 30-90 day lag time between invoicing and payment can cause budgeting problems, even when accounts receivable sufficiently cover ordinary expenses. Bad or bounced checks further deplete business resources and are not reflected on the balance sheet until marked as a loss. So, while the balance sheet may indicate that the business is in the black, a large accounts receivable may leave the business cash poor and unable to meet payroll or pay creditors on time.
Moreover, tracking bills, payments and receipts can be a very time consuming process. A business may have multiple employees on expense accounts or otherwise spending company money, each too busy to take time to promptly account for expenditures. Even if business promptly entered expenditures and receipts in the books, many businesses only balance their financial books/checkbooks once a month. There are a number of commercially available accounting software packages to assist small businesses in these complicated and time-consuming accounting tasks. Unfortunately, these off-the-shelf packages depend upon either manually entering the data or periodically downloading checking account and credit card information from multiple accounts.
These types of expenditure problems are not limited to new businesses; individuals and families frequently encounter similar cash flow problems as well. Financial difficulties arising from these types of monetary issues can stress a marriage to the breaking point. For example, couples may use a joint bank account and have joint credit card accounts; individually drawing on the same account and independently charging purchases to their joint accounts. When one or both of the partners is lax about recording joint account transactions, the charges may reach the credit card limit and/or the account may become overdrawn without either party realizing the problem. Consequently, outstanding checks can exceed available funds and some may even bounce for insufficient funds. Without available funds, credit card payment due dates may pass without payment, leaving the credit cards unpaid. Bounced checks and missed credit card payments injure both partners' credit rating. Unfortunately, these bounced checks and missed credit card payments incur large penalties that further exacerbate the problem, potentially stretching an already tight budget past the breaking point. If, for example, one partner is susceptible to “impulse buying,” spontaneously making unplanned purchases, the couples' budget may be blown before the other partner is aware of the problem. For these and other reasons, marital finances have been named, consistently, the top source of marital strife.
Thus, there is a need for notifying individuals and business of potential budgetary problems in real time; more particularly, for notifying the appropriate individual(s) of such potential budgetary problems based on estimated spending that accounts are in danger of being overdrawn; and, optionally, preventing parties from overdrawing the account(s).
It is therefore a purpose of the invention to reduce inadvertent overdrafts and unbudgeted/over-budget expenditures;
It is another purpose of this invention to selectively allow business transactions to go forward even with insufficient funds in an account initially selected for payment;
It is yet another purpose of the invention to reduce inadvertent overdrafts in point-of-sale terminal purchases.
The present invention is related to a method and program product for conducting business transactions and avoiding inadvertent overdrafts. First, the value of an intended purchase is estimated and an electronic receipt is generated for the estimate. An account identified for payment (e.g., a checking account or a credit card account) is analyzed for sufficient funds and alerts may be provided whenever the analysis indicates that the account has insufficient funds. As a result of the alert, the purchase may be halted or another form of payment may be selected. Also, total in-store purchases may be estimated and other accounts may be analyzed to determine if, in addition to being overdrawn for the selected account, the transaction is over budget.
The foregoing and other objects, aspects and advantages will be better understood from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention with reference to the drawings, in which:
Turning now to the drawings, and more particularly,
As used herein for example only, a customer, shopper or purchaser (used interchangeably) at a customer location 12 is identified with a private or public concern is conducting a transaction with a merchant or other business concern. The private concern may be, for example an individual household, a business or other organization or business. Similarly, a public concern may be, for example, a business or a non-profit organization. Thus, a customer/purchaser may be a member of the household, a business employee or a member of the organization. The POS 14 is located with the business concern 30, e.g., in a bank, on the premises of a department or grocery store or, is suitably located for electronic purchases (e-purchases). Further, either or both of the customers to the business concern and the private/public concern are proactively alerted or notified of budgetary problems, even from available downloadable information that normally does not include sufficient budgetary detail, e.g., to automatically assign each purchase to a budget category. Thus, the present invention facilitates budget compliance, even when a particular customer is not paying attention to the effects of individual purchases during shopping, to mitigate the effects of impulse-buying and other extra-budgeted purchases.
Each POS terminal 14 may be located on customer premises 30, e.g., a bank, or be remotely located and include an imager 40, a check/currency inserter 42, a receipt instruction receiver 46 with a receipt destination retriever 62, an electronic receipt generator (ERG) 48 with an authenticating data generator (ADG) 50, a transmitter 52 and any other components (OC) 54. Imager 40 converts cash (paper currency or bills) 16, and/or checks 18 into images 58 that may be inserted by check/currency inserter 42 into a paper receipt, 28 an electronic receipt 26 or both for recordation. Electronic receipt generation and storage is also described, for example, in published U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/446,204 (Attorney Docket No. BLD920030019US1) entitled “Expense Accounting Data Management Based on Electronic Expense Document” to Joan L. Mitchell et al., filed May 27, 2003, published Dec. 2, 2004, publication No. 2004/0243489 A1, assigned to the assignee of the present invention and incorporated herein by reference. Receipt instruction receiver (RIR) 46 may include a destination retriever (DR) 62 and receive receipt instructions (RI) 60. Each receipt instruction 60 includes a Receipt Destination Identifier (RDI) 64 and a content instruction (CI) 66. A receipt instruction 60 reflects communicated customer preferences, e.g., provided verbally and manually entered to POS terminal 14 or electronically generated. Electronically generated customer preferences may be gathered, for example, from an electronic payment from, for example, a credit card 20, a smart card 22, a PDA 24 or any other suitable electronic payment mechanism.
Each RDI 64 expressly or implicitly indicates where to send a corresponding electronic receipt, if any. An RDI 64 may expressly state a receipt destination 65 as, for example, an Internet protocol (IP) address, a mailing address, an e-mail address, e.g., for a non-volatile storage. Customer identification may imply a receipt destination 65 stored in a receipt destination database 68, e.g., by business name, by credit card number, by smart card identification, or by PDA based IR communications. The destination retriever 62 retrieves implied destinations from receipt destination database 68. The electronic receipt generator 48 generates an electronic receipt 26 for each transaction, e.g., from date and time; merchant; issuing agent; and merchant address. Electronic receipts may be in a standard format, e.g., electronic data interchange (EDI) format or a personalized electronic receipts 26 based on content instruction 66, e.g., indicated in a content database 70. Authentication data generator 50 can provide transaction authentication data 72 for confirming that an electronic receipt 26 has not been altered. For example, authentication data 72 may include receipt contents, date, time, a merchant identification or, biometric data collected from the purchaser. The authentication data 72 may be stored at a merchant system 74 for access by receipt destination 65 with each receipt 26 or transmitted separately to receipt destination 65. The transmitter 52 communicates electronic receipts 26 and authentication data 72 to receipt destinations 65 and/or merchant system 74. Other POS terminal 14 components 54 may include, for example, a keyboard, a central processing unit (CPU), a monitor, a bar code scanner, a telecommunications system, a credit card authentication system, a smart card authentication system, a PDA communications system, RFID detection modules and/or a cash drawer.
Preferably, receipt destination 65 includes an expense accounting system 80 such as a customer employer expense reporting system, a customer personal expense tracking system (e.g., Quicken®, Microsoft Money®, TurboTax® or a spreadsheet application) and/or a customer accountant expense tracking system. Each electronic receipt 26 provides immediate information for cash flow and budget purposes to expense accounting system 80. Also, the expense account system 80 may include an expense categorizer (EC) 82 categorizing each electronic receipt 26 into an expense category, e.g., clothing, food, or entertainment. A tax data collector (TDC) 84 gathers tax related data in electronic receipts 26, e.g., sales tax, deductible expenses, deductible donations, and medical expenses. A tax authority (TA) 86 (e.g., the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a state tax department, or foreign equivalent thereof) may provide tax related information or, tax related information may be otherwise provided. Also, the receipt destination 65 may include appropriate receipt storage 88 for long term archiving.
If in step 110 the corresponding account has sufficient funds or remaining credit to complete the current purchase, then the purchase proceeds in step 112, e.g., by finalizing the temporary electronic receipt for the current customer. Otherwise, if the customer is under-funded in step 108, such that the current purchase exceeds customer funds and the corresponding account will be overdrawn or a credit limit will be exceeded; then in step 114 the business/merchant is alerted, e.g., by a POS terminal message. Thus, the business/merchant receives an application alert or another notification when a customer has exceeded his/her purchasing authority, e.g., is exceeding the budget or an account will be overdrawn. Then, optionally, in step 116 the customer also is notified, e.g., by a message displayed on the credit card/smart card scanner, or on the PDA 24, and the customer may select another form of payment, e.g., cash 16 instead of credit card 20 or a different credit card. Thus, overdraft notification enables purchasers to switch the method of payment or transfer funds on-the-fly and in real time to avoid incurring bounced check and/or overdraft fees. Moreover, the business/merchant avoids the aggravation of collecting bad or bounced checks. Optionally, the respective bank/creditor may offer additional account protection services, e.g., verifying that the customer has subscribed to the service in step 108 and only providing an indication for subscribers. For example, services may be offered to help individuals, families and businesses to avoid insufficient funds or over-credit situations that would otherwise arise.
So, for example, upon entering the cashier's line and deciding to request a purchase estimate in step 122; then in step 126, the customer can forward an expected purchase amount, e.g., an estimate or a calculated amount. For example, the customer can access a bank or credit account by cell phone, PDA, or other handheld device (or use a merchant's kiosk such as an ATM machine in a store or on an automated gas pump) and, enter the expected amount for purchasing the merchandise in step 128. Multiple responses can be returned in step 130 including “OK,” “Borderline” (e.g., within $200 or a certain minimum funding limit), and “insufficient funds.” Once the purchase is complete in step 124, the expected amount is replaced with the final purchase amount from the electronic detailed receipt. Meanwhile other purchasers using the same account are warned based on the updated available funds, to have current data and avoid secondary over-credit or insufficient funds instances. Thus, the public/private concern avoids having compounded the problem, and may avoid it altogether.
Advantageously, purchases can be halted before bouncing checks, incurring overdraft penalties, exceeding credit limits, exceeding budgetary guidelines or otherwise injuring negatively affecting credit scores and reports. Customers have an accurate, up-to-date accounting of available funds relative to the respective budget. The accounting may be used, for example, for education regarding monthly living expenses. Further, such an accurate up-to-date accounting reduces the likelihood of inadvertently creating debt by exceeding available funds (e.g., by check, credit card, or e-purchase) and may encourage personal responsibility. With notification provided by the present invention customers can avoid otherwise inadvertent overdrafts and resulting bounced checks, e.g., by aborting purchases or transferring money into a depleted account. A customer can query bank accounts even before initiating a transaction and while waiting in line, e.g., from a PDA, handheld computer, or cell phone and confirm that an estimated or calculated amount will not exceed available funds. Moreover, merchants can accept checks verified at a preferred POS terminal according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention without concern that such checks may bounce.
Also, the present invention provides immediate purchase verification for an additional level of overdraft protection, e.g., banks may institute an “instant overdraft” option whereby banking customers receive proactive notice of potentially overdrawn situations. Many banks currently offer “overdraft insurance,” that allows individuals to replenish overdrawn funds, rather than allowing protected accounts to be overdrawn, bouncing a check. Instead, banks offering “instant overdraft” protection can allow customers to OK an overdraft on-the-spot, e.g., for an appropriate interest charge. Thus, purchases may complete with otherwise rejected checks (even checks that would cause the account to be overdrawn), e.g., with the customer's promise to replenish the account before close-of-business or by the customer funding the purchase from another account. Further, such an “instant overdraft” protection option provides banks with a new revenue service opportunity, allowing a real-time funds-balance-verification, that may be marketed as a fee-based value-add offering, or services related to such an offering.
While the invention has been described in terms of preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modification within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. It is intended that all such variations and modifications fall within the scope of the appended claims. Examples and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded as illustrative rather than restrictive.
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|International Classification||G07G5/00, G06Q20/00|
|Cooperative Classification||G06Q40/12, G07G5/00, G06Q20/202, G06Q20/20, G06Q40/02, G06Q20/203, G06Q20/209, G06Q20/0453|
|European Classification||G06Q40/02, G06Q20/209, G06Q20/20, G06Q40/10, G06Q20/0453, G06Q20/202, G06Q20/203, G07G5/00|
|Oct 10, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MITCHELL, JOAN L., DR.;MASTIE, SCOTT D.;REEL/FRAME:018369/0224;SIGNING DATES FROM 20061005 TO 20061009