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Computerized system for facilitating transactions between parties on the internet using e-mail

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Title: Computerized system for facilitating transactions between parties on the internet using e-mail.
Abstract: A payment system and method are disclosed for processing financial exchanges over a network between a merchant and a buyer. For example, receiving from a merchant, over the network, information associated with a financial transaction and non-financial data relating to a buyer involved in the financial transaction. Authorizing payment, associated with the financial transaction, to the merchant on behalf of the buyer using the non-financial data related to the buyer. A notification of the authorized payment on behalf of the buyer is sent to the merchant over the network. Upon notification from the merchant that the buyer has committed to completing the financial transaction, processing payment to the merchant on behalf of the buyer. ...


Inventors: Lee H. Stein, Einar A. Stefferud, Nathaniel S. Borenstein, Marshall T. Rose
USPTO Applicaton #: #20110137751 - Class: 705 2643 (USPTO) - 06/09/11 - Class 705 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20110137751, Computerized system for facilitating transactions between parties on the internet using e-mail.

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RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of Reissue Application No. 10/461,604, filed Jun. 12, 2003, which is a Reissue of U.S. Pat. No. 6,246,996, issued Jun. 12, 2001, which is a continuation of U.S. Pat. No. 5,826,241, issued on Oct. 20, 1998, all of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a system for enabling payment for information products that can be transferred electronically over a nonsecure network, and more particularly, the present invention relates to a payment system that can be used to enable an Internet user to make a payment to another Internet user for information products of value that can be electronically transferred over the Internet.

The Internet has emerged as a large community of electronically-connected users located around the world who readily and regularly exchange significant amounts of information. The Internet continues to serve its original purposes of providing for access and exchange of information among government agencies, laboratories, and universities for research and education. In addition, the Internet has evolved to serve a variety of interests and forums that extend beyond its original goals.

The Internet has been considered as a potential new marketplace for information products. It is now physically possible to transfer information products such as articles, software, cartoons, etc., via the Internet.

Using the Internet as a marketplace has several advantages. Information products can be delivered electronically without physical packaging. Because information is easily duplicated with the point and click of a mouse on a user\'s workstation, the cost of manufacturing and reproducing inventory closely approaches zero, leaving the cost of creating or synthesizing the information as the dominant cost. Once an information product has been developed, there may be little or no cost of manufacturing or inventory since a copy of the product can be shipped whenever a buyer makes a purchase given that the merchant has the bandwidth available. Given that the cost of inventory on the Internet is close to zero, there are potentially tens of thousands of information sellers, i.e. people with ideas or information products to sell, on the Internet. Another advantage of using the Internet as a marketplace is that, depending on the kind of information product involved, processing of a buyer\'s order can be automated, so there is no need for a worker to manually intervene to complete a transaction.

Although the Internet presently has the capability to serve as a marketplace for new information products, use of the Internet for this purpose has been slow to develop. One reason that accounts for this lack of development is that it is difficult to pay for information products using the Internet. A user cannot send cash or a check via the Internet and sending a check via physical delivery services is slow. Sending a credit card number over the Internet poses security problems. Moreover, even if it were reasonably safe to send credit card numbers, there are a lot of potential sellers of information products who do not have—and could not qualify for—the required merchant accounts. Credit card companies require a seller who accepts credit card for payment, to have a merchant account. Conventional merchant accounts require a relatively high standard of credit worthiness and a financial guarantee. The need for a conventional merchant account impedes commerce in the Internet marketplace because an average Internet user may have a difficult time qualifying for a merchant account.

Accordingly, there is a need for a system that solves the payment problem on the Internet to enable development of a commercial market.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

According to a first embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a method and payment system for enabling a first Internet user to make a payment to a second Internet user, typically for the purchase of an information product deliverable over the Internet. The payment system provides cardholder accounts for the first and second Internet users. When the second user sends the information product to the first user over the Internet, the second user also makes a request over the Internet to a front end portion of the payment system requesting payment from the first user. The front end portion of the payment system queries the first user over the Internet whether to proceed with payment to the second user. If the first user replies affirmatively, a charge to the first user is processed off the Internet; however if the first user replies negatively, the first user is not charged for the information product. The payment system informs the second user regarding whether the first user\'s decision and pays the second user upon collection of the charge from the first user. Security is maintained by isolating financial and credit information of users\' cardholder accounts from the front end portion of the payment system and by isolating the account identifying information from the associated e-mail address.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating the relationship between a payment system of a first embodiment of the present invention to a large network.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a hardware configuration for the payment system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the program arrangement of the payment system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a diagram of data for a cardholder account for use with the payment system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a flow chart showing message flow for the initial steps of a funds transaction using the payment system of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 6A-6Q are diagrams of data messages used in connection with the payment system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a flow chart showing the message flow for a cardholder inquiry request using the payment system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a flow chart showing the message flow for a transfer query request and reply using the payment system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a flow chart showing the message flow for payment failure using the payment system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a flow chart showing the message flow for payment notification using the payment system of FIG. 1;



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Systems and methods for virtual credit card transactions
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Industry Class:
Data processing: financial, business practice, management, or cost/price determination
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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20110137751 A1
Publish Date
06/09/2011
Document #
12758711
File Date
04/12/2010
USPTO Class
705 2643
Other USPTO Classes
705 44, 705 2641, 705 261
International Class
/
Drawings
10



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