The US Patent and Trademark Office published the approved patent on Tuesday, adding fuel to rumors that Apple plans to launch a mobile payment service.
The patent is titled "Parental controls", and its text largely describes a scenario where a parent sets up a prepaid subsidiary account for their child. However, it also notes that the functionality could be used by an employer who wants to set rules for an employee's handset-based payment account.
Pictures in the patent show an application called E-Wallet. Apple Patently noted, ""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, The iWallet project just became a little more real today."
For more on this story, read Apple wins patent for mobile payment controls on ZDNet UK.