US20150248661A1 - Credit account linking system - Google Patents

Credit account linking system Download PDF

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US20150248661A1
US20150248661A1 US14/637,327 US201514637327A US2015248661A1 US 20150248661 A1 US20150248661 A1 US 20150248661A1 US 201514637327 A US201514637327 A US 201514637327A US 2015248661 A1 US2015248661 A1 US 2015248661A1
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customer
customer information
credit
information
computer
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US14/637,327
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Tim PONTIOUS
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Comenity LLC
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Comenity LLC
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/22Payment schemes or models
    • G06Q20/24Credit schemes, i.e. "pay after"
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/08Payment architectures
    • G06Q20/20Point-of-sale [POS] network systems
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/22Payment schemes or models
    • G06Q20/227Payment schemes or models characterised in that multiple accounts are available, e.g. to the payer
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/38Payment protocols; Details thereof
    • G06Q20/40Authorisation, e.g. identification of payer or payee, verification of customer or shop credentials; Review and approval of payers, e.g. check credit lines or negative lists
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q20/00Payment architectures, schemes or protocols
    • G06Q20/38Payment protocols; Details thereof
    • G06Q20/40Authorisation, e.g. identification of payer or payee, verification of customer or shop credentials; Review and approval of payers, e.g. check credit lines or negative lists
    • G06Q20/401Transaction verification
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/01Customer relationship, e.g. warranty
    • G06Q30/018Business or product certification or verification
    • G06Q30/0185Product, service or business identity fraud
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q40/00Finance; Insurance; Tax strategies; Processing of corporate or income taxes
    • G06Q40/02Banking, e.g. interest calculation, credit approval, mortgages, home banking or on-line banking

Abstract

A method for authorizing access to a customer's credit account is described. The method includes: accessing a set of customer information particular to a customer to achieve an accessed set of customer information; comparing the assessed set of customer information to stored customer information; based on the comparing, determining if a match between the received set of customer information and the stored customer information exists, wherein if the match exists, identifying a matched stored customer information; identifying a customer credit account, of the set of credit accounts, linked to the matched stored customer information to achieve an identified customer credit account; and generating a credit verification for the customer, enabling the customer to cause a set of charges to be applied to the identified customer credit account.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to and benefit of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 61/947,347, filed on Mar. 3, 2014 entitled “DRIVERS LICENSE LOOK-UP” by Tim Pontious, having Attorney Docket No. ADS-063.PRO, and assigned to the assignee of the present application.
  • This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______ filed on XXX entitled “DRIVERS LICENSE LOOK-UP”, by Tim Pontious, having Attorney Docket No. ADS-063A, and assigned to the assignee of the present application.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Presently, when customers forget to take their credit cards with them while shopping, even if the customer has photo identification, the customer is not able to purchase desired goods and services.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of this specification, illustrate various embodiments and, together with the Description of Embodiments, serve to explain principles discussed below. The drawings referred to in this brief description should not be understood as being drawn to scale unless specifically noted.
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram that illustrates an embodiment of a credit account linker, in accordance with an embodiment.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram that illustrates an embodiment of a system that includes the credit account linker of FIG. 1, in accordance with an embodiment.
  • FIG. 3 depicts a flow diagram for a method for linking a customer to a credit account to enable the consumer to purchase items at a store without having the credit card for presentation, in accordance with an embodiment.
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of an example computer system with which or upon which various embodiments of the present invention may be implemented.
  • SUMMARY
  • The following is a summary of at least one embodiment of the present technology:
  • A method for authorizing access to a customer's credit account is described. The method includes: accessing a set of customer information particular to a customer to achieve an accessed set of customer information; comparing the assessed set of customer information to stored customer information, wherein the stored customer information comprises information associated with a set of customers and is linked to a set of credit accounts associated with the set of customers; based on the comparing, determining if a match between the received set of customer information and the stored customer information exists, wherein if the match exists, identifying a matched stored customer information; identifying a customer credit account, of the set of credit accounts, linked to the matched stored customer information to achieve an identified customer credit account; and generating an a credit verification for the customer, enabling the customer to cause a transactional activity to occur in association with the identified customer credit account. In a further embodiment, the foregoing described method further includes: sending the credit verification to a point of service station.
  • DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
  • Reference will now be made in detail to various embodiments, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While various embodiments are discussed herein, it will be understood that they are not intended to be limiting. On the contrary, the presented embodiments are intended to cover alternatives, modifications and equivalents, which may be included within the spirit and scope the various embodiments as defined by the appended claims. Furthermore, in this Description of Embodiments, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding. However, embodiments may be practiced without one or more of these specific details. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components, and circuits have not been described in detail as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of the described embodiments.
  • Notation and Nomenclature
  • Unless specifically stated otherwise as apparent from the following discussions, it is appreciated that throughout the present Description of Embodiments, discussions utilizing terms such as “accessing,” “comparing”, “finding”, “identifying”, “generating”, “sending” or the like, often refer to the actions and processes of an electronic computing device (or portion thereof), module or system, such as, but not limited to, a credit account linking system (See FIGS. 1 and 2). The electronic computing device/module/system transmits, receives, stores, manipulates and/or transforms signals represented as physical (electrical) quantities within the circuits, components, logic, and the like, of the electronic computing device/system into other signals similarly represented as physical electrical quantities within the electronic computing device/system or within or transmitted to other electronic computing devices/systems.
  • The following definitions apply:
  • “Client”: A retail partner of the system described herein for linking a credit account to a consumer.
  • “Client System”: the client's Point-of-Service system.
  • “Customer”: The client's consumer/customer.
  • “Customer Facing Device”: A device that allows direct interaction or communication with customers (such as a signature capture or pin pad device).
  • “Driver's License”: The term, “driver's license”, includes any government issued identification. For example, but not limited to such example, a government issued identification may refer to a state issued driver's license, a state identification, a military identification, a federal identification, a locally-issued identification, a province in Canada, etc. The government issued identification may be issued by any governmental authority.
  • “Points of Service”: Any channel where a transaction can be processed for a customer (e.g., Catalog, Web, Retail, Mobile, etc.).
  • “Request”: The client's system initiated transaction sent to the system described herein for linking a credit account to a customer.
  • “Response”: the transactional answer/response the system described herein for linking a credit account to a customer sends to the client.
  • “SSN”: Any governmentally assigned social security number (e.g., United States, Canada, etc.).
  • Overview of Embodiments and Discussion
  • Presently, when a customer forgets to take his credit cards with him while shopping, even if the customer has a photo identification, the customer is not able to purchase desired goods and services. Embodiments enable a customer to purchase items at a store location using his credit card account without having his credit card in-hand.
  • The following is a high-level non-limiting example of embodiments. In this example, the customer has accidentally left his credit card at home. Embodiments enable the customer to purchase items at a store without having his credit card. For example, the customer selects merchandise to purchase and begins the checkout process. The store associate enters the merchandise into the point of sale (POS) station (e.g., check-out register), totals the transaction, and asks the customer if she would like to place his order on his store-branded credit card. If the customer asks to place an order on his store-branded credit card, the store associate initiates the process of trying to apply the purchase to the customer's store-branded credit card. The store associate initiates this process by selecting an option (of several selectable options) presented at the point of sale station. For example, the selectable options may include, but are not limited to, the following: a new account, a loyalty/database; an account lookup; a transaction; a tender type; a customer; pricing; etc. In this example, the store associate selects the “account lookup” option.
  • Before or after selecting the “account lookup” option, the store associate asks the customer to enter personal customer information into the input/output device. In addition to initiating the “account lookup” option, and asking the customer to input his personal information, the store associate also requests a valid photo identification from the customer; the store associate determines if the photo on the valid identification matches the image of the customer.
  • The customer enters his personal information into a customer-facing device (input/output device). For example, this personal information may be the last four digits of his social security number. The customer confirms that the information that he entered is correct and “submits” this personal information (via clicking, etc.). In one embodiment, the customer and/or the sales associate scans the customer's driver's license with a two dimensional scanner.
  • The submitted personal information (including, in some embodiments, the scanned driver's license information) then is transmitted to a remote server (a server that is remote from the point of service “POS” station). This remote server includes a database of customer information linked with customer credit accounts (in one example, credit card accounts)j. The stored customer information is organized according to an identity of each customer in the database. The identity of each customer is linked to a credit account particular to that consumer. The remote server determines if the personal information that was input by the customer matches any of the stored customer information. Of note, it should be appreciated that the set of customer information includes information that was input from the customer who is trying to purchase items. Whereas, the stored customer information includes information that could potentially relate to the customer.
  • If the remote server determines that the personal information submitted by the customer matches stored customer information, then the remote server generates and sends a credit verification to the POS station, validating that a charge may be applied to the customer's credit account. (The customer's credit account is linked to the matched stored customer information for the purchase of the selected items.) If the store associate determines that the customer, who presented the valid photo identification, is that who is indicated in the photo, then the store associate proceeds to charge the customer's credit account (that is linked to the stored customer information having the entered social security information and zip code).
  • The following discussion will begin with a description of a credit account linker, with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. The discussion follows with a description of a method of operation, with reference to FIGS. 1-3. The discussion concludes with a description of an example computer system with which or upon which various embodiments of the present technology may be implemented.
  • Embodiments of a Credit Account Linker
  • FIGS. 1 and 2 depict block diagrams that illustrates an embodiment of a credit account linker 100 and a system that includes the credit account linker 100. The credit account linker 100 includes the following: a customer information accessor 105; a customer information comparor 110; a match determiner 115; a customer credit account identifier 120; and an credit verification generator 125. The credit account linker 100 optionally includes an credit verification sender 130.
  • FIG. 1 further depicts the credit account linker 100 coupled with the customer-facing device 155 and the POS station 160, in one embodiment.
  • The customer information accessor 105 is configured for accessing a set of customer information 135 that is particular to a customer 185. This set of customer information includes a predetermined amount of customer information. For example, in one embodiment, the predetermined amount of customer information is a predetermined number of digits of a social security number of the customer 185. For example, the predetermined number of digits is the last four digits of the social security number 140 of the customer 185. In another embodiment, the predetermined amount of customer information is a zip code 145 of the customer 185. In yet another embodiment, the predetermined amount of customer information is a password 150 for the customer 185. Of note, the predetermined amount of customer information may be any type and quantity of customer information. The customer-facing device 155 provides a request to the customer 185 for entry of a predetermined amount of customer information that is particular to the customer 185. Further, it should be appreciated that the set of customer information 135 may include one or more pieces of information about the customer 185. It should further be appreciated, that in various embodiments, the customer 185 may not be the person who is entering the set of customer information 135. A person at a call center or a store associate may be entering the set of customer information 135 into a system, the set of customer information 135, of which, is accessed by the customer information accessor 105.
  • The customer information comparor 110 compares the received set of customer information 135 to the stored consumer information 170. The set of customer information 135, after being accessed and/or received, is stored at the memory store 165. In one embodiment, the memory store 165 is a database coupled to the credit account linker 100. In another embodiment, the memory store 165 resides on the memory device described with reference to FIG. 2. The stored customer information 170 includes information associated with a set of customers (e.g., customer A “175A”, customer B “175B”, customer C “175C” and customer n “175 n . . . ” (herein after, “set of customers 175”, unless otherwise specified; of note, the set of customers 175 may be one or more customers) and is linked to a set of credit accounts (e.g., credit account 180A, credit account 180B, credit account 180C, and credit account 180 n . . . [hereinafter, “set of credit accounts 180”, unless otherwise specified] [of note, the set of credit accounts may be one or more credit accounts]) associated with the set of customers 175. In other words, a record of personal information for a customer and that customer's credit account information (e.g., credit card account, etc.) is stored at the memory store 165. In another embodiment, the record of personal information for a customer and that customer's credit account information is stored at a memory device separate from the memory store 165.
  • In one embodiment, a credit card associated with the credit account is a store-branded credit card. The store-branded credit card is associated with an entity (business, not-for-profit organization, etc.) that provides goods and/or services. The “store” may be a merchant that provides goods and/or services, regardless as to whether or not the store is an actual physical place. In other embodiments, the credit card associated with the credit account is not a store-branded credit card. In another embodiment, a credit account is store-branded (“branded-credit account”). In yet another embodiment, a credit account in not a store-branded (“non-branded-credit account”). For example, the credit account may be connected with, but is not limited to being, a retail store, a virtual store, an automobile loan account, etc.
  • The match determiner 115 is configured for, based on the comparing performed by the customer information comparor 110, finding a match between the received set of customer information 135 and the stored customer information 170 to achieve a matched stored customer information 190. In one embodiment, the match determiner 115 determines if a predetermined amount of information of the set of customer information 135 that is input by the customer 185 is the same as the stored customer information 170. Of note, and as discussed herein, the set of customer information 135 may be input by other entities (e.g., store associate, call center employee, etc.) other than the customer 185. This predetermined amount of information may be one or more items of information, such as, but not limited to such, the last four digits of the customer's social security number, the zip code of the customer's address, the customer's prearranged password, etc.
  • If the match determiner 115 does not find a match, then a matched stored consumer information 190 is not achieved. Instead, in one embodiment, when the match determiner 115 does not find a match, a “not found” message is generated by a not found message generator. The not found message is sent to the transmitter (see FIG. 2); the transmitter sends the not found message to the POS station 160. In receipt of this not found message, the POS station 160 displays the indication that the customer 185 does not have a credit account (as shown by the information stored at the memory store 165); thus, the credit verification 197 may not be generated. The store associate then has the option to provide the customer 185 with the opportunity to create a credit account, via the customer-facing device 155 and/or the POS station 160, with entered customer information that will be linked with a credit account.
  • The customer credit account identifier 120 is configured for identifying a customer credit account, of the set of credit accounts 180, linked to the matched stored customer information 190 to achieve an identified customer credit account 195.
  • The credit verification generator 125 generates a credit verification 197 for the customer 185, such that the customer 185 may cause (has the option to cause) a set of charges to be applied to the identified consumer credit account 195. The credit verification 197 indicates, at the POS station 160, that, as to the customer 185, a particular transactional activity (e.g., sale, payment, return, void, etc.) is allowed to be processed using the identified customer credit account 195. In one embodiment, the identified customer credit account 195 is associated with a store for the particular store at which the customer 185 entered into the customer-facing device 155 his set of customer information 135. In another embodiment, the identified customer credit account 195 is associated with a store other than the store at which the customer 185 entered his set of customer information 135 into the customer-facing device 155.
  • Additionally, in one embodiment, the credit verification 197 includes information in addition to the determination of allowing the customer 185 to cause a transactional activity to be processed using the customer credit account 195, such as, but not limited to, the following types of information: the customer's 185 amount of available credit remaining; the sales history for the customer 185; rewards and loyalty information connected with the customer's 185 customer credit account 195; and offers, such as reward incentives, for the customer 185.
  • The credit verification sender 130 sends the credit verification 197 to a transmitter. The transmitter transmits the credit verification 197 to the point of service station 160, as will be described below with reference to the system 200 for linking a customer to a credit account to enable the consumer to purchase items at a store without having his credit card for presentation to the store associate. As already noted herein, the point of service station 160 may be any channel at which a transaction can be processed for a customer (e.g., Catalog, Web, Retail, Mobile, etc.), and is not limited to being that of a “brick and mortar” retail store.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a system 200 for linking a customer to a credit account to enable a customer to purchase items at a store without having a credit card for presentation to the store associate. The system 200 is located at a server that is remote from and communicatively coupled with, via wire and/or wirelessly, to the customer-facing device 155 and/or the POS station 160. In another embodiment, the system 200 is a server that is remote from and communicatively coupled with, via wire and/or wirelessly, to the customer-facing device 155 and/or the POS station 160. In one embodiment, the system 200 includes the following: the credit account linker 100; a receiver 205; a processor 210; and a transmitter 215. In one embodiment, the system 200 further includes a memory store 165. In another embodiment, the memory store 165 resides remote from, but is coupled with, the system 200. In other words, the memory store 165 resides at a third party, and is communicatively couple with, via wire and/or wirelessly, the system 200. In one embodiment, the system 200 includes a bar code scanner 220. The bar code scanner 220 is communicatively coupled with, via wire and/or wirelessly, the customer-facing device 155 and/or the POS station 160. In one embodiment, the bar code scanner 220 is a two dimensional scanner, known in the art, and enabled to scan the bar code on a form of identification, such as, but not limited to, a drivers' license. Of note, the bar code scanner 220 does not have to be at a store. The bar code scanner 220 may be attached to a device located remotely from the store, such as a desktop computer or a mobile device (e.g., phone, tablet, laptop computer, etc.) The credit account linker 100 accesses the information captured by the bar code scanner 220. The credit account linker 100 also uses this captured information, as part of the set of customer information 135.
  • The system 200 is communicatively coupled, via wire and/or wirelessly, to the customer-facing device 155 and the POS station 160. In one embodiment, the customer-facing device 155 and the POS station 160 are communicatively coupled, via wire and/or wirelessly, to each other.
  • In one embodiment, the receiver 205 is configured to receive the set of customer information 135. In one embodiment, the receiver 205 receives the set of customer information 135 from the customer-facing device 155. In another embodiment, the receiver 205 receives the set of customer information 135 from the POS station 160.
  • In one embodiment, the processor 210 is configured to process the computer-readable and computer-executable instructions (that may reside in any tangible computer readable storage media) such as the following modules described herein: the customer information accessor 105; the customer information comparor 110; the match determiner 115; the customer credit account identifier 120; the credit verification generator 125; and the credit verification sender 130.
  • Example Methods of Operation
  • The following discussion sets forth in detail some example methods of operation of embodiments. With reference to FIGS. 1-3, flow diagrams of method 300 illustrates an example procedure used by various embodiments. Method 300 includes some procedures that, in various embodiments, are carried out by a processor under the control of computer-readable and computer-executable instructions. In various embodiments, these computer-readable and computer-executable instructions are described as “code segments”, and presented separately (e.g., first codes segment, second code segment, etc.) to describe such instructions. In this fashion, procedures described herein and in conjunction with these flow diagrams, alone or in combination, are, or may be, implemented using a computer, in various embodiments. The computer-readable and computer-executable instructions can reside in any tangible computer readable storage media. Some non-limiting examples of tangible computer readable storage media include random access memory, read only memory, magnetic disks, and optical disks, solid-state disks, any or all of which may be employed within a virtualization infrastructure. The computer-readable and computer-executable instructions, which reside on tangible computer readable storage media, are used to control or operate in conjunction with, for example, one or some combination of processors of a virtual machine. It is appreciated that the processor(s) may be physical or virtual or some combination (it should also be appreciated that a virtual processor is implemented on physical hardware). Although specific procedures are disclosed in method 300, such procedures are examples. That is, embodiments are well suited to performing various other procedures or variations of the procedures recited in method 300, alone or in combination. Likewise, in some embodiments, the procedures in method 300, alone or in combination, may be performed in an order different than presented and/or not all of the procedures described in one or more of these flow diagrams may be performed. It is further appreciated that procedures described in method 300, alone or in combination, may be implemented in hardware, or a combination of hardware with firmware and/or software.
  • FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of a method 300 for linking a customer to a credit account to enable the customer to purchase an item(s) at a store without having the credit card for presentation, in accordance with an embodiment. Although specific procedures are disclosed in method 300, embodiments are well suited to performing various other procedures or variations of the procedures recited in method 300. It is appreciated that the procedures in method 300 may be performed in an order different than presented, that not all of the procedures in method 300 may be performed, and that additional procedures to those illustrated and described may be performed. All of, or a portion of, the procedures described by method 300 can be implemented by a processor or computer system executing instructions which reside, for example, on computer-usable/readable media. The following discussion of method 300 references FIGS. 1-4 unless specifically noted otherwise.
  • At step 305 of method 300, in one embodiment and as described herein, the set of customer information 135 particular to the customer 185 is accessed to achieve an accessed set of customer information 135. In one embodiment, the set of customer information 135 includes a predetermined amount of customer information particular to the customer 185. The predetermined amount of customer information particular to the customer 185 may be any kind and amount of information that may be accessed (received or captured) at the credit account linker 100, and may be transmitted via one or more components of the customer-facing device 155 and/or the POS station 160.
  • At step 310 of method 300 in one embodiment, and as described herein, the accessed set of customer information is compared to the stored customer information 170, wherein the stored customer information 170 includes information associated with the set of customers 175 and is linked to a set of credit accounts 180 associated with the set of customers 175. In one embodiment, the credit cards associated with the credit accounts 180 are credit cards. In another embodiment, the credit cards associated with the credit accounts 180 are credit cards associated with a store different from the store in which the customer enters the set of customer information 135 into the customer-facing device 155.
  • At step 315 of method 300, in one embodiment, and as described herein, based on the comparing performed at step 310, a match between the received set of customer information 135 and the stored customer information 170 is determined if it exists. If the match is found to exist, then the matched stored customer information 190 is identified.
  • At step 320 of method 300, in one embodiment, and as described herein, a customer credit account, of the set of credit accounts 180, which is linked to the matched stored customer information 170, is identified to achieve an identified customer credit account 195.
  • At step 325, in one embodiment and as described herein, a credit verification 197 for the customer 185 is generated. The credit verification 197 indicates, at the POS station 160, that, as to the customer 185, a particular transactional activity (e.g., sale, payment, return, void, etc.) is allowed to be processed using the identified customer credit account 195. It should be appreciated that the credit verification 197 may allow more than one transactional activities. At step 330, in one embodiment, if the match, as determined in step 315, does not exist, then a “not found” message is generated. The not found message indicates, via the POS station 160 that the match is determined to not exist.
  • At step 335, in one embodiment and as described herein, the credit verification 197 is sent to the POS station 160. In one embodiment, the sending of the credit verification 197 to the POS station 160 includes sending the credit verification 197 to the transmitter 215. The transmitter 215 then transmits this credit verification 197 to the POS station 160. As noted herein, the POS station 160 may be any channel at which a transaction can be processed for a customer (e.g., Catalog, Web, Retail, Mobile, etc.)
  • Example Computer System
  • With reference now to FIG. 4, all or portions of some embodiments described herein are composed of computer-readable and computer-executable instructions that reside, for example, in computer-usable/computer-readable storage media of a computer system. That is, FIG. 4 illustrates one example of a type of computer (computer system 400) that can be used in accordance with or to implement various embodiments which are discussed herein. For example, the computer system 400 may be used to implement the modules of the credit account linker 100 and portions of the system 200 described herein. It is appreciated that computer system 400 of FIG. 4 is only an example and that embodiments as described herein can operate on or within a number of different computer systems including, but not limited to, general purpose networked computer systems, embedded computer systems, routers, switches, server devices, client devices, various intermediate devices/nodes, stand alone computer systems, distributed computer systems, media centers, handheld computer systems, multi-media devices, and the like. Computer system 400 of FIG. 4 is well adapted to having peripheral non-transitory computer-readable storage media 402 such as, for example, a floppy disk, a compact disc, digital versatile disc, other disc based storage, universal serial bus “thumb” drive, removable memory card, and the like coupled thereto.
  • System 400 of FIG. 4 includes an address/data bus 404 for communicating information, and a processor 406A coupled with bus 404 for processing information and instructions. As depicted in FIG. 4, system 400 is also well suited to a multi-processor environment in which a plurality of processors 406A, 406B, and 406C are present. Conversely, system 400 is also well suited to having a single processor such as, for example, processor 406A. Processors 406A, 406B, and 406C may be any of various types of microprocessors. System 400 also includes data storage features such as a computer usable volatile memory 408, e.g., random access memory (RAM), coupled with bus 404 for storing information and instructions for processors 406A, 406B, and 406C.
  • System 400 also includes computer usable non-volatile memory 410, e.g., read only memory (ROM), coupled with bus 404 for storing static information and instructions for processors 406A, 406B, and 406C. Also present in system 400 is a data storage unit 412 (e.g., a magnetic or optical disk and disk drive) coupled with bus 404 for storing information and instructions. System 400 also includes an optional alphanumeric input device 414 including alphanumeric and function keys coupled with bus 404 for communicating information and command selections to processor 406A or processors 406A, 406B, and 406C. System 400 also includes an optional cursor control device 416 coupled with bus 404 for communicating user input information and command selections to processor 406A or processors 406A, 406B, and 406C. In one embodiment, system 400 also includes an optional display device 418 coupled with bus 404 for displaying information.
  • Referring still to FIG. 4, optional display device 418 of FIG. 4 may be a liquid crystal device, cathode ray tube, plasma display device or other display device suitable for creating graphic images and alphanumeric characters recognizable to a user. Optional cursor control device 416 allows the computer user to dynamically signal the movement of a visible symbol (cursor) on a display screen of display device 418 and indicate user selections of selectable items displayed on display device 418. Many implementations of cursor control device 416 are known in the art including a trackball, mouse, touch pad, joystick or special keys on alphanumeric input device 414 capable of signaling movement of a given direction or manner of displacement. Alternatively, it will be appreciated that a cursor can be directed and/or activated via input from alphanumeric input device 414 using special keys and key sequence commands. System 400 is also well suited to having a cursor directed by other means such as, for example, voice commands. System 400 also includes an I/O device 420 for coupling system 400 with external entities. For example, in one embodiment, I/O device 420 is a modem for enabling wired or wireless communications between system 400 and an external network such as, but not limited to, the Internet.
  • Referring still to FIG. 4, various other components are depicted for system 400. Specifically, when present, an operating system 422, applications 424, modules 726, and data 428 are shown as typically residing in one or some combination of computer usable volatile memory 408 (e.g., RAM), computer usable non-volatile memory 410 (e.g., ROM), and data storage unit 412. In some embodiments, all or portions of various embodiments described herein are stored, for example, as an application 424 and/or module 426 in memory locations within RAM 408, computer-readable storage media within data storage unit 412, peripheral computer-readable storage media 402, and/or other tangible computer-readable storage media.

Claims (19)

What we claim is:
1. A computer-implemented method for authorizing access to a customer's credit account, said method comprising:
accessing a set of customer information particular to a customer to achieve an accessed set of customer information;
comparing said accessed set of customer information to stored customer information, wherein said stored customer information comprises information associated with a set of customers and is linked to a set of credit accounts;
based on said comparing, determining if a match between said accessed set of customer information and said stored customer information exists, wherein if said match exists, identifying a matched stored customer information;
identifying a customer credit account, of said set of credit accounts, linked to said matched stored customer information to achieve an identified customer credit account; and
generating a credit verification for said customer, enabling said customer to cause a transactional activity to occur in association with said identified customer credit account.
2. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising:
sending said credit verification to a point of service station.
3. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising:
if said match is determined not to exist, then generating a not found message, wherein said not found message indicates that said match is determined not to exist.
4. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein said set of customer information comprises a predetermined amount of customer information particular to said customer, wherein said predetermined amount is a number of digits of a social security number of said customer.
5. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein said set of customer information comprises a predetermined amount of customer information particular to said customer, wherein said predetermined amount is a zip code of said customer.
6. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein said set of customer information comprises a predetermined amount of customer information particular to said customer, wherein said predetermined amount is a password for said customer.
7. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein said credit account is associated with a credit card that is store-branded credit card.
8. An article of manufacture, which comprises a computer readable medium having stored therein a computer program for authorizing access to a customer's credit account, said computer program comprising:
a first code segment which, when executed on a computer, accesses a set of customer information particular to a customer to achieve an accessed set of customer information;
a second code segment which, when executed on said computer, compares said accessed set of customer information to stored customer information, wherein said stored customer information comprises information associated with a set of customers and is linked to a set of credit accounts;
a third code segment which, when executed on said computer, based on said comparing, determines if a match between said accessed set of customer information and said stored customer information exists, wherein if said match exists, identifying a matched stored customer information;
a fourth code segment which, when executed on said computer, identifies a customer credit account, of said set of credit accounts, linked to said matched stored customer information to achieve an identified customer credit account; and
a fifth code segment which, when executed on said computer, generates a credit verification for said customer, enabling said customer to cause a transactional activity to occur in association with said identified customer credit account.
9. The article of manufacture of claim 8, wherein said computer program further comprises:
a sixth code segment which, when executed on said computer, sends said credit verification to a point of service station.
10. The article of manufacture of claim 8, wherein said computer program further comprises:
a seventh code segment which, when executed on said computer, if said match is determined not to exist, then generates a not found message, wherein said not found message indicates that said match does not to exist.
11. A credit account linker comprising:
a customer information accessor coupled with a computer, said customer information accessor configured for accessing a set of customer information particular to a customer to achieve an accessed set of customer information;
a customer information comparer coupled to said computer, said customer information comparer configured for comparing said accessed set of customer information to stored customer information, wherein said stored customer information comprises information associated with a set of customers and is linked to a set of credit accounts;
a match determiner coupled to said computer, said match determiner configured for, based on said comparing, determining if a match between said accessed set of customer information and said stored customer information exists, wherein if said match exists, identifying a matched stored customer information;
a customer credit account identifier coupled to said computer, said customer credit account identifier configured for identifying a customer credit account, of said set of credit accounts, linked to said matched stored customer information to achieve an identified customer credit account; and
an credit verification generator coupled to said computer, said credit verification generator configured for generating a credit verification for said customer, enabling said customer to cause a transactional activity to occur in association with said identified customer credit account.
12. The credit account linker of claim 11, further comprising:
an credit verification sender coupled with said computer, said credit verification sender configured for sending said credit verification to a point of service station.
13. The credit account linker of claim 11, further comprising:
a not found message generator coupled with said computer, said not found message generator configured for, if said match is determined not to exist, then generating a not found message, wherein said not found message indicates that said match is determined not to exist.
14. The credit account linker of claim 11, wherein said set of customer information comprises a predetermined amount of customer information particular to said customer, wherein said predetermined amount is a number of digits of a social security number of said customer.
15. The credit account linker of claim 11, wherein said set of customer information comprises a predetermined amount of customer information particular to said customer, wherein said predetermined amount is a zip code of said customer.
16. The credit account linker of claim 11, wherein said set of customer information comprises a predetermined amount of customer information particular to said customer, wherein said predetermined amount is a password for said customer.
17. The credit account linker of claim 11, wherein said credit associated with said credit card accounts is a store-branded credit card.
18. A system for authorizing access to a customer's credit account, said system comprising:
a receiver configured for receiving a set of customer information particular to a customer to achieve an accessed set of customer information;
a memory device configured for storing customer information, wherein stored customer information comprises information associated with a set of customers and is linked to a set of credit accounts;
a processor configured for:
accessing said set of customer information received by said receiver to achieve an accessed set of customer information;
comparing said accessed set of customer information to said stored customer information, wherein said stored customer information comprises information associated with a set of customers and is linked to a set of credit and accounts;
based on said comparing, determining if a match between said received set of customer information and said stored consumer information exists, wherein if said match exists, identifying a matched stored consumer information;
identifying a customer credit account, of said set of credit accounts, linked to said matched stored customer information to achieve an identified customer credit account; and
generating an credit verification for said customer, enabling said customer to cause a transactional activity to occur in association with said identified customer credit account;
sending said credit verification to a transmitter; and
a transmitter configured for transmitting said credit verification to said point of service station.
19. The system of claim 18, wherein said processor further comprises:
if said match is determined not to exist, then generating a not found message, wherein said not found message indicates that said match is determined not to exist.
US14/637,327 2014-03-03 2015-03-03 Credit account linking system Pending US20150248661A1 (en)

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