Apple has always been hungry towards acquiring patents and to find out what’s new cooking at Apple’s office, you can just go through their recent patent’s filing. Apple had earlier filed a patent in 2011, which was published recently, for a new service it could start in near future – called as ‘ad hoc cash dispensing network‘. With this every iTunes user on their Apple devices could serve as mobile ATM and other users could ask for cash. Here is how it works:
Suppose an iTunes user (you) is in need of instant cash for something. You’re in an area where there is no ATM’s available or he needs to buy something from a store which doesn’t accept cards. So, this person in need (you) opens up an app on his iPhone and request the amount of cash he wants. The app then track your location and will see if there are other potential iTunes user in the same area with the required amount of cash. It then verifies if the user is willing to give the cash. If the other person agrees, you’ll receive his location data. You’ll have to go to the person and take the cash. If the transaction is successful, you’ll have to confirm the same in the app. The app then charges your linked card with the amount you requested + service fee. The other person receives credit for the amount he gave you along with certain additional benefit. You could then rate the other person as how the deal went. This will make sure the network stays safe, easy and convenient; weeding out difficult-to-deal-with kind of users. Suppose you requested 50$ and if you received the required amount of cash from other person. Apple will then charge you 50$ + 5$ (apple’s charge – 10%) + 3$ (lender’s benefit – So, the other person receives about 53$ credit to his card for dispensing 50$ cash). So, you’re charged 58$ in total. Note: this is just an example. The actual service charge, incentive to the lender, taxes, etc may vary and depends when the service is officially launched.
As explained from the above example, this service seems quite simple, but is based on strong idea. This could turn every iTunes user with linked cards into mobile bank/ATM. Of course, this service will be kind of opt-in service. Apple will also be going to make a lot of money as they’re charging 10% of the transaction value which is not low. We’ll also see how credit cards companies react to this, because this may show the debit as POS transaction for the person in need, whereas in reality, it’s kind of cash advance request, and as we know that Credit cards companies have their own schemes in cash-advance transactions/ATM withdrawals on their credit cards (Usually, credit card companies charge you certain minimum fee + interest on cash advance withdrawals from credit cards). Once the service is launched, the user who needs cash may have to calculate if his need of cash is worth the extra fee that he’s liable to pay using this ‘ad hoc cash dispensing network’ and if the fee for using this service is equivalent to what he’ll be charged by credit card company for the cash transaction or higher or lower. So, lets wait and watch as we can’t say much about the actual transaction route and charges unless the service is official in effect. Given Apple’s might, no doubt, they could dare to launch such “ad hoc cash dispensing network”. Your thoughts in comments !