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Amazon may be preparing to launch an anonymous mobile payment system as evident by a patent application published yesterday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Originally filed for in April 2009, the service would allow people to purchase items from Amazon without having to reveal their name, phone number, e-mail address and other personally-identifiable information.
The online retailer isn't the first to come up with this type of service although they appear poised to take it a bit further than the competition. That's because Amazon would implement a special code, known as a temporary identifier, to facilitate a mobile transaction anonymously.
This identifier would be transferred between buyer and seller with Amazon standing in as a middleman. As such, Amazon would be the only party in the transaction with knowledge of both the buyer and the seller. It's unclear, however, how returns or refunds would be handled.
An anonymous payment system would give shoppers peace of mind knowing that a third party seller wouldn't have access to personal information. A number of online merchants are guilty of selling personal information like e-mail addresses and telephone numbers - ultimately resulting in unwanted spam.
As with a number of patents, there's no guarantee that Amazon's anonymous mobile payment system will ever see the light of day. But the simple fact that Amazon applied for such a patent shows us that they are at least looking into the idea.