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Apple Patent Suggest Sliding Virtual Cards to Confirm NFC Payments?

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Rumors suggest that NFC could be in the works for the new iPhone. While the limited space and rumored design of the so-called iPhone 5 might not allow for it, one thing does seem clear- Apple is interested in NFC. If not now, perhaps in the iPhone 5S or whatever they decide to call it?

Where’s the evidence of Apple’s interest? Beyond its somewhat-limited eWallet-type app, Passbook, coming to iOS 6, there is now patent information that could possibly allude to an NFC-based payment system in the works.

The new Apple patent suggests a graphical user interface that would represent the payment transaction through a digital image. Sound complicated? Basically, imagine looking at your screen to see a digital version of your MasterCard or Visa. To confirm the payment, this patent would basically have you touch the screen and ‘slide’ the card across it.

Sounds innocent enough, and it could just be a feature that will make it into PassBook for debit/credit cards that were manually entered, right? That’s entirely possible, but reading the detailed parts of the patent pictures and information makes it more likely that NFC is a key part of this patent system.

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Exact words here:

Close range communication with the NFC device may take place via magnetic field induction, allowing the NFC device to communicate with other NFC devices or to retrieve information from tags having radio frequency identification (RFID) circuitry. As discussed below, the NFC device may provide a manner of connecting to a shopping website and communicating with an external server.

Interpreting that, it’s pretty obvious that the idea here is to retrieve ID information from cards through NFC, and the final piece of the puzzle is revealed here:

For example, credit cards may be digitally represented within an electronic wallet or an online payment system. After movement of the graphical elements, the electronic device may transmit a confirmation message to initiate payment with the selected payment instrument.

The ending part of this segment says you could slide your digital card on-screen and then initiate payment with “the selected payment instrument”- sounds like a NFC card reader to me. What do you think? Does this patent suggest some kind of NFC payment system that makes use of graphical sliding and pictures to confirm transactions? Or something else entirely?

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