US 5949880 Transfer of valuable information between a secure module and another module

ABSTRACT – The present invention relates to system, apparatus and method for communicating valuable data from a portable module to another module via an electronic device. More specifically, the disclosed system, apparatus and method are useful for enabling a user to fill a portable module with a cash equivalent and to spend the cash equivalent at a variety of locations. The disclosed system incorporates an encryption/decryption method.


The present invention relates to a method and system for transferring valuable information securely between a secure module and another module. More particularly, the present invention relates to transferring units of value between a microprocessor based secure module and another module used for carrying a monetary equivalent.


In the past the preferred means for paying for an item was cash. As our society has become more advanced, credit cards have become an accepted way to pay for merchandise or services. The payment is not a payment to the merchant, but instead is a credit given by a bank to the user that the merchant accepts as payment. The merchant collects money from the bank based on the credit. As time goes on, cash is used less and less, and money transfers between parties are becoming purely electronic.

Present credit cards have magnetic strips to identify the owner of the card and the credit provider. Some credit cards have electronic circuitry installed that identifies the credit card owner and the credit or service provider (the bank).

The magnetic strips installed in present credit cards do not enable the card to be used as cash. That is the modern credit card does not allow the consumer to buy something with the credit card and the merchant to receive cash at the time of the transaction. Instead, when the consumer buys something on credit, the merchant must later request that the bank pay for the item that the consumer bought. The bank then bills the consumer for the item that was bought.

Thus, there is a need for an electronic system that allows a consumer to fill an electronic module with a cash equivalent in the same way a consumer fills his wallet with cash. When the consumer buys a product or service from a merchant, the consumer’s module can be debited and the merchant’s cash drawer can be credited without any further transactions with a bank or service provider.


The present invention is an apparatus, system and method for communicating a cash equivalent electronically to and from a portable module. The portable module can be used as a cash equivalent when buying products and services in the market place.

The present invention comprises a portable module that can communicate to a secure module via a microprocessor based device. The portable module can be carried by a consumer, filled with electronic money at an add-money station, and be debited by a merchant when a product or service is purchased by the consumer. As a result of a purchase, the merchant’s cash drawer will indicate an increase in cash value.



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