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Weeks after word that Google intends for the old Google Wallet app to live on as a peer-to-peer payments tool, Apple has been granted a patent for its own person-to-person payments technology.

The patent describes a system whereby one device user can send a payment to another user’s device securely and at no cost.

“In particular, an individual using an electronic device [phone, tablet, laptop] may identify another proximate electronic device of a counterparty in a financial transaction, and may provide an encrypted payment packet to the other electronic device,” the patent reads.

Device A can send a token to the email account in Device B, where the user can choose to accept the payment by activating the token.

If and when the payee accepts the payment on his or her device, that device then sends the original information packet and another encrypted information packet to a “third party” that completes the transaction. That third party might be either the payor or payee’s bank, or a third-party financial institution.

The patent states that the communication method used by the two devices could be near-field communications (NFC) or Bluetooth technology.

The patent states that the devices on both ends of the transaction might use biometric sensors (fingerprint readers, most likely) to authenticate the users. The users might also be asked to enter a PIN code.

Research courtesy of Mikhail Avady at SmartUp Legal.

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