Tuesday, November 8, 2011

American Express files virtual currency patent

American Express has filed a patent for a system and method for using loyalty rewards as a currency. The patent describes a system for "spending loyalty points over a computerised network to facilitate a transaction."

The patent describes how a loyalty program participant can use an existing transaction card to purchase an item over a network, while at the same time offsetting the cost of that transaction by converting loyalty points to a currency value credit and having the credit applied to the participant's financial transaction account.

Alongside current account conversion, the patent says currency credit from converted loyalty points may also be applied to "stored value cards, online digital wallet accounts and the like". Further, currency credit may also be applied to other accounts to effect a gift or donation. American Express files virtual currency

A single patent filing, by itself, does not always mean the firm filing the patent has an immediate offer, product or service planned. But it rarely indicates a given firm, filing a patent, in uninterested in businesses using the patented process.

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