back to article Amazon wants in on single-credit-card biz

The mid-November launch of payment startup Coin generated a flurry of press, but in the background, Amazon has also taken an interest in a similar one-card-to-rule-them-all model. In one of those serendipitous moments that Google can provide, Vulture South was wondering about a completely different class of patents when we …


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  1. Kevin Hutchinson

    Prior art

    "Coin" just need to show prior art (i.e. blueprints for their biz prior to launch) and the Amazon patent application is null and void. Simple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prior art

      The question is: can 'Coin' patent their idea at this stage? Clearly there is interest in this idea and they clearly can't compete with an established name that implement the same idea.

      By the way, prior art might be a bit tricky, Amazon clearly says 'card' while 'Coin' is using a device (or that is how I understand it from the article).

      1. FunkyEric

        Re: Prior art

        Surely a "card" is a "device"?

    2. annodomini2

      Re: Prior art

      All Patent systems in the world are first to file.

      It would be null and void if Coin PUBLISHED details before the filing.

  2. Barrie Shepherd

    A little late

    The magnetic strip is very much on the way out - replaced by the chip - I doubt that the financial institutions will "facilitate" transfer of the chip coding to a multi vendor card arrangement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A little late

      Bang on. I also doubt they'd be sympathetic to anyone who copied their card and used it in a third party device. Especially a third party device with radio connections...

    2. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: A little late

      from my experience, it's little different in the US.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: A little late

        Yup, not seen a card here with a chip yet although they may be on the way. Mind you they still use cheques a lot which speaks volumes. To many small banks, to many fiefdoms, the banks love to protect their income from selling you cheque books and charging businesses for cashing cheques. It's a pain in the backside traveling as many countries don't take non chip cards so I have to keep an account running in the UK just for the plastic.

        1. phil dude

          Re: A little late

          my local credit union is much better than any UK bank I have dealt with.

          No charge if you don't have a cheque book. I haven't written a cheque in years anyway..

          But everything is nicely segmented online. You can download all your records (I have to send a

          SA request to get this from Barcalys! )

          I don't recall where I read it, but the reason chips have been slow to be adopted in the US was the perceived danger in having a piece of information a criminal might need to use your card. So no chip, bag swiped, no need for owner.

          Plus, they print the chipless cards in the bank for me... any design you want which is just ,nice.


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A little late

            UK banks will tend to get you a chip & pin card replaced within a couple of days, mainly post time. I believe Metro Bank produce chip and pin cards in house while you wait. There are a couple of banks that produce fancy pictures on cards, but not many people seem to go for them.

            I can't remember the last time I had to write a cheque, but I've never had to pay for my own cheque book.

        2. Veni, Vidi, Velcro

          Re: A little late

          @Rampant Spaniel: There are credit cards with chip + PIN available in the US, and no foreign transaction fees. I know the Marriott Black card (the more expensive of the two Marriott offerings) from Chase is one, and I'd be surprised if there aren't a few other cards with a similar offering popping up. The rest of the card benefits are really only helpful if you frequent Marriott properties, but you may be able to give Chase a call and ask which (if any) other cards of theirs have chip + PIN.

          1. Rampant Spaniel

            Re: A little late

            Thanks, unfortunately we don't have any chase on island here :) We do have a chase dual US UK account (well two linked accounts, one for each currency) but tend not to use it because of the lack of chase branches here and the cards for it didn't have chips.

    3. VinceH

      Re: A little late

      "I doubt that the financial institutions will "facilitate" transfer of the chip coding to a multi vendor card arrangement."


      What I suspected was that users of the card will submit their existing card details to Amazon. Before using the card, they'd log into their account, and specify which real card to use to make the next payment, and then toddle off to use their card. As far as any given vendor is concerned, will simply be a card issued by Amazon - which is who they'll receive payment from (?) - and behind the scenes, Amazon would debit the pre-selected card in order to fund that payment.

      However, the article (and patent application based on a skim reading) does actually describe a programmable card. Perhaps a similar concept, but with the card storing the choice of account: Vendor is still simply seeing a card from Amazon, and receiving payment from them, but the details of where the payment comes from to get to Amazon is stored on the card itself, rather than on their server.

      I'm not sure how Amazon will get any benefit (read: money) out of this. The (real) card issuers aren't going to want to give Amazon a cut. The end users won't want to pay extra on top of whatever they're buying (well, I wouldn't, anyway). And the vendors won't want to give up any of their sales value on top of what they already have to pay to accept cards, just because Joe Bloggs wants to pay by Amazon.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All your accounts on one card?

    That'll do nicely, thanks for your money.

  4. boznal

    Patent Wars

    My card has round corners. Oh dear.

  5. armyknife

    How many eggs in that basket?

    'Accident' waiting to happen?

  6. poohbear


    I thought this whole 'everything on one device' was where Google was headed with Android and Google Wallet .. they've already talked about rolling your cards, cash and keys into your phone ...

    1. ReggaeReggaeSource

      Re: But...

      Google Wallet is indeed very similar to this. The App allows you to store multiple store loyalty cards in your Google Wallet, plus it allows you to link multiple credit/debit cards and a bank account. You can have funds stored in your Wallet to spend online and transfer money, or you can. It's a bit like PayPal really - don't they have any patents for this?

      There is now also a physical Google Wallet Card (in the US only) that taps into your Wallet account for funds. The part I'm unsure of here is whether that allows you to spend only the funds currently in your Wallet, or allows you to "passthrough" funds from your bank account and/or debit/credit cards.

      All that said, I can't believe someone like Google hasn't submitted similar patent applications for what Coin and Amazon are proposing. I wonder how the lawyers accept their payments?

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