Apple has filed a US patent application for an "ad-hoc cash-dispensing network" which lets people who need cash but cannot find an ATM send out an SOS through their iPhone to find people nearby who are willing to lend them the money.
The patent application, spotted by unwiredview.com, describes a system where people who sign up and download an app can connect to an Apple server.
If a user needs to obtain cash, they can send out a request through their iPhone or iPad, providing details of how much they want to borrow and their location, via GPS.
The request is delivered to anyone in the same location who is signed up to the service and if a willing lender is found, a time and place to meet and hand over the cash is arranged.
Following the transfer of cash, the requesting user's account with Apple is charged for the service while the provider's is credited. A service fee, split between the lender and Apple, is also floated in the application.
Apple acknowledges that paper is giving way to electronic money but argues that "there are often situations where cash payments are necessary...Accordingly, there is a need for a cash-dispensing network that allows users to exchange cash as needed."
The application was filed in July 2011 but has only just appeared on the US Patent and Trademark Office site.