WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved a patent application by Apple suggesting the company plans to launch a mobile payment service, analysts said.
The patent's description said, "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," ZDNet UK reported Wednesday.
Pictures in the patent application show an iPhone displaying an application called E-Wallet, although many analysts said any final Apple mobile payment service is more likely to start with the standard "i," likely iWallet.
"Apple's patent reviews credit card transaction rules and shows us that the credit card companies will be sending statements directly to your iTunes account," Apple-watching Web site Patently Apple reported.
"The iWallet project just became a little more real today."
There have been a number of rumors in the last year suggesting Apple was considering launching a mobile payments system using near-field communication technology.