Amazon has filed a patent for the creation of an 'anonymous mobile payment' system, in which the Web retailer sits as a middle man between parties to a transaction.
The patent, filed with the US Patent Office on Tuesday, describes a method of exchange that would enable a user to make and/or receive payments without disclosing personal or private information to another party.
The patent summary states: "In some aspects, a provider of a payment may request an anonymous payment for a specified value from a host. In response, the host may transmit to the provider a code that is available for redemption. The provider may then relay the code to a recipient, who may redeem the code from the host. In other aspects, a recipient may request a temporary identifier (special code) from a host. The recipient may relay the temporary identifier to a provider, who may in turn transmit a payment, via the host, using the temporary identifier. The recipient may then claim the payment from the host. In additional aspects, the codes of the anonymous payments may include expiration times and/or restrictions on a number of uses of the code."
Amazon is pitching the system as a mechanism for addressing user concerns about information privacy.
"Often, people take measures to protect their private information to avoid identity fraud, harassment, or other undesirable acts," states Amazon. "These acts may occur when another person obtains private or personal information about another and uses it in a fraudulent or malicious act."
Amazon's involvement in the payments industry shifted up a gear in Feburary, when it announced plans to introduce its own virtual currency for purchasing apps, games and in-app items on Kindle Fire.
The Web commerce giant says it will give customers tens of millions of dollars' worth of free 'Amazon Coins' to spend on developers' apps on Kindle Fire from the tablet's Appstore when it launches the new currency in May.