dated statement whereby reconciliation of the receipts and the consolidated statement is facilitated.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a structure for and method of making charge transactions whereby a single payment may be periodically made by the 5 holder of a plurality of charge cards to settle charge transactions charged to charge cards issued by a plurality of separate charge card issuers and charge card issuers do not need to deal with each of their charge card holders.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide 10 a structure for and method of making charge transactions including automatically selecting predetermined preferred charge cards, altering the predetermined preferences, switching preferences between charge card issuers when credit limit is exceeded on a preferred charge card ,to 15 minimize less than minimum payment costs or to take advantage of a particular card issuer's promotion.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is a structure for and method of facilitating charge transactions including, a charge card selector card, point of charge transaction means point of charge card selection means, and a plurality of charge card 25 issuers each including point of credit authorization means, whereby in accordance with the method of the invention a card holder of a plurality of separate charge cards issued by a plurality of separate charge card issuers may make charge transactions at a charge card accepting merchant with the 30 charge card selector card and the charge transactions are charged to predetermined charge cards of the card holder in accordance with the card holder's predetermined preference or altered preference, interest rates and credit limits on particular charge cards, and promotions of charge card 35 issuers.
Further, in accordance with the present invention through the use of the charge card selector card, card holder receipts for all charged transactions during a statement period are sequentially numbered and a single consolidated statement 40 is provided the card holder at the end of a statement period having all of the charge transactions during the statement period similarly listed sequentially whereby the card holders' charge transaction receipts are readily reconciled with the consolidated statement. 45
More specifically, the structure with which the card holder interfaces in accordance with the structure of the invention includes a plurality of charge cards, a single charge card selecting card, merchandise which is desired to purchase 5Q with a charge transaction, separate receipts for each charge transaction, a consolidated statement of the charge transactions and a single payment for the charge transactions in a statement period.
The charge card selector card includes thereon identifi- 55 cation data for the card holder and for the charge card selector. It may also include for each individual card holder data representing each of the charge cards issued to the card holder by the plurality of separate charge card issuers. The structure of the charge card selector card further includes gg structure for providing alternative charge card holder identification data depending on the orientation of the card as it is read.
The charge card selector card may also have a protected, personal identification number therein which in some modi- 65 fications, such as an electronic or "smart" code, may include a personal algorithm security feature.
The point of charge transaction means at the charge card accepting merchant includes a card reader means, a voucher and customer receipt printing means, means for reconciliation of the charge transactions consummated by the charge card accepting merchant for a predetermined period and means for settling the charge card accepting merchant's accounts periodically.
The point of charge card selection means at the charge card selector includes means for receiving identification and charge transaction data from the point of charge transaction means, means for transferring to the point of charge transaction means, identification and charge transaction data, customer receipt sequential numbering data and credit authorization data, means for selecting a predetermined one of the plurality of the charge cards held by the card holder to which a charge transaction is to be charged in accordance with the card holder's preselected preference, card holder's override, charge card credit limit, charge card interest rates and issuer promotions.
The charge card selector, point of charge card selector means further includes means for generating a consolidated statement for the card holder including separate charge transactions sequentially numbered for the statement period whereby the card holder can readily reconcile sequentially numbered receipts and the consolidated statement. Structure is also provided at the charge card selecting means for receiving payment from the card holder resulting from the consolidated statement and generating a separate payment to each of the plurality of charge card issuers in accordance with the charge transactions with the particular separate charge card issuer, card holders preference, and minimum payment requirements of the separate charge card issuers.
Each charge card issuer, point of credit authorization means includes means to issue its separate charge cards to a card holder, check the card holder's credit in accordance with charge card validation and credit limit and the card holder's account, and to authorize a charge transaction utilizing the charge card. Structure for periodic reconciliation and settlement of accounts with charge card accepting merchants is also included in the point of credit authorization means.
The method of effecting a charge transaction in accordance with the invention includes the steps of the holder of a plurality of separate charge cards from a plurality of separate card issuers obtaining a charge card selector card and presenting it to a charge card accepting merchant together with merchandise it is desired to purchase and charge to a predetermined charge card.
The charge card accepting merchant reads identification data from the charge card selecting card including card holder and charge card selector identification data, generates the merchant's identification data and data representative of the charge transaction, and transfers all the data to the charge card selector.
The charge card selector receives the data from the merchant, selects the charge card to which the purchase is to be charged in accordance with the card holder's predetermined preferences, altered predetermined preferences and interest rates and credit limits of the card holder's charge cards. The charge card selector then transfers the identification and charge transaction data to the issuer of the selected charge card.
The selected charge card issuer checks the card holder's account and authorizes credit if it is warranted and passes identification charge transaction and credit authorization data back to the merchant through the charge card selector.