Apple: Preventing These Purchases is the Right Thing to Do

Mobile devices make it easier than ever to unwittingly spend extra money, and with an ever-growing number of children and teenagers using smartphones, it’s easy for parents to start feeling anxious about the status of their credit card balances. As a result, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in the process of patenting a “Parental Controls” app to allow people to put restrictions on purchases.

The concept is basically an “e-wallet” — or iWallet, rather — where multiple individuals can be tied to one credit card account, but each user can have different spending privileges. Parents could set weekly or monthly allowances, block specific merchants or types of merchants, and decline transactions over a predetermined amount. There would also be an easily searchable purchase history with details about each transaction.

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According to the patent application, “a financial account management application stored on a processor-based device may provide an interface for defining financial transaction rules to be applied to a subsidiary account. The financial transaction rules may be based upon transaction amounts, aggregate spending amounts over a period, merchant categories, specific merchants, geographic locations, or the like”…

ipad appleApple’s application for this patent comes on the coattails of reports that the next iPhone will have fingerprint sensors, both to edge out smartphone competition and address concerns that payments via phone aren’t the most secure. However, the market shift away from cash has tech companies buzzing about the possibilities of Near Field Communication and having a virtual wallet on one’s mobile device as a credit card alternative.

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Since iTunes already has such a dedicated base of users, Apple could be a crucial player in making NFC more mainstream, although this has not yet been confirmed as part of the plans for iWallet.

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