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Amazon wants in on single-credit-card biz

Could Bezos swipe the Coin biz model?

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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 stumbled across this filing, for a “Dynamic Credit Card”.

The patent application, filed by Amazon and dated September 5, 2013, seeks to give the Bezos Barn ownership of “a payment card that is programmable by a user in order to access one or more accounts from multiple financial institutions and/or other institutions.”

If that sounds familiar, it's because that's what Coin is offering – or as Coin puts it: “Coin is a connected device that can hold and behave like the cards you already carry. Coin works with your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards. Instead of carrying several cards you carry one Coin. Multiple accounts and information all in one place.”

The Amazon filing covers a system whose claims are, among other things:

  • Letting the user select which account they're using the card for at any particular time;
  • A magnetic stripe-based credit card that includes an on-card microprocessor, and the on-card account selection application;
  • GPS on the card, for location determination; and
  • Associated business methods.

The Register has asked Coin what patents protect its own model, and will await its response with interest. ®

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