Amazon Considers Anonymous Payments System

There's money in fending off prying eyes


Amazon may be cooking up its own anonymous mobile payments system.

Published yesterday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Amazon patent application appropriately dubbed "Anonymous mobile payments" describes a system that would let mobile users pay for items without having to reveal their name, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal details to the seller.

The invention follows in the footsteps of other mobile payment systems. However, Amazon takes it a few steps further.

Beyond shielding the personal information of the buyer, Amazon's system would use a special code, or temporary identifier, to conduct the mobile transaction anonymously. Such a code would be passed between the buyer and the seller with Amazon acting as the middleman so that no personal details are exchanged. A single code could also have an expiration date and be used multiple times.