Apple Pay with UWB may automatically select right card based on location


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Apple Pay could automatically select specific credentials depending on the location, with a future version potentially able to take advantage of an iPhone’s ultra-wideband technology to make sure the right card is used.

Apple has made the iPhone an almost indispensable item for everyday life, especially where payments are concerned. Users frequently perform Apple Pay transactions via their devices, registering multiple bank and credit cards for use in mobile payments.

The Wallet within iOS is also able to handle other types of cards, such as reward cards and boarding passes, which can be presented for their related purposes when required.

However, aside from the default payment card, users have to manually scroll through a list of stored cards to fish out the one they need for a situation, if it’s not the default card.

In a patent granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday titled “Location-based credential selection for wireless transactions,” that search for the right card could be a thing of the past.

In essence, the patent suggests that a device like an iPhone could automatically present the correct credential or payment type for a nearby terminal. It does so by detecting a nearby terminal using radio technologies, such as ultra-wideband, to determine relative distance and to confirm the type of terminal being used.

The system consists of a secure transaction subsystem and a processor, with the former set up to store multiple credentials. The processor is set to receive encrypted radio polling messages from other devices, to respond, and to receive location data back from the nearby transmitter.

The distance is used to determine how far away the iPhone is from the terminal, to make sure that it is within a specific range before performing any further transactions.

If that distance is within range, the processor then uses the data gathered in polling to determine and select the appropriate credential to provide.

Example flowcharts from the patent for credential selection ahead of a transaction

The selection could be made based on the specific type of terminal being used, such as one used by transit authorities for train payments, which could…