Patent provides insights into the inner workings of Apple Pay

Apple Pay patent application

A newly published Apple patent application provides insights into how the iPhone maker’s new Apple Pay service will work, how the company has optimized the iPhone’s NFC capabilities to ensure the best possible user experience at the point of sale, and how secure payment credentials will be provisioned onto secondary devices such as the Apple Watch.

US patent application 2014/0304094 — “Methods for adjusting near field communications circuitry during mobile payment transactions” — sets out the roles of a payment network subsystem, a service provider subsystem which includes a TSM module, broker module and network-based service module, as well as both a primary and secondary user device used to make a payment at a merchant terminal.

How Apple customers could be able to use a “bridging” application to provision cards stored on their iPhone to their Apple Watch — and other Apple NFC devices — is also explained in detail.

In one arrangement, the patent explains, “the user may operate the primary user device (10) to indirectly provision one or more payment cards onto the secondary user device (102).

“In such scenarios, the provisioning of credentials onto the secondary device (102) may be managed using a secondary device credential management application (sometimes referred to as a ‘bridging’ application) running on the primary user device (10).

“In such arrangements, payment network subsystem (122) may provide the desired payment card information that is then securely written into a secure element on the secondary device (102) via the primary user device (10) and path (106).

“The communications path (106) between primary user device (10) and secondary user device (102) may be supported via Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11 protocols — sometimes referred to as WiFi, or other short-range wireless communications technologies (as examples).

“In yet other suitable arrangement, secondary device (102) may communicate directly with service provider subsystem (112) to obtain commerce credentials using any suitable long-range or short-range wireless communications standards.”

The full patent application, submitted by Apple in May 2014, can be seen on the USPTO website.

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