Amazon Program Could Enable ‘Anonymous’ Online Payments (Apr. 18, 2013)
With privacy and security concerns among the most important factors for many online shoppers, a plan by electronic retail giant Amazon could enable consumers to make purchases from third parties without disclosing any personal information to the seller. According to a patent filed by Amazon in 2009 and published earlier this week, the system would require users to register with Amazon and then be issued temporary codes redeemable for purchases. The seller, meanwhile, would use the code to credit their own account in the amount of the sale. Neither buyer nor seller would be required to reveal to the other party personal information such as their name, phone number or email address; that data would be known only by Amazon. The codes could have expiration dates so that they’d need to be used within a particular period of time, or could be usable for multiple purchase payments, according to the patent filing.
While the patent was filed four years ago, Amazon has been ramping up its payments business as of late. In February, the company unveiled plans to launch its own form of virtual currency to be used for app purchases through Amazon Appstore and to make in-app purchases through its Kindle Fire mobile tablet. Known as Amazon Coins, the currency initially will be given away for free to spur usage by consumers and, in turn, encourage app developers to devise more and better apps for the Amazon Appstore—which has lagged behind Apple and Google’s app offerings—to meet the increased demand.