MOBILE PHONE CHARGE CARD
NOTIFICATION AND AUTHORIZATION
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 5
Field of the Invention
The invention lies in the financial transaction processing field. More specifically, the invention relates to credit and 10 debit transactions and to related charge notification and charge authorization.
Credit cards and charge cards have become the primary vehicle by which payments for consumer services and consumer goods are transacted. In today's environment, 15 credit payments are authorized at the point of sale (POS) and the authorization is provided by the cardholder's signature on a receipt. Often, the transaction is performed under considerable time pressure (e.g., in a long cash-out line) and mistakes are only recognized after the transaction has been 20 completed. The consumer may, for example, have been charged too much, and he may have authorized the incorrect amount. As many consumers know, correcting such simple mistakes is not at all simple and the correction is time consuming and it is an expensive service for the credit card 25 and credit clearing houses to maintain.
Mistakes such as the foregoing, however, are not the main reason for considerable losses. Often, incorrect or nonauthorized charges are effected because of fraudulent or even innocent mistakes that could have been avoided, had 30 better authorization security been assured. It is well known that charge errors and charge fraud causes millions of dollars in losses in the United States alone.
Extraneous authorization security, on the other hand, may be too intrusive in many cases and may even have a negative 35 impact on the transaction.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a 40 credit card transaction notification and authorization method, which overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages of the heretofore-known devices and methods of this general type and which provides for a non-intrusive, userselectable notification and authorization system for credit 45 card transactions.
With the foregoing and other objects in view there is provided, in accordance with the invention, a payment authorization method, which comprises:
gathering, at a merchant's, account information for payment of a customer's purchase; transmitting an authorization request to a financial authorization system requesting payment authorization for the customer's purchase, the authorization request including the account information; notifying the customer by sending a message to a wireless
device carried upon the customer. In accordance with an added feature of the invention, the gathering step comprises swiping a card presented by the 60 customer and containing the account information.
With the above and other objects in view there is also provided, in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention, a payment authorization method, which comprises: 65 gathering, at a merchant's, account information for payment of a customer's purchase;
transmitting an authorization request to a financial authorization system requesting payment authorization for the customer's purchase, the authorization request including the account information; calling a wireless device associated with the customer and prompting the customer for confirmation or refusal of the transaction; and processing the authorization request in accordance with the customer's response by either refusing the transaction or processing the purchase. In accordance with an alternative implementation of the invention the customer is required to enter their personal identifier (e.g., a PIN) upon being prompted. A proper PIN response is considered an authorization, while an incorrect PIN or no response at all is considered a refusal.
Other features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in the appended claims.
Although the invention is illustrated and described herein as embodied in a credit card transaction notification and authorization system, it is nevertheless not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention and within the scope and range of equivalents of the claims.
The construction of the invention, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof will be best understood from the following description of the specific embodiment when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating a transaction according to the invention, in which the customer is notified immediately during the transaction; and
FIG. 2 is a flow diagram illustrating a method for charge request processing according to the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
Referring now to the figures of the drawing in detail and first, particularly, to FIG. 1 thereof, there is seen a simplified process stream in a cash-less sales transaction. A charge card 1 is swiped at a magnetic card reader 2 at a merchant terminal 3, or the card number is manually entered at the merchant terminal 3. The latter may represent a store, it may be a teller or an automated teller machine (ATM), or it may be a virtual terminal in an internet-type transaction. The cardholder, or the person swiping the card, may now be prompted to select a debit transaction or a credit transaction on the merchant terminal 3. If debit is selected, the cardholder enters the PIN associated with the card or with the account. If credit is selected, the cardholder is requested to sign for the purchase.
Prior to the customer's signing for the purchase, the merchant terminal 3 connects, through a modem 5, to an acquirer 6. The latter obtains the information from the modem 5 and checks against its data sources whether or not the transaction should be authorized. At the same time, a corresponding customer profile is checked as to the customer's set preferences concerning the notification/authorization options according to the invention.
Here, the customer's profile is set to simple "notification," which means that the system only notifies the cardholder by sending a message to his wireless device (e.g., cell phone). The message may be an audible message such as, for