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Numéro de publicationWO2001039077 A2
Type de publicationDemande
Numéro de demandePCT/US2000/032064
Date de publication31 mai 2001
Date de dépôt22 nov. 2000
Date de priorité23 nov. 1999
Autre référence de publicationWO2001039077A8
Numéro de publicationPCT/2000/32064, PCT/US/0/032064, PCT/US/0/32064, PCT/US/2000/032064, PCT/US/2000/32064, PCT/US0/032064, PCT/US0/32064, PCT/US0032064, PCT/US032064, PCT/US2000/032064, PCT/US2000/32064, PCT/US2000032064, PCT/US200032064, WO 0139077 A2, WO 0139077A2, WO 2001/039077 A2, WO 2001039077 A2, WO 2001039077A2, WO-A2-0139077, WO-A2-2001039077, WO0139077 A2, WO0139077A2, WO2001/039077A2, WO2001039077 A2, WO2001039077A2
InventeursJack Charles BILTIS
DéposantBiltis Lorne C
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes:  Patentscope, Espacenet
System and method for integrating income deduction payment techniques with internet e-commerce and ancillary systems
WO 2001039077 A2
Résumé
A system and method are provided for performing electronic commerce (e-commerce) transactions using income deduction techniques. A User of the income deduction service system may purchase a product from a vendor using an income deduction option. The vendor may be an e-commerce vendor with an e-commerce server hosting a Web site useable to initiate e-commerce purchases. A Deduction Server may receive purchase information describing the purchase. The purchase information may be received from the User or from the e-commerce server. In one embodiment, the purchase information may be received through the Internet. The Deduction Server may communicate with a payroll system of an Employer of the User and may request the payroll system perform income deductions from the User's income in response to receiving the purchase information. The payroll system may provide income deduction funds to the Deduction Server to fulfill the purchase obligation. The Deduction Server may forward income deduction funds to the e-commerce system as payment for the product. A variety of services may be provided to Users of the income deduction service system. The services may include income deduction for a budgeting service, income deduction for debit card services, income deduction for credit services, income deduction for bill payment services, and a master control panel service.
Revendications  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1 A method for implementing an mcome deduction payment technique for an electronic commerce transaction, the method comprising receiving purchase information regarding purchase of a product from an electronic commerce vendor, receivmg income mformation of a user, requesting an income deduction from an employer of the user m response to receivmg the purchase mformation and the mcome mformation, receiving funds from the employer in response to the mcome deduction request, and forwardmg at least a portion of the funds to the electronic commerce vendor as payment for the product
2 The method of claim 1 , wherem said receivmg mcome mformation of the user comprises the user providmg the income information
3 The method of any of the preceding claims, wherem said receiving mcome mformation of the user comprises receivmg the mcome mformation from a database
4 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the mcome mformation mcludes one or more of an employer name, employer contact information, and a payroll date
5 The method of any of the preceding claims, further compπsmg determmmg one or more required deduction amounts prior to said requesting the income deduction from the employer
6 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem said requestmg the mcome deduction from the employer compπses creating an mcome deduction authorization form mcludmg the mcome deduction request, and transmitting the mcome deduction authorization form to the employer to request the income deduction
7 The method of claim 6, further compπsing transmitting the mcome deduction authorization form to the user
8 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further comprising sending a completion notification and statement to the user after said forwardmg the at least a portion of the funds to the electronic commerce vendor 9 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further compπsmg posting pay date information to a schedulmg/trackmg system prior to receiving the funds, entermg an amount of the funds received m the schedulmg/trackmg system after receiving the funds, and determmmg if the coπect amount of the funds were received after said receiving the funds
10 The method of claim 9, further compnsmg determining if the purchase of the product was covered by an alternative credit source in response to determming that the coπect amount of funds were not received, wherem said forwarding at least a portion of the funds to the electronic commerce vendor is performed m response to determmmg that the purchase is covered by the alternative credit source
11 The method of claim 9, further compnsmg transmitting one or more notifications to the employer and the user of improper receipt of the funds m response to determmmg that the coπect amount of the funds were not received
12 The method of claim 9, further compnsmg determmmg if the coπect amount of the funds were received before expnation of a time-out period, wherem said forwardmg at least a portion of the funds to the electronic commerce vendor is performed m response to determining that the coπect amount of the funds were received before the time-out period expired, and transmitting notifications to the employer and the user of cancellation of the product purchased m response to the time-out period expiring before the coπect amount of the funds has been received
13 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem forwardmg the at least a portion of the funds to the electronic commerce vendor as payment for the product further comprises addmg the at least a portion of the funds to an accumulation account, wherem the accumulation account mcludes funds from one or more prior mcome deductions, determining if the funds in the accumulation account are sufficient to pay for the product, and forwarding at least a portion of the funds in the accumulation account to the electronic commerce vendor as payment for the product m response to determmmg the funds m the accumulation account are sufficient to pay for the product
14 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further compnsmg determining if a flnancmg application is required prior to requestmg the income deduction from the employer, receivmg flnancmg information from the user regardmg flnancmg of the product, and determining approval of the financing application m response to the financing information 15 The method of claim 14, further compπsmg transmitting a notification to the user of rejection of the flnancmg application m response to disapproval of the flnancmg application
16 The method of claim 14, further compnsmg determmmg one or more required deduction amounts for a plurality of pay periods in response to the flnancmg application bemg approved, wherein a plurality of mcome deductions occur for a plurality of pay peπods as payment for the product
17 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further compnsmg determming if the mcome deduction is a recuπing mcome deduction after receiving the funds, determmmg if the mcome deduction reqmres recalculation m response to determmmg the mcome deduction is a recuπing mcome deduction, and recalculating the mcome deduction m response to determmmg the mcome deduction requires recalculation
18 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further comprising determmmg if the purchase of the product results m one or more tax consequences, and preparmg one or more tax documents in response to determmmg the purchase of the product results in one or more tax consequences
19 The method of any of the preceding claims, further compnsmg initiating a purchase of a product from an electronic commerce vendor in response to user input, wherem said receivmg purchase mformation is performed after said initiating a purchase of a product
20 The method of claim 19, wherem said initiating the purchase of the product from the electronic commerce vendor mcludes the user launching a Web browser on a client computer system, and the Web browser on the client computer system connecting to an electronic commerce server of the electronic commerce vendor over the Internet
21 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further compnsmg selecting an income deduction payment option for purchase of the product in response to user input after said initiating the purchase of the product from the electronic commerce vendor, wherem said requestmg the income deduction from the employer of the user is performed in response to said selecting the mcome deduction payment option 22 The method of claim 21, wherein the electronic commerce vendor mcludes an electronic commerce server, the method further compnsmg the electronic commerce server presenting a plurality of payment options on a graphical user mterface which is viewed by the user, wherem the plurality of payment options includes the income deduction payment option, wherem said selecting the mcome deduction payment option comprises selecting the income deduction payment option from the plurality of payment options m response to user mput
23 The method of any of the preceding claims, further compnsmg the electronic commerce vendor providmg the product to the user after said forwardmg the at least a portion of the funds to the electronic commerce vendor
24 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherein the employer is a payroll company
25 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherein the employer is an employee leasmg company
26 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherein the mcome deduction is a payroll deduction
27 The method of any of the preceding claims, wherem the income mformation mcludes payroll information
28 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the income deduction payment option is a payroll deduction payment option
29 A system for implementing an mcome deduction payment technique for an electronic commerce transaction which performs a method according to any of the preceding claims 1-28
30 The system of claim 29, wherein the system comprises a deduction server, wherem the deduction server is operable to receive purchase mformation regardmg purchase of a product from an electromc commerce vendor, wherem the deduction server is further operable to receive payroll mformation of a user, wherein the deduction server is further operable to request a payroll deduction from an employer of the user m response to receivmg the purchase information and the payroll mformation, wherem the deduction server is further operable to receive funds from the employer in response to the payroll deduction request, and wherem the deduction server is further operable to forward at least a portion of the funds to the electronic commerce vendor as payment for the product
31 A earner medium compnsmg program instructions, wherem the program instructions are executable to perform a method accordmg to any of the precedmg claims 1-28
32 A method for performing an electronic commerce transaction using mcome deduction techniques, the method compnsmg initiating a purchase of a product from an electronic commerce vendor m response to user input, requestmg an mcome deduction from an employer of the user m response to said initiating the purchase of the product from the electronic commerce vendor, receiving funds from the employer in response to the income deduction request, and forwardmg at least a portion of the funds to the electronic commerce vendor as payment for the product
33 A method for performing an electronic commerce transaction using payroll deduction techniques, the method compnsmg initiating a purchase of a product from an electronic commerce vendor in response to user input, selectmg a payroll deduction payment option for purchase of the product m response to user input, a deduction server receivmg purchase mformation regardmg the purchase of the product, the deduction server receivmg payroll information of the user, the deduction server requestmg a payroll deduction from an employer of the user m response to receivmg the purchase mformation and the payroll mformation of the user, the deduction server receivmg funds from the employer in response to the payroll deduction request, and the deduction server forwardmg at least a portion of the funds to the electromc commerce vendor as payment for the product
34 A method for performing an electronic commerce transaction usmg payroll deduction techniques, the method compnsmg providmg product information relevant to purchase of a product from an electronic commerce vendor, wherem the product mformation is provided to a user, receivmg a purchase request for purchase of the product from the user, presentmg one or more payment options for purchase of the product, wherein said one or more payment options include a payroll deduction payment option, receiving user mput selectmg the payroll deduction payment option, and receivmg payment for the product as a payroll deduction from an employer of the user in response to the user mput selectmg the payroll deduction payment option
35. The method of claim 34, further comprising: receiving payroll information of the user prior to said receiving payment for the product as a payroll deduction, wherein the payroll information is used in configuring the payroll deduction.
36. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein purchase information regarding the purchase of the product and the payroll information are both used in configuring the payroll deduction.
37. The method of any of the preceding claims, further comprising: providing purchase information regarding the purchase of the product to a deduction server; wherein the deduction server uses the purchase information in configuring the payroll deduction.
38. A system for performing an electronic commerce transaction using payroll deduction techniques which performs a method according to any of the preceding claims 34-37.
39. The system of claim 38, wherein the system comprises: an electronic commerce server which offers one or more products for sale by an electronic commerce vendor; wherein the electronic commerce server is operable to provide product information relevant to purchase of a product from the electronic commerce vendor, wherein the product information is provided to a user; wherein the electronic commerce server is further operable to receive a purchase request for purchase of the product from the user; wherein the electronic commerce server is further operable to present one or more payment options for purchase of the product, wherein said one or more payment options include a payroll deduction payment option; wherein the electronic commerce server is further operable to receive user input selecting the payroll deduction payment option; and wherein the electronic commerce server is further operable to receive payment for the product as a payroll deduction from an employer of the user in response to the user input selecting the payroll deduction payment option.
40. A caπier medium comprising program instructions, wherein the program instructions are executable to perform a method according to any of the preceding claims 34-37.
41. A method for providing a budgeting service using income deduction techniques, the method comprising: configuring budget information using a graphical user interface in response to user input, wherem the budget information specifies a plurality of pay amounts paid to one or more payees; a deduction server receiving the budget information; the deduction server requesting an income deduction to an employer of the user in response to receiving the budget information, wherein the user receives funds as income from the employer; the deduction server receiving at least a portion of the funds of the user from the employer in response to requesting the income deduction; and the deduction server distributing funds to the one or more payees according to the budget information of the user.
42. The method of claim 41 , further comprising : the deduction server transmitting a completion notification and statement to the user after distributing the funds to the payees according to the budget.
43. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein the deduction server requesting the income deduction from the employer comprises: creating an income deduction authorization form including the income deduction request; and transmitting the income deduction authorization form to the employer to request the income deduction.
44. The method of claim 43, further comprising transmitting the income deduction authorization form to the user.
45. The method of any of the preceding claims, further comprising: the deduction server sending a statement to the user after the deduction server distributing funds to the payees according to the budget information of the user, wherein the statement describes the distribution of funds to the payees.
46. The method of any of the preceding claims, further comprising: the deduction server posting pay date information to a scheduling/tracking system prior to receiving the at least a portion of the pay; the deduction server entering an amount of the funds received in the scheduling/tracking system after receiving the at least a portion of the funds; and the deduction server determining if the coπect amount of the funds were received after said receiving the at least a portion of the funds.
47. The method of claim 46, further comprising: transmitting one or more notifications to the employer and the user of improper receipt of the at least a portion of the funds in response to determining that the coπect amount of the at least a portion of the funds was not received. 48 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further compnsmg the deduction server determmmg if the mcome deduction requnes recalculation, the deduction server recalculating the income deduction m response to determining if the income deduction requnes recalculation, and the deduction server requesting a modification m the mcome deduction to the employer of the user after recalculating the mcome deduction
49 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the deduction server distributing funds to the payees further comprises the deduction server addmg at least a portion of the received pay to an accumulation account, wherem the accumulation account mcludes funds from one or more prior mcome deductions, the deduction server determmmg if the funds m the accumulation account are sufficient to pay one or more of the payees, and the deduction server distπbutmg at least a portion of the funds m the accumulation account to the one or more of the payees m response to determmmg the funds in the accumulation account are sufficient to pay the one or more of the payees
50 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the one or more payees include one or more investment accounts
51 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the one or more payees mclude one or more savings accounts
52 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the employer is a payroll company operating on behalf of the user's employer
53 The method of any of the preceding claims, wherem the employer is an employee leasing company
54 A system for providing a budgetmg service usmg mcome deduction techniques which performs a method accordmg to any of the preceding claims 41-53
55 The system of claim 54, wherein the system comprises a budgeting service system, and a deduction server, wherein the budgeting service system is operable to configure budget mformation usmg a graphical user interface m response to user mput, wherem the budget information specifies a plurality of pay amounts paid to one or more payees, wherem the deduction server is operable to receive the budget mformation from the budget service system, wherem the deduction server is further operable to request an income deduction to an employer of the user m response to receivmg the budget information, wherein the user receives funds as mcome from the employer, wherem the deduction server is further operable to receive at least a portion of the funds of the user from the employer m response to requesting the mcome deduction, and wherein the deduction server is further operable to distribute funds to the one or more payees accordmg to the budget information of the user
56 A earner medium comprising program instructions, wherem the program instructions are executable to perform a method accordmg to any of the preceding claims 41-53
57 A method for providmg a bill payment service usmg mcome deduction techniques, the method comprising configuring bill payment mformation usmg a graphical user mterface m response to user mput, wherein the bill payment mformation specifies a plurality of pay amounts paid to one or more payees, a deduction server receiving the bill payment information, the deduction server requestmg an mcome deduction to an employer of the user m response to the bill payment mformation, wherem the user receives funds as mcome from the employer, the deduction server receiving at least a portion of the funds of the user from the employer m response to requestmg the mcome deduction, and the deduction server distnbuhng funds to the one or more payees according to the bill payment mformation of the user
58 The method of claim 57, further compnsmg the deduction server transmitting a completion notification and statement to the user after distributing the funds to the payees according to the bill payment information
59 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the deduction server requesting the mcome deduction from the employer comprises creatmg an mcome deduction authonzation form mcludmg the mcome deduction request, and transmitting the income deduction authoπzation form to the employer to request the mcome deduction 60 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further compπsmg transmitting the income deduction authorization form to the user 61 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further compπsmg the deduction server sendmg a statement to the user after the deduction server distributing funds to the payees accordmg to the bill payment mformation of the user, wherem the statement descnbes the distribution of funds to the payees
62 The method of any of the preceding claims, further compnsmg the deduction server postmg pay date information to a scheduling/tracking system prior to receiving the at least a portion of the funds, the deduction server entermg an amount of the funds received m the schedulmg/trackmg system after receivmg the at least a portion of the funds, and the deduction server determmmg if the coπect amount of the funds were received after said receiving the at least a portion of the funds
63 The method of claim 62, further comprising transmitting one or more notifications to the employer and the user of improper receipt of the at least a portion of the funds m response to determmmg that the coπect amount of the at least a portion of the funds was not received
64 The method of any of the precedmg claims, further compπsmg the deduction server determmmg if the income deduction requires recalculation, the deduction server recalculating the income deduction m response to determmmg if the mcome deduction requires recalculation, and the deduction server requesting a modification in the mcome deduction to the employer of the user after recalculating the income deduction
65 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the deduction server distributing funds to the payees further comprises the deduction server adding at least a portion of the received pay to an accumulation account, wherem the accumulation account mcludes funds from one or more prior mcome deductions, the deduction server determmmg if the funds m the accumulation account are sufficient to pay one or more of the payees, and the deduction server distπbuting at least a portion of the funds m the accumulation account to the one or more of the payees m response to determmmg the funds in the accumulation account are sufficient to pay the one or more of the payees 66 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the employer is a payroll company acting on behalf of the user's employer
67. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein the employer is an employee leasing company.
68. A system for providing a bill payment service using income deduction techniques which performs a method according to any of the preceding claims 57-67.
69. The system of claim 68, wherein the system comprises: a bill payment service system; and a deduction server; wherein the bill payment service system is operable to configure bill payment information using a graphical user interface in response to user input, wherein the bill payment information specifies a plurality of pay amounts paid to one or more payees; wherein the deduction server is operable to receive the bill payment information; wherein the deduction server is further operable to request an income deduction to an employer of the user in response to the bill payment information, wherein the user receives funds as income from the employer; wherein the deduction server is further operable to receive at least a portion of the funds of the user from the employer in response to requesting the income deduction; and wherein the deduction server is further operable to distribute funds to the one or more payees according to the bill payment information of the user.
70. A caπier medium comprising program instructions, wherein the program instructions are executable to perform a method according to any of the preceding claims 57-67.
71. A method for providing a debit service using income deduction techniques, the method comprising: configuring debit information using a graphical user mterface in response to user input, wherein the debit information specifies one or more debit cards and balances for the one or more debit cards; a deduction server receiving the debit information; the deduction server requesting an income deduction to an employer of the user in response to receiving the debit information, wherein the user receives funds as income from the employer; issuing the one or more debit cards to the user; the deduction server receiving at least a portion of the funds of the user from the employer in response to requesting the income deduction; and the deduction server distributing funds to the balances of the one or more debit cards according to the debit information of the user.
72. The method of claim 71, further comprising: the deduction server transmitting a completion notification and statement to the user after distributing the at least a portion of the funds to the debit cards according to the debit information.
73. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein the deduction server requesting the income deduction from the employer comprises: creating an income deduction authorization form including the income deduction request; and transmitting the income deduction authorization form to the employer to request the income deduction.
74. The method of claim 73, further comprising transmitting the income deduction authorization form to the user.
75. The method of any of the preceding claims, further comprising: the user using one or more of the debit cards to purchase one or more products from one or more product vendors; and the deduction server distributing funds from the balances of the one or more of the debit cards used to purchase the one or more products to the one or more product vendors as payment for the one or more products.
76. The method of claim 75, further comprising: the deduction server sending a statement to the user after the deduction server distributing funds to the product vendors , wherein the statement describes the distribution of funds from the balances of the one or more of the debit cards to the product vendors.
77. The method of any of the preceding claims, further comprising: the deduction server posting pay date information to a scheduling/tracking system prior to receiving the at least a portion of the funds; the deduction server entering an amount of the funds received in the scheduling/tracking system after receiving the at least a portion of the funds; and the deduction server determining if the coπect amount of funds was received after said receiving the at least a portion of the funds.
78. The method of claim 77, further comprising: transmitting one or more notifications to the employer and the user of improper receipt of the at least a portion of the funds in response to determining that the coπect amount of the at least a portion of the funds was not received.
79. The method of any of the preceding claims, further comprising: the deduction server determining if the income deduction requires recalculation; the deduction server recalculating the income deduction in response to determining if the income deduction requires recalculation; and the deduction server requesting a modification in the income deduction to the employer of the user after recalculating the income deduction.
80. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein the employer is a payroll company operating on behalf of the user's employer.
81. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein the employer is an employee leasing company.
82. A system for providing a debit service using income deduction techniques which performs a method according to any of the preceding claims 71-81.
83. The system of claim 82, wherein the system comprises: a debit service system; and a deduction server; wherein the debit service system is operable to configure debit information using a graphical user interface in response to user input, wherein the debit information specifies one or more debit cards and balances for the one or more debit cards; wherein the deduction server is operable to receive the debit information; wherein the deduction server is further operable to request an income deduction to an employer of the user in response to receiving the debit information, wherein the user receives funds as income from the employer; wherein the debit service system is further operable to issue the one or more debit cards to the user; wherein the deduction server is further operable to receive at least a portion of the funds of the user from the employer in response to requesting the income deduction; and wherein the deduction server is further operable to distribute funds to the balances of the one or more debit cards according to the debit information of the user. 84 A caπier medium compnsmg program instructions, wherem the program instructions are executable to perform a method according to any of the precedmg claims 71-81.
85 A method for providing a credit service usmg income deduction techniques, the method comprising configuring credit information usmg a graphical user interface m response to user mput, wherem the credit mformation specifies one or more credit items and credit limits for the one or more credit items, a deduction server receivmg the credit mformation, issumg the one or more credit items to the user, the user usmg the one or more of the credit items to purchase one or more products from one or more product vendors, the deduction server receivmg one or more requests for payment from the one or more product vendors, the deduction server requestmg an mcome deduction to an employer of the user m response to receiving the one or more requests for payment, wherein the user receives funds as mcome from the employer, the deduction server receivmg at least a portion of the funds of the user from the employer m response to requestmg the mcome deduction, and the deduction server distributing the at least a portion of the funds to the one or more product vendors accordmg to the one or more requests for payment.
86 The method of claim 85, further compnsmg- the user completing a credit application for the one or more credit items; the deduction server issumg the one or more credit items to the user in response to approving the credit application for the user; and the deduction server notifymg the user of a denial of credit m response to not approvmg the credit application for the user.
87 The method of any of the preceding claims, wherem the credit item is a credit card
88. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherem the credit item is a line of credit.
89 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the deduction server requesting the mcome deduction from the employer comprises creating an mcome deduction authoπzation form mcludmg the income deduction request; and transmitting the income deduction authonzation form to the employer to request the mcome deduction
90 The method of claim 89, further compπsmg transmitting the mcome deduction authoπzation form to the user.
91. The method of any of the preceding claims, further comprising: the deduction server sending a statement to the user after the deduction server distributing the at least a portion of the funds to the product vendors, wherein the statement describes the distribution of the at least a portion of the funds to the product vendors.
92. The method of any of the preceding claims, further comprising: the deduction server posting pay date information to a scheduling/tracking system prior to receiving the at least a portion of the funds; the deduction server entering an amount of the funds received in the scheduling/tracking system after receiving the at least a portion of the funds; and the deduction server determining if the coπect amount of funds was received after said receiving the at least a portion of the funds.
93. The method of claim 92, further comprising: transmitting one or more notifications to the employer and the user of improper receipt of the at least a portion of the funds in response to determining that the coπect amount of funds was not received.
94. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein the employer is a payroll company operating on behalf of the user's employer.
95. The method of any of the preceding claims, wherein the employer is an employee leasing company.
96. A system for providing a credit service using income deduction techniques which performs a method according to any of the preceding claims 85-95.
97. The system of claim 96, wherein the system comprises: a credit service system; and a deduction server; wherein the credit service system is operable to configure credit information using a graphical user interface in response to user input, wherein the credit information specifies one or more credit items and credit limits for the one or more credit items; wherein the deduction server is operable to receive the credit information; wherein the credit service system is further operable to issue the one or more credit items to the user; wherein the deduction server is further operable to receive one or more requests for payment from one or more product vendors in response to the user usmg the one or more of the credit items to purchase one or more products from the one or more product vendors wherem the deduction server is further operable to request an income deduction to an employer of the user in response to receivmg the one or more requests for payment, wherein the user receives funds as mcome from the employer, wherem the deduction server is further operable to receive at least a portion of the funds of the user from the employer m response to requestmg the income deduction, and wherem the deduction server is further operable to distribute the at least a portion of the funds to the one or more product vendors according to the one or more requests for payment
98 A caπier medium comprising program instructions, wherem the program instructions are executable to perform a method according to any of the precedmg claims 85-95
99 A method for implementing an income deduction technique, the method comprising receivmg mcome mformation of a user, receivmg one or more mcome deduction requests from the user, wherein the one or more income deduction requests mclude one or more destmations for mcome deduction funds, requesting one or more income deductions from an employer of the user m response to receivmg the one or more income deduction requests and the mcome mformation from the user, receiving funds from the employer m response to said requestmg one or more mcome deductions from the employer, and distributing the funds to the one or more destinations accordmg to the one or more mcome deduction requests from the user
100 The method of claim 99, wherem the destmations include one or more electronic commerce vendors, and wherein the funds distributed to the electronic commerce vendors are payment for products purchased by the user from the one or more electronic commerce vendors
101 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherein the destinations mclude a budgeting service, and wherem the funds distπbuted to the budgeting service are distributed among one or more payees by the budgetmg service in response to user input
102 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the destmations mclude a bill payment service, and wherem the funds distributed to the bill payment service are distributed among one or more payees by the bill payment service in response to user mput
103 The method of any of the precedmg claims, wherem the destmations mclude one or more debit cards, and wherem the funds are added to balances of the one or more debit cards m response to user input
104 The method of any of the preceding claims, wherem the destinations mclude one or more credit items, wherem the funds are distributed among one or more product vendors according to one or more requests for payment received from the one or more product vendors, and wherem the requests for payment are for products purchased by the user from the product vendors usmg the one or more credit items
105 The method of claim 104, wherem one or more of the one or more credit items are credit cards
106 The method of claim 104, wherem one or more of the one or more credit items are lmes of credit
107 The method of any of the preceding claims, further compnsmg receiving a priority for the distribution of funds among the one or more destinations from the user, and priontizing the distribution of the funds among the one or more destmations m response to receiving the priority for the destination of the funds from the user, wherem the priority for the distribution of funds among one or more of the one or more destmations includes a sequence m which the funds will be distnbuted among the one or more destmations
108 A system for implementing an mcome deduction technique which performs a method according to any of the precedmg claims 99-107
109 The system of claim 108, wherein the system comprises a deduction server, wherem the deduction server is operable to receive mcome information of a user, wherem the deduction server is further operable to receive one or more income deduction requests from the user, wherem the one or more income deduction requests include one or more destmations for mcome deduction funds, wherem the deduction server is further operable to request one or more income deductions from an employer of the user m response to receiving the one or more mcome deduction requests and the mcome mformation from the user, wherein the deduction server is further operable to receive funds from the employer in response to said requesting one or more income deductions from the employer; and wherein the deduction server is further operable to distribute the funds to the one or more destinations according to the one or more income deduction requests from the user.
110. A caπier medium comprising program instructions, wherein the program instructions are executable to perform a method according to any of the preceding claims 99-107.
Description  (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)

TITLE: "SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INTEGRATING INCOME DEDUCTION PAYMENT TECHNIQUES WITH INTERNET E-COMMERCE AND ANCILLARY SYSTEMS"

Background of the Invention

Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to the fields of payroll and other income distribution software and Internet e-commerce and ancillary systems More particularly, the present invention relates to a system and method for performing electronic commerce transactions using payroll deduction

Description of the Related Art

Internet commerce has become an increasingly popular form of commerce in the United States and throughout the world In general, Internet-based commerce, often referred to as e-commerce, provides vendors and service providers the ability to greatly increase their sales channel and distribution network with minimal cost An Internet commerce site provides a convenient and effective mechanism for potential customers to use, select and purchase goods or services in an easy and simple fashion

Current methods of online payment for goods and services in e-commerce typically include credit cards, bank drafts, and debit cards However, many potential customers have concerns over providing credit card information over the Internet due to security issues In addition, many customers prefer using a debit card, which involves deduction of the required funds from the customer's bank account for payment of the purchased product Many customers prefer the use of a debit card to avoid the possibility of large credit card balances and the interest fees associated therewith

Socio-econonncs are continually evolving towards a simplified payment and money system Several hundred years ago, society primanly revolved around a barter system Twenty years ago, credit cards became a commonplace equivalent for paper money With the very recent advance of items such as direct deposit, online banking, computer bill payment and computer Web payment, it seems clear that society is moving closer toward eliminating the need for paper money altogether Therefore, an unproved system and method is desired for conducting payment for Internet e-commerce transactions and ancillary services

Summary of the Invention

A system and method are provided for performing electronic commerce transactions using payroll (income) deduction techniques An income deduction service system may be provided A User of the system may initiate a purchase of a product from an electronic commerce vendor An electronic commerce vendor may provide an electronic commerce server for the purchasing of goods or services (products) In one embodiment, the electronic commerce server may be connected to the Internet, and the electronic commerce vendor may provide a Web site comprising one or more Web pages serving as User interfaces operable to purchase products In one embodiment, the User may initiate the purchase from a computer system including a Web browser by accessing the Web site on the electronic commerce server The electronic commerce server may present one or more payment options to the User, including an income deduction payment option The User may select the mcome deduction payment option to pay for the product In one embodiment, the one or more payment options may be presented in a Graphical User Interface (GUI), and the User may select the income deduction payment option from the one or more payment options using the GUI The electronic commerce server may then forward the purchase information to the Deduction Server 112 The Deduction Server 112 may initiate an income deduction from an Employer of the User to pay for the purchase in response to receivmg the purchase information

In one embodiment, the Deduction Server 112 may receive payroll mformation of the User from the Employer of the User at the User's request In another embodiment, the payroll mformation may be retrieved from a database Alternatively, the Deduction Server 112 may receive payroll mformation of the User directly from the User The payroll information may mclude, but is not limited to an Employer name, Employer contact mformation, and a payroll date Examples of Employers mclude, but are not limited to busmesses, national, state, and local governments, non-profit organizations, and the military The Employer may be a temporary staffing agency, employee leasmg company, etc , which may administer the User's pay, or a payroll company which administers the User's pay on behalf of the Employer The Deduction Server 112 may request an income deduction from the Employer of the User in response to receivmg the purchase mformation and the payroll information of the User The mcome deduction may be set up by the Employer on an Income Server operated by the Employer An Income Server may be a computer system configured to perform various Employer tasks including payroll administration, and may be m electronic communications with the Deduction Server 112, for example, by the Internet or a dedicated connection In one embodiment, the Deduction Server 112 may determme one or more required deduction amounts prior to requestmg the mcome deduction from the Employer The Deduction Server 112 may request the mcome deduction from the Employer by creating an mcome deduction authorization form including the mcome deduction request and transmitting the mcome deduction authorization form to the Employer to request the mcome deduction

When the next pay penod occurs, the Employer's Income Server may operate to forward funds to the Deduction Server 112, wherem the funds compπse at least a portion of the User's mcome The Deduction Server 112 may thus receive the funds from the Income Server m response to the income deduction request In one embodiment, the funds may be received by electronic transfer The Deduction Server 112 may post pay date information to a scheduling/tracking system pπor to receivmg the funds After receivmg the funds, the Deduction Server 112 may enter the amount received m the scheduling/tracking system The Deduction Server 112 may determme if the correct amount of the funds were received after receivmg the funds If the Deduction Server 112 does not receive sufficient mcome deduction funds to meet payment obligations of the User, such as after a timeout period, the Deduction Server 112 may transmit one or more notifications to the Employer and the User of improper receipt of the funds In one embodiment, if the Deduction Server 112 has not received sufficient mcome deduction funds to pay for the product, the Deduction Server 112 may determme if the User's purchases are covered by an alternative credit source The Deduction Server 112 may presume full receipt of funds m response to determining that the purchase is covered by an alternative credit source The Deduction Server 112 may forward at least a portion of the User's income deduction funds received from the Income Server to the electromc commerce vendor as a partial or full payment for the product The Deduction Server 112 may then send a completion notification and statement to the User The electronic commerce vendor may then provide the product to the User after receivmg payment from the Deduction Server 112 As mentioned above, the Deduction Server 112 may be configured with a tune-out period for receivmg funds to pay for a purchase If sufficient income deduction funds are not received to pay for the product before expiration of the time-out period, the Deduction Server 112 may transmit one or more notifications to the Employer and the User of cancellation of the product purchase If sufficient mcome deduction funds are received to pay for the product before expiration of the time-out period, the Deduction Server 112 may forward the funds to the electronic commerce vendor to pay for the purchase

In one embodiment, the Deduction Server 112 may determme if a financing application is required prior to requesting the mcome deduction from the Employer A financing application may be required for large purchases, such as a television, automobile, etc The Deduction Server 112 may receive financing mformation from the User regarding financing of the product, and then may determine the approval of the financing application m response to receivmg and analyzmg the financing information The Deduction Server 112 may transmit a notification to the User of rejection of the financing application m response to not approving the flnancmg application If the financing application is approved, the Deduction Server 112 may determme one or more required deduction amounts for a plurality of payroll periods A plurality of income deductions may then be set up for a plurality of pay periods as payment for the product A variety of ancillary services may be provided by the income deduction service system of the present mvention The services may mclude mcome deduction for a budgeting service, income deduction for a debit card service, income deduction for a credit service, income deduction for a bill payment service, and a master control panel service The budgetmg service may allow a User to set up a budget in various categories, such as savings and investments, recurring and installment purchases, one tune deduction purchases, charitable contributions, bill payment, credit cards, debit cards, among others The Budgetmg Service may receive a portion or all of the User's mcome, and may allocate the money to various payees accordmg to the specified budget A debit card service may allow a User to assign specific income deduction amounts to one or more debit cards The debit cards may be used as ATM (automatic teller machine) cards, retail charge cards, or phone cards, without requiring a bank account A credit service may provide a User with a credit lme and/or one or more credit cards The credit line may be used to advance purchases against future mcome The payments for the credit service may be deducted through the

Deduction Server 112 A bill payment service may allow a User to pay household bills directly from the User's paycheck The bill payment service may also allow the User to make purchases from e-commerce sites and other businesses that do not accept mcome deduction as a method of payment A control panel service may allow a User to integrate various income deduction service options m one location Brief Description of the Drawings

A better understandmg of the present mvention can be obtained when the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment is considered m conjunction with the following drawmgs, in which

Figure 1 illustrates an mcome deduction service system that operates accordmg to one embodiment of the present mvention,

Figure 2 illustrates various service options available to the client accordmg to one embodiment of the present mvention,

Figures 3A and 3B comprise a flowchart diagram illustrating one embodiment of a method for conductmg an e-commerce transaction using income deduction as a payment technique, Figure 4 is a flowchart diagram illustrating one embodiment of a process for a User to provide mcome mformation to configure a Deduction Server 112,

Figure 5 is a flowchart diagram illustrating one embodiment of Deduction Server 112 processmg, Figure 6 is a flowchart diagram illustrating one embodiment of a method for determining if the correct mcome deduction amount is received at the Deduction Server 112, Figure 7A is a flowchart diagram illustrating methods for transferring funds from the Income Server to the

Deduction Server 112,

Figure 7B is a flowchart diagram that expands on step 701 of Figure 7B, and that describes one embodiment of selecting a funds transfer option for a Non-Captive User,

Figure 8 is a flowchart diagram illustrating one embodiment of a budgetmg service using income deduction,

Figure 9A is a flowchart diagram illustrating one embodiment of a debit service usmg income deduction, Figure 9B illustrates an example setup that a User may select in creatmg four Debit Cards, Figure 10A is a flowchart illustrating one embodiment of a bill payment service usmg mcome deduction, Figure 10B illustrates example bill payments, Figure 11 is a flowchart illustrating one embodiment of a method of establishing an income deduction payment from a Captive User,

Figure 12 is a flowchart illustrating one embodiment of a credit service usmg mcome deduction, and Figure 13 is a diagram illustrating various options available to the User m one embodiment of a Control Panel service While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof are shown by way of example m the drawmgs and will herem be descπbed m detail It should be understood, however, that the drawmgs and detailed description thereto are not intended to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed, but on the contrary, the mtention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spiπt and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims Detailed Description of the Embodiments

Figure 1 Network System for Performing E-Commerce usmg Income Deduction

Figure 1 illustrates a simplified and exemplary Internet commerce or e-commerce network system according to one embodiment of the present mvention The system shown m Figure 1 may utilize mcome (payroll) deduction payment techniques m an e-commerce transaction The system shown in Figure 1 may also implement other income deduction based services, as described below

As used herein, the term "Employer" is mtended to include law firms, accountmg firms, manufacturing firms, retail stores, government agencies, the Military, service companies, non-profit organizations, temporary employment agencies, and in general any busmess entity that has employees (Users), and that directly or indirectly provides monetary compensation to its employees (Users) In addition, the term "Employer" also mcludes government or private entities that provide non-compensatory funds to clients (Users), for example, entities that provide social security, worker's compensation, msurance benefits, retirement benefits, etc The term "Employer" also mcludes third party companies such as payroll companies, certified public accountants, professional bill payment companies, employee leasing companies, and/or a temporary staffing companies. As used herein, the term "mcome" is intended to mclude all compensatory and non-compensatory funds provided to an employee (User) by an Employer As used herem, the term "payroll" is intended to mclude all monetary compensation provided to an employee (User) by an Employer.

As shown, the system may mclude an Internet commerce server, also referred to as an e-commerce server 102. The e-commerce server 102 is preferably mamtained by a vendor who offers goods or services over the Internet One example of an e-commerce vendor is Amazon com, which sells books and other items over the Internet.

As shown, the e-commerce server 102 may be connected to a network 104, preferably the Internet 104 The Internet 104 is currently the primary mechanism for performing electronic commerce. However, the present invention may be used with any of vaπous types of wide-area networks, such as the Internet, which connects computers and networks of computers together, thereby providmg the connectivity for enablmg electronic commerce to operate. Thus, the network 104 may be any of various types of networks.

A client computer 106 may also be connected to the Internet 104 The client computer system 106 may execute Web browser software for allowing a User of the client computer 106 to browse and/or search the Internet 104, as well as enablmg the User to conduct transactions or commerce over the Internet 104 When the User of the client computer 106 desires to purchase a good or service from a vendor over the Internet 104, the Web browser software preferably accesses the Web page of the respective e-commerce server, such as e-commerce server 102. The client may access the Web page of the e-commerce server 102 directly or may access the site through the Web pages of Deduction Server 112 or some other third party When the client Web browser accesses the Web page of the e-commerce server 102, the e-commerce server 102 provides vanous data and mformation to the client browser on the client system 106, possibly includmg the products (goods and/or services) offered, descriptions and prices of these products, and other mformation that would typically be valuable to the purchaser of a product As used herein, the term "product" is mtended to mclude vaπous types of goods or services, such as books, CDs, content subscription services, furniture, online auction items, clothing, ISP service, consumer electronics, travel, software, medical supplies, computer systems etc., or vaπous services such as loans (e g., auto, mortgage, and home refinancing loans), securities (e.g., stocks, retirement accounts, bonds, and mutual funds), or msurance (e.g., life, health, auto, and home owner's msurance), among others. The person or client operating the client computer 106 may be referred to as an "Income Earner" or a

"User." As used herem, an Income Earner or User includes any person who receives an employment compensation payment or mcome, such as in the form of a paycheck, expense reimbursement, accounts payable check, or direct deposit, from which deductions may be made. Thus, an Income Earner or User includes an employee who receives a paycheck from an Employer. An Income Earner or User may receive any type of mcome, including but not limited to those that would result m the generation of IRS forms W2, 1099, as well as those that would not generate an IRS form The term User may also refer to a person or entity operating the client computer 106 on behalf of an Income Earner For example, an Income Earner's spouse may operate the client computer 106 on behalf of the Income Earner to access the various services described herem

As shown, an Income Server 122 may connect to the Internet 104. The Employer may use an Income Server 122 to perform mcome servicing functions, such as paying employees (Users). The User may be paid by his/her Employer or by a third party contractor of the Employer. The Income Server 122 may be operated directly by the Employer, or on behalf of the Employer by a third party company, such as a payroll company, a certified public accountant, a professional bill payment company, an employee leasmg company, and/or a temporary staffing company. In some embodiments, the User may mclude persons that receive mcome from sources other than an

Employer or as a third party contractor These types of mcome may mclude, but are not limited to those that may generate IRS forms 1099 and Kl, as well as those that may not generate an IRS form. Examples of other mcome types may mclude, but are not limited to: Social Security benefits, workers compensation benefits, disability payments, alimony and child support payments, unemployment payments, gambling winnings, court payments, capital gams, royalties, and partnership/corporate distributions. In some embodiments, the Income Server 122 may be operated by any party making payments to the User.

An Income Server may include any system for makmg payments to a User. The term may encompass computer systems operated by the party obliged to make the payment (e.g. an Employer of the User) as well as any third party Employer entities (e.g a payroll company) makmg payments to the User on behalf of the payer. Examples of Income Servers may mclude, but are not limited to: computer systems operated by payroll companies, accounting programs, government agencies, payment services, and all other systems used for the purposes of makmg the payments.

In an e-commerce transaction between the User and the e-commerce server 102, when the User has selected one or more products for purchase and is "checking out," the e-commerce server 102 may display vaπous payment options, including an income deduction method of payment. The User may then provide additional mformation regardmg the User and/or Employer, such as the Employer name as well as other information that may be necessary for an mcome deduction to take place as the form of payment for the purchased product from the e- commerce server 102. This provides a more convenient and simplified mechanism for purchasing products in an e- commerce application.

The system of Figure 1 may also include a Deduction Server 112, which may connect to the Internet 104. The Deduction Server 112 may in addition or instead connect directly to the e-commerce server 102. The Deduction Server 112 may also connect directly to the Income Server 122. The Deduction Server 112 may receive purchase information from an e-commerce server 102 and/or User. The purchase information may include the purchase amount, the User (e.g. employee) name, and other information. The Deduction Server 112 102 may also receive payroll (income) information of the User. The income information may include Employer information such as the Employer name, address and telephone number, and income information such as income type (e.g. payroll, Social Security, Worker's compensation), pay frequency, amounts, and dates. Alternatively, income information may be received from the Income Server 122. The Deduction Server 112 may receive purchase information from the e-commerce server 102 and/or client 106 through the Internet 104. Alternatively, the Deduction Server 112 may receive purchase information directly from the e-commerce server 102 and/or client 106, e.g., through a direct connection such as a dedicated Tl line, frame relay, or other dedicated communication channel, instead of through the Internet.

As shown, the Deduction Server 112 may communicate with the Income Server 122 to initiate the income deduction payment method. The Deduction Server 112 may request the Income Server 122 to perform one or more deductions from a User's income resulting from the User's purchase of a product from the e-commerce server 102, as well as any other services listed in Figure 2. Thus, the Deduction Server 112 may operate to communicate with or contact the Income Server 122 to facilitate an income deduction from the income system of the Income Server 122. Thus, the Deduction Server 112 may offload or supplement the income deduction processing and accounting from the e-commerce server 102, i.e., offload this task from the e-commerce vendor.

In one embodiment, the Income Server 122 may also be coupled to the Internet 104. Alternatively, the Income Server 122 may not be coupled to the Internet for security reasons, and thus the Deduction Server 112 may use other means for communicating with the Income Server 122. For example, the Deduction Server 112 may connect directly to the Income Server 122 (not through the Internet), e.g., through a direct connection such as a dedicated Tl line, frame relay, or other dedicated (and presumably more secure) communication channel. Alternatively, the Deduction Server 112 may communicate with the Income Server 122 via mail, e.g., the Deduction Server 112 may transmit income deduction authorization forms via mail to the Employer, wherein the Employer may configure the Income Server 122 accordingly.

Figure 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment including one e-commerce server 102, one client computer system 106, one Deduction Server 112, and one Income Server 122 which may be connected to the Internet 104. However, it is noted that the present invention may be utilized with respect to any number of e-commerce servers 102, clients 106, Deduction Servers 112, and Income Servers 122. Deduction Server 112

The Deduction Server 112 may be programmed according to one embodiment of the mvention to facilitate an income deduction payment method for a product sold m an electronic commerce application The Deduction Server 112 may also be programmed to provide other services, as described below m Figure 2 The Deduction Server 112 may be utilized as a transaction processor, and may serve as a Web site for interaction with the client 106, Income Server 122, e-commerce server 102 and any other mterested parties It is noted that a portion or all of the Deduction Server 112 may be implemented in the e-commerce server 102 or the Income Server 122 as desired

The Deduction Server 112 may mclude various standard components such as one or more central processmg units, memory, a non-volatile storage device such as a hard dπve, and other standard components, e g , a display device, input devices, a power supply, etc The Deduction Server 112 may also be implemented as two or more different computer systems

The Deduction Server 112 preferably mcludes a memory medium on which computer programs accordmg to the present mvention are stored The term "memory medium" is mtended to mclude various types of memory or storage, includmg an installation medium, e g , a CD-ROM, or floppy disks 160, a computer system memory such as DRAM, SRAM, EDO RAM, Rambus RAM, etc , or a non- volatile memory such as a magnetic media, e g , a hard drive, or optical storage The memory medium may compnse other types of memory as well, or combinations thereof In addition, the memory medium may be located m a first computer in which the programs are executed, or may be located in a second different computer which connects to the first computer over a network In the latter instance, the second computer provides the program instructions to the first computer for execution Also, the server 112 may take vanous forms, mcludmg a computer system, mainframe computer system, workstation, network appliance, Internet appliance, or other device In general, the term "computer system" or "server" can be broadly defined to encompass any device having a processor that executes instructions from a memory medium

The memory medium preferably stores a software program for implementing an mcome deduction payment technique The software program may be implemented m any of various ways, mcludmg procedure-based techniques, component-based techniques, and/or object-oπented techniques, among others For example, the software program may be implemented usmg ActiveX controls, C++ objects, JavaBeans, Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC), or other technologies or methodologies, as desired A CPU, such as the host CPU, executing code and data from the memory medium compπses a means for implementing an mcome deduction payment technique according to the methods or flowcharts described below Vaπous embodiments further include receivmg or storing instructions and/or data implemented in accordance with the foregomg description upon a carrier medium Suitable carrier media include memory media or storage media such as magnetic or optical media, e g , disk or CD-ROM, as well as signals such as electrical, electromagnetic, or digital signals, conveyed via a communication medium such as networks and/or a wneless link The present mvention provides a number of benefits to e-commerce vendors First, the mcome deduction payment method offered by the present invention may allow a number of new consumers with disposable income to conduct commerce with vendors which include this form of payment The mcome deduction payment method of the present mvention also provides a mechanism for these vendors to distinguish themselves from their competitors For example, many purchasers may prefer payroll deduction over credit card payment. Vendor sales may be increased through specialized targeting using the specific characteristics and profile of a User's income. Further, this method provides certain vendors, such as insurance companies, that cannot generally accept credit card payments, a more convenient and simplified mechanism to the current practice of relying upon the consumer to provide monthly or annual checks. This provides a more convenient and simplified mechanism for purchasing products in an e-commerce application.

The present invention provides a number of benefits to the User. First, the income deduction payment provides the consumer an efficient and convenient method of making payments to e-commerce vendors. The method helps Users to limit purchases to their desired budget and disposable income that helps avoid over spending and credit card interest rates. Additionally, this invention creates an additional payment option to Users that cannot or choose not to use credit card or traditional payment options. As described further below, other embodiments of the present invention may provide a number of other services that may be used by Users.

Figure 2: Income Deduction Service Options Figure 2 illustrates various income deduction services, or service options, that may be offered according to one embodiment of the present invention. Figure 2 illustrates various ways in which a User of the system may specify distribution of monies from a User's paycheck, or other income sources, for various services. For example, as used herein, the term "User" may refer to a person or entity utilizing the services of the described invention.

Certain Employers may have a prior affiliation or aπangement with the operators of the Deduction Server 112. In one embodiment, the Employer may have contracted with the Deduction Server 112 to facilitate the regular electronic transfer of income, demographic, and deduction information between the Employer and the Deduction Server 112. An Employer that has contracted with the Deduction Server 112 is herein referred to as a Captive Employer. An Employer that has not contracted with the Deduction Server 112 is herein referred to as a Non- Captive Employer. A Captive Employer, for example, may regularly provide the Deduction Server 112 with electronic data that may include a listing of employee names, payroll frequencies, future payroll dates, and expected payroll amounts. A User paid through a Captive Employer is referred to as a Captive User. A User paid through a Non-Captive Employer is referred to as a Non-Captive User.

Users who are paid through Captive Employers may have the option of reviewing and updating the User's income history and setup 212. Utilizing this service, the User may review the information provided by the Employer to the Deduction Server 112. The User may also request the Deduction Server 112 to forward instructions to the Employer, or request the Income Server 122 directly, to change User setup information such as direct deposit, tax status, Employer-provided insurance coverage, and addresses, among other services. In one embodiment, all services may be available to the Users who are paid through Captive Employers' Captive Employees. In one embodiment, all services, with the exception of the Review and Update 212, may be available to the Users who are paid through Non-Captive Employers' Captive Employers.

Income deduction services, as illustrated in Figure 2, may include income deduction for payment for a product in an e-commerce transaction 202, income deduction for a budgeting service 204, income deduction for debit card services 206, income deduction for credit services 208, mcome deduction for bill payment services 210, the service for reviewing and updatmg mcome history and setup 212, and a master control panel service 214

As shown m Figure 2, one mcome deduction service may allow User to specify income deduction for purchasing products User may purchase a product from an e-commerce site on the Internet, wherem the e- commerce site accepts income deduction as a payment option Alternatively, User may purchase a product from an e-commerce site 102 on the Internet, wherem the e-commerce site 102 may not have mcome deduction as a payment option and where the Deduction Server 112 would serve as a virtual mcome deduction payment option usmg the Credit Service 208 or Bill Payment Service 210 The e-commerce site 102 may utilize a Deduction Server 112, which may be operated by a third party company, wherem the Deduction Server 112 facilitates the notification, tracking, and transfer of funds necessary (e g , from an Employer to an e-commerce vendor) to complete the transaction An embodiment of an Income Deduction Service for Purchases is illustrated m Figures 3A and 3B

As shown m block 204, User may subscπbe to a Budgetmg Service 204 m which the forwarding of some or all of a User's net pay to a Budgeting Service provider may be authorized Upon subscπbmg to the Budgetmg service 204, User may set up a budget m various categories, such as savings and investments, recurring and installment purchases, one time deduction purchases, chaπtable contπbuhons, bill payment, credit cards, and debit cards, among others For example, User may use a browser-based GUI (graphical User interface), which presents User with the above list of categoπes to use for budgetmg or distributing the net pay amount Net pay is defined as the gross pay received by a User less any prior deductions Additionally, User may create User-specified categoπes At any time, User may adjust the amounts assigned to each category In one embodiment, the

Budgeting Service may include a tax calculator, comparisons to national or other relevant averages, and expert advice designed to assist User in deciding on the amounts to assign to each category The Budgetmg Service 204 provider may mclude a Deduction Server 112 that performs the mcome deduction, budgeting, and money distribution services accordmg to the specified budget Thus, the Budgetmg Service provider may receive a portion or all of the User's mcome, and may allocate the money to various payees, accounts, and accumulating funds accordmg to a specified budget An embodiment of a Budget Service is illustrated m Figure 8

As shown in block 206, User may subscribe to a Debit Card service that may allow a User to assign specific mcome deduction amounts to one or more Debit Cards This service may be used on its own, or may be part of the more comprehensive Budgeting service 204 The Debit Cards may be used m a similar manner to standard bank debit cards, except that no bank account may be necessary In other words, the User may use the debit card like a bank account The Debit Cards may be used as ATM (automatic teller machine) cards, retail charge cards, or phone cards, without requiring a bank account Other example uses for the debit card may include cards designated for allowances for children, emergency money, and a telephone calling card An embodiment of a Debit Card Service is illustrated m Figure 9A As shown m block 208, User may apply for a Credit service that may provide a User with a credit line and/or one or more credit cards This service may be used on its own, or may be part of the more comprehensive Budgeting service 204 The credit cards may be used m a similar manner to standard credit cards The credit lme may be used to advance purchases agamst future mcome Conventional credit cards and credit lines generally requne the cardholder to make monthly payments out of the cardholder's bank account The payments for the credit service 208 may be deducted through the Deduction Server 112 as the User is paid Additionally, the maximum allowable credit service credit lme may be determined in part or in whole by the monthly net income the Deduction Server 112 expects to receive from the User An embodiment of a Credit Service is illustrated in Figure 12

As shown in block 210, User may subscribe to a Bill Payment service, which may allow a User to pay household bills (e g , rent, utilities, credit cards) directly from the User's paycheck The Bill Payment Service may also allow the User to make purchases from e-commerce and non-e-commerce busmesses that do not accept mcome deduction as a method of payment This service may be used on its own, or may be part of the more comprehensive Budgetmg service 204 User may specify the amount, payment date, and payee mformation The deduction service provider may then deduct the required amount from future paychecks until the target amount has been reached The deduction service provider may then forward the required funds to the payees set up by User through paper check or electronic funds transfer An embodiment of a Bill Payment Service is illustrated in Figure 10A As shown m block 214, User may subscπbe to the Control Panel Service The Control Panel Service 214 may allow a User to mtegrate vaπous service options m one location The Control Panel Service may or may not be used with other service options In one embodiment, the Control Panel Service GUI is created as a stand-alone product In another embodiment, some or all of the functions of the Control Panel Service GUI may be merged into the Budget Service 204 The Control Panel Service 214 may allow a User to coordinate, pπoπtize, and set up advanced calculations and reports for all deductions for the service options Control Panel Service 214 may also allow a User to set up a Pπvacy Panel which may allow the User to determme the amounts and types of information the User chooses to disclose to various parties The Control Panel Service 214 may also allow the User to access community-related items mcludmg email services, community discussion groups, and bulletin board services An embodiment of the Control Panel Service is illustrated m Figure 13 Deduction Server 112 may be accessible on the Internet In one embodiment, User may use a Deduction

Server 112 Web site to review and adjust deduction amounts on a User's paycheck for one or more service options In one embodiment, while User is usmg the Deduction Server 112 Web site for service options, the Deduction Server 112 may display links to, or specific products of, one or more of a plurality of e-commerce sites which may provide an mcome deduction payment option In one embodiment, the links displayed may be based on the User's mcome, demographic profile, pay occasion (e g , regular pay, bonus), and/or service used The Deduction Server 112 may also display links to other service options

Figures 3 - 13

Figures 3 through 13 mclude flowchart diagrams that illustrate operation of embodiments of the present invention It is noted that various of the steps m the flowcharts below may occur concurrently and/or m different orders, or may be absent m some embodiments Figure 3A and 3B Usmg Income Deduction as a Payment Technique

As illustrated in block 202 of Figure 2, a User may purchase products from a busmess usmg an mcome deduction payment service One embodiment of this method may operate as follows In step 302, a User purchases a product from an e-commerce site For example, in step 302 the User may have connected to a Web site on the Internet to purchase a product When the User is purchasing a product from the e-commerce site 102, the e- commerce site 102 may display a graphical User interface (GUI) that the User may use to evaluate, select, and/or purchase the product The e-commerce server 102 may, for example, support a "shopping cart" metaphor for allowing a User of the client computer 106 to select various products for purchase, wherem selected products may be placed mto the "shopping cart" for purchase When the User of the client computer 106 has selected one or more products for purchase from the e- commerce server 102 and desires to "check out," then the e-commerce server 102 may display a page on the client browser which displays various pπcmg mformation and payment options for the User to select In prior art systems, these payment options typically consist of credit card payment, virtual credit card or virtual bank account ("wallet technology" or "internet cash"), electronic bank draft, debit card payment, or possibly pass-through to an ISP, phone, or other earner bill Accordmg to one embodiment of the present invention, the customer or User of the client system 106 may also be presented with an income deduction payment option for purchasing the desired product from the e-commerce server 102 Thus, when the User has selected one or more products for purchase and is completing the purchase or "checking out," the e-commerce server 102 may display various payment options, mcludmg an income deduction method of payment In one embodiment, when the User is purchasmg a product, the GUI of the e-commerce site may display one or more payment options to the User such as a credit card option, a debit card option, and an income deduction option accordmg to the present invention As discussed below, the income deduction method of payment provides a more convenient and simplified mechanism for purchasing products m an e-commerce application

In step 304, the User may select the mcome deduction payment option In some embodiments, the User may have previously specified the mcome deduction payment method, and thus may not have to select this option each time

In step 306, the User may enter income information that will be provided to the Deduction Server 112 The User may enter mcome mformation m the e-commerce site 102 or directly mto the Deduction Server 112 In one embodiment, a User may enter income mformation m the e-commerce site 102, and the e-commerce site 102 may provide the mcome information to the Deduction Server 112 In another embodiment, a User may enter a User id and a password, e g , a digital certificate, and the Deduction Server 112 may access mcome mformation from its own database or a separate database server using the User id and password In another embodiment, an icon or digital busmess card, which may mclude income information, may be dragged from the User's desktop and dropped on to the e-commerce site graphical User mterface (GUI) to convey mcome information to the e-commerce site 102 In another embodiment, a user may enter a "smartcard" or other identifying media into a computer peripheral or other appliance to convey mcome mformation to the e-commerce site 102 Other methods for providmg mcome information may also be used In step 306, the Deduction Server 112 may receive the mcome information The mcome mformation may include mformation such as the User's name, the Employer's name, address, telephone number(s), fax number(s), and email address(es) The mcome mformation may also include the pay type (e g payroll, social security, workers compensation, etc ), next pay date, the expected gross and net amounts, and the frequency in which the User is paid (e g , on a monthly basis, semi-monthly, biweekly, or weekly basis) The mcome mformation may mclude other types of mformation about the User and other information about the Employer

If the User is a Captive User or has previously registered with or used the Deduction Server 112, then the User may not be requned to enter any mcome information in step 306 other than a User ID and password In this case, the Deduction Server 112 may already have access to this mformation For example, the income information may be on file for the User if the User is paid by an affiliated Employer or payroll company An embodiment of this process is illustrated in Figure 4

In step 308, the Deduction Server 112 may perform authentication of the mcome mformation provided by the User For example, the Deduction Server 112 may validate the identity of the e-commerce site 102 from which the income information is received to ensure that false mformation is not being received The Deduction Server 112 may also perform other types of authentication on the User, such as performing verification dnectly with the User Various security measures may be used, such as digital certificates, e g , those offered by VeπSign Corporation

In step 312, the method may determine whether a financing application is required Thus, if the product purchased by the User is a costly item, such as an automobile, television or other item which may require more than one mcome deduction, the Deduction Server 112 may request information from the User to qualify the User for financing

In step 314, the User may enter data for the financing application The data may then be received by the Deduction Server 112 The data may mclude items such as financial data, and may be used to qualify the User for financing In step 316, the flnancmg application may be processed by the Deduction Server 112, and the application may be approved or rejected If the application is rejected, the User may be notified of the rejection of the application in step 318 If the financing application is approved m step 316, then the method may advance to step 332 If a flnancmg application is not requned, operation proceeds from step 312 directly to step 332

Referring now to Figure 3B, m step 332, the Deduction Server 112 may perform Deduction Server 112 processing Deduction Server 112 processmg may include the Deduction Server 112 calculatmg the requned deductιon(s) and initiating the mcome deduction request to the Employer, (e g , m the form of an mcome deduction authorization form sent to the Employer) The Deduction Server 112 processmg m step 332 may also mclude the Employer entering the deduction, processmg mcome payments at the next pay period (e g the Employer processing the income of the employee), and transferring funds to the Deduction Server 112 An embodiment of performing Deduction Server 112 processmg is illustrated in Figure 5 In step 334, the Deduction Server 112 may determme if the correct mcome deduction amount is received This may mclude comparmg any received deduction amount with the required deduction amount determmed in step 332 An embodiment of determining if the correct amount is received is illustrated in Figure 6

In step 335, a check may be made to see if the payments are to be accumulated over multiple pay periods If it is determined the bill payment requires an accumulation, the process proceeds to step 336 If it is determmed the bill payment does not require accumulation, the process proceeds to step 339 In step 336, the accumulated amounts may be examined to determine if the deduction goal has been met If the goal has been met, the process proceeds to step 339 If the goal has not been met, the process proceeds to step 337 In step 337, the deduction may be added into the accumulation account A notification may then be sent to the User m step 338, and the process may return to step 332 These steps 332, 334, 335, 336, 337 and 338 may be performed one or more times until the required deduction amount has been received

In step 339, presuming all requued funds have been received, the Deduction Server 112 may forward at least a portion of the funds, e g , the mcome deduction amount, to the e-commerce vendor In one embodiment, the Deduction Server 112 may forward the computed mcome deduction amount minus a commission and processmg fees In another embodiment, the Deduction Server 112 may accumulate the received deductions until reachmg a target amount, and then may forward a portion of the funds to the e-commerce vendor

In step 340, the Deduction Server 112 may send a completion notification and statement to the User The completion notification and statement may outlme the purpose of the mcome deduction (e g , a purchased product, a budget, a debit card, a credit service, a bill payment service, etc ) as well as a financial statement indicating the amount of money deducted from the User's income for this purpose This statement may also outline any tax consequences of the income deduction as well as any remammg balance for a purchase that requires a recurring charge, such as life insurance or an automobile

In step 341, the Deduction Server 112 may determme if the deduction, purchase, or service results in any tax consequences for the User, the Employer, the e-commerce server, or any other party If the transaction results in tax consequences, the Deduction Server 112 may prepare tax documents, or instruct a party to do so, m step 342 As an example, an Employer may be reqmred to report certain pre-tax msurance deductions on an employee's W2

In step 344 the e-commerce vendor may provide or deliver a product to the User In some embodiments, the e-commerce vendor may provide or deliver the product to the User pπor to receivmg payment for the product For example, the e-commerce vendor may provide the product to the User upon notification that the income deduction setup has been successfully recorded m the Employer's payment system

Figure 4 Providmg Income Information to a Deduction Server 112

As illustrated m block 306 of Figure 3 A, a User may provide income information to configure a Deduction Server 112 Figure 4 is a flowchart which illustrates block 306 of Figure 3 A In step 352, the method may determme if the User is paid through a Captive Employer, or if the User has previously used or registered with the Deduction Server 112 If the User is paid through a Captive Employer or has previously used or registered with the Deduction Server 112, the collection of specific mcome mformation about the User may not be necessary, as this specific mcome mformation may be available to the Deduction Server 112

If the User is not paid through a Captive Employer and has not previously used or registered with the Deduction Server 112 as determmed m step 352, then m step 354 the User may enter mcome mformation The mcome mformation may mclude mformation such as the User's name and contact information, the Employer's name, address, telephone and fax number(s), and email address(es) The mcome mformation may also mclude the pay type (e g payroll, social security, workers compensation, etc ), next pay date, the expected gross and net amounts, and the pay frequency (e g , on a monthly basis, semi-monthly, biweekly, or weekly basis) The mcome information may mclude other types of mformation about the User, or other mformation about the Employer In step 356, the Deduction Server 112 may receive the mcome mformation entered by the User In one embodiment, if the User is not paid through a Captive Employer and has not previously used or registered with the Deduction Server 112 as determmed m step 352, the User may not be required to enter mcome mformation For example, the User may simply provide a reference to a database contammg this information, and may then verify the retrieved information

Figure 5 Deduction Server 112 processmg

As illustrated in block 332 of Figure 3B, the Deduction Server 112 may perform Deduction Server 112 processmg Figure 5 is a flowchart diagram illustrating one embodiment of Deduction Server 112 processmg

In step 410, the Deduction Server 112 may calculate one or more of the amount, expected receipt date, and tax consequences of the required deductιon(s) Any amounts may be calculated and listed as flat dollar amounts, percent of mcome bases, or by other formulas An example of a formula may mclude "15% of gross payroll not to exceed 10% of net payroll and not to exceed $200 " For transactions requiring multiple deductions, the Deduction Server 112 may calculate the number of deductions required, the frequency of the deductions, and any targets or end pomts The amounts may be calculated usmg mformation mcludmg the purchase or service total, the User pay frequency, and the number of pay periods the deductions are taken over The Deduction Server 112, the User and/or the e-commerce server 102 may determme the number of pay peπods required for the deduction In calculatmg the deduction amounts and characteristics, the Deduction Server 112 may additionally utilize information entered by the User with respect to the Control Panel Server illustrated in Figure 13

In step 412, the pay date mformation may be posted to a scheduling/tracking system on the Deduction Server 112 Thus, the Deduction Server 112 software may utilize the pay date mformation and pay schedule information provided by the User to determme the User's future pay dates so that the Deduction Server 112 software may track mcome deduction payments from the Employer based on the pay dates' expected arrival For example, if the User's payment frequency information mdicates that the User is paid once per month, the software may schedule or track receipt of the mcome deduction from the Employer within, for example, five business days of when the User should be paid This may be used to track and ensure that the mcome deduction payment is actually received by the Deduction Server 112 In step 414, the method may create an mcome deduction authorization form mcludmg the deduction request entered by the User The mcome deduction authoπzation form may mclude whatever information necessary to convey the deduction information to the Employer The mformation may mclude the User's name and identifymg mformation, the expected amounts and dates of future deductions, etc The amounts listed may be listed as flat dollar amounts, as percents, or as formulas as needed to provide clear instructions to the Employer The income deduction authorization form may also mclude added instructions for the Employer such as funds transfer instructions The mcome deduction authorization form may be used to create a record of the mcome deduction request made by the User The mcome deduction authorization form may be a physical hardcopy which may be mailed to the Employer, or may be a digital version which may be e-mailed or electronically communicated to the Employer, or a combination of the above

In step 416, the Deduction Server 1 12 may transmit the income deduction authorization form to the User and to the Employer The mcome deduction authorization form may be transmitted m numerous ways including an e-mailed version, a faxed version, a paper copy sent through an overnight delivery service, or other mechanisms, includmg two or more of the above mechanisms, to guarantee delivery In one embodiment, deduction authorization forms for Captive Employers may be transmitted to the Captive Employer m a batch electronic format The mcome deduction authorization form may be sent to both the User and to the Employer The mcome deduction authorization form may be sent usmg a secure or encrypted mechanism, e g , with digital signatures, digital certificates and/or RSA or other encryption The mcome deduction authorization form may also mclude other information such as tax consequence information In step 417, the Employer may respond to the Deduction Server 112 The Employer may be presented with various methods to communicate with the Deduction Server 112 These methods may be listed in the mcome deduction authorization form Example methods include email response, Electronic Data Interchange protocols (EDI) Web server interface, "tele-touch" telephone, and voice phone response The Deduction Server 112 may offer other forms to allow the Employer to communicate with the Deduction Server 112 The Employer may respond to the Deduction Server 112 for numerous reasons These reasons may mclude acknowledgement receipt of the deduction authorization form, fact coπections, selection of a funds transfer option, and general inquiry The Employer may also be encouraged to enroll in other services offered by the Deduction Server 112

In step 418, the Employer may initiate a deduction on the Employer's Income Server in response to the income deduction authorization form that was received m step 416 The Employer may enter an option m its Income Server software to initiate an income deduction for the User as requested by the User and as symbolized by the mcome deduction authorization form Dependmg on the Income Server's sophistication level, the Employer may set up percent or formula amounts as percent and formulas, or may rely on the flat dollar amounts calculated by the Deduction Server 112 (or Income Server 122) and listed on the deduction authoπzation forms

In step 420, when the User's pay date arrives, the pay may be processed by the Employer's Income Server 122 with the deduction requested by the User In other words, in step 420, the Employer's next pay period occurs or is processed, wherein the deduction is made from the User's pay The deduction may be for one of a vaπety of purposes, such as a purchase of a product from an e-commerce site, an amount allocated to a budget to be processed by the Deduction Server 112, an amount allocated to a debit card to be processed by the Deduction Server 112, an amount of credit extended by or through the Deduction Server 112, an amount allocated to payment of a bill of the User's to be processed by the Deduction Server 112

In step 422, funds from the Employer or Income Server 122 may be transferred to the Deduction Server 112 Embodiments of funds transfer to the Deduction Server 112 are illustrated in Figures 7 A and 7B

In step 424, the Deduction Server 112 may update its scheduling/tracking system with any received payment from the mcome deduction

In step 426, the Deduction Server 112 may determme if the deduction is a one-time deduction or a recurring deduction Certain purchases or transaction (e g a book or CD) of relatively small value may be paid for in one deduction Other purchases or transactions of larger cost (e g a car, Budget Service, insurance, etc ) may be paid for over multiple pay periods The Deduction Server 112 processing for this particular purchase or transaction may end if the transaction is categorized as a one-time transaction If the transaction is determmed to be a recurring transaction, the process contmues to step 428

In step 428, the Deduction Server 112 may determine if the deduction needs to be recalculated A deduction may be recalculated for vaπous reasons, mcludmg reachmg a target goal, change by the User, the cancellation of future deduction orders, or bemg categorized as a variable deduction, among others A target goal may be reached when a transaction has a time or value limit (e g a car loan) Changes to the deduction amounts may be changed by the User or any other authorized party for several reasons mcludmg pπcmg changes or service adjustments Future deductions may be cancelled by the User, the Employer, the E-Commerce Server 102, or the Deduction Server 112 for various reasons mcludmg non-payment, discontmuation of a service or product and termination of the relationship between the User and the Employer A deduction may be categorized as variable based on the nature of the product or service acquned with the deduction

A deduction that does not need to be recalculated may cause the Deduction Server 112 to send a reminder notice 430 to the Employer for future deductions A deduction that requires recalculation will reinitiate the process at step 410

Figure 6 Determining if the Coπect Income Deduction Amount is Received

Figure 6 is a flowchart diagram illustrating one embodiment of determining if a correct amount was received, and expands on step 334 of Figure 3B In Figure 6, the method may determine if the correct mcome deduction amount was received at the Deduction Server 112, and may perform processmg m response to not receivmg the coπect mcome deduction amount

There are many reasons that the correct amount may not be received by the Deduction Server 112 Examples of reasons mclude the User not bemg paid in a given pay period, the User bemg paid less than expected, a termination or change m the relationship between the User and the Employer, and, the Employer's failure to set up the deduction request In step 452, the method may determme if the correct mcome deduction amount was received If the correct income deduction amount was received by the Deduction Server 112 as determmed m step 452, the method of Figure 6 completes In one embodiment, processmg may contmue with step 335 of Figure 3B

In one embodiment, m step 452 the method may perform a validation of the received mcome deduction amount regardless of whether any mcome deduction payment was actually received If no mcome deduction is actually performed by the Employer, the schedulmg/trackmg system may perform an operation and determme that no income deduction payment was received If an mcome deduction payment is received by the schedulmg/trackmg system, but the mcome deduction amount is less than that required for the product purchase, then in step 452 the method may compare the received amount with the amount recorded m the schedulmg/trackmg system, and may determine that msufficient funds were deducted to cover the purchased product or service (e g , Budget Service)

If the correct mcome deduction amount is not received by the Deduction Server 112 as determined in step 452, then processmg contmues with step 453 If more than the required deduction amount is received by the Deduction Server 112, the amount is determmed to be correct for purposes of 452, and the excess funds are made available to the User

In step 453, the Deduction Server 112 may determine if the payment is secured by the Credit Service or another source If the payment is secured, then the method of Figure 6 completes, and m one embodiment, processmg may continue with step 335 of Figure 3B If the payment is not secured by the Credit Service or another source, then operation proceeds to step 454 Example sources of secured payment may mclude Credit Service 208, third party credit cards and bank accounts

If the correct mcome deduction amount is determmed to have not been received m step 452, and no backup credit source is available as determmed in step 453, then in step 454 the method may transmit one or more notifications to the Employer and the User of improper receipt of funds As noted above, these notifications may be transmitted usmg various means, such as one or more of e-mail, fax, overnight delivery, etc In step 455, a User may be given the opportunity to adjust instructions related to the deduction request As noted above, this communication may be accomplished usmg vaπous means, mcludmg email, a Web site interface, or phone response Examples of instructions the User may send mclude instructions to correct information about the Employer, select alternate forms of payment, request to apply the deficit to future deductions, and to change or cancel the deduction request An accepted request may result m the adjustment of the expected amounts m the schedulmg/trackmg system This mformation may supplement any information provided by the User m a Control Panel Service as illustrated in Figure 13

In step 456, the method may periodically check if any amounts are received before a time-out period expnes If the correct amount is received before the time-out peπod expires, then the method of Figure 6 completes, and m one embodiment, processing may contmue with step 335 of Figure 3B If the time-out period expires m step 456 without the correct mcome deduction payment having been received, notifications may be sent to the interested parties If the mcome deduction was for a credit service payment as determmed m 457, the Deduction Server 112 in step 459 may elect to suspend credit privileges If the income deduction was for a purchase from an e-commerce site as determined in step 458, then a notification may be transmitted to the e-commerce vendor of cancellation of the order in step 460. In step 462 the Deduction Server 112 may then notify the User and the Employer of cancellation of the order and hence cancellation of any future income deductions. If the purpose of the income deduction was for a service other than an e-commerce site purchase (e.g., budgeting service, debit card service, credit service, bill payment service) then the method may advance from step 458 directly to step 462. In step 462, the method may notify the User and the Employer of cancellation of the order (or service) and hence cancellation of any future income deductions. Thus, step 462 may be performed whenever an anticipated income deduction is not received. Any insufficient funds that have already been received from the income deduction may also be returned to the Employer's Income Server at this time, possibly minus any transaction fees.

Figure 7 A and 7B: Funds Transferred from Employer to Deduction Server 112

Figures 7A and 7B expand upon step 422 in Figure 5 and illustrate embodiments of methods of transfeπing funds deducted from the User to the Deduction Server 112. The Deduction Server 112 may have previously determined in Figure 4, step 352 if the User is paid through a Captive Employer.

Figure 7A: Determining the status of a User

If, in step 700, the User is determined to be paid by a Captive Employer, the deduction amounts may be electronically deducted from the Captive Employer's bank account by the Deduction Server 112 in step 702. In one embodiment, the Employer may have previously provided the Deduction Server 112 with the Employer bank account information. The Employer may communicate the actual deducted amounts to the Deduction Server 112, at which point the Deduction Server 112 may initiate an electronic withdrawal from the Employer's bank account. If the User is not paid by a Captive Employer, the process continues at step 701.

Figure 7B: Step 701 of Figure 7 A

Figure 7B illustrates one embodiment of selecting a funds transfer option for a Non-Captive User, which may be performed in step 701 of Figure 7A. Referring to Figure 5, step 417 may allow the Employer to communicate with the Deduction Server 112. In Figure 7B, based upon this communication, the Employer may select a desired funds transfer method in step 701. Funds transfer options may include, but are not limited to: utilizing the Deduction Server 112's direct deposit system 704, utilizing the Employer's direct deposit system 716, allowing the Deduction Server 112 to initiate an electronic withdrawal from the Employer bank account 736, and allowing the Employer to initiate a paper or electronic payment to the Deduction Server 112 742. No response or selection (step 726) from the Employer in step 701 may cause the Deduction Server 112 to select a default funds transfer option in step 728. In one embodiment, the default funds transfer option may be to utilize the Employer's direct deposit system in step 716. In step 704, the Employer may select and enroll in the Deduction Server 112's direct deposit program. In essence, this system may allow the Employer to distribute payments to some or all of the payees of the Employer utilizing the systems available through the Deduction Server 112. This service may be utilized to include various individuals that are not conducting any business with the Deduction Server 112. As an example, an Employer may be able to process some or all of the Employer's list of employees' direct deposit transactions through the

Deduction Server 112, including those employees that may not be using the services of the Deduction Server 112. In one embodiment, the Employer may be required to enter additional information such as the Employer's bank account information. In one embodiment, the Employer may be required to sign an enrollment User agreement. The Employer may or may not incur additional expenses in conjunction with this option. In step 706, the Employer may provide the Deduction Server 112 with the list of all employees opting to be paid electronically. This communication may take place in several forms including email, Web interface, file transmission, or any other method of communication. In step 707, funds may be transferred electronically from the Employer to the Deduction Server 112 for the entire amount as communicated in step 706. In step 708, the required User funds may be retained by the Deduction Server 112 and entered into the scheduling/tracking system as illustrated in Figure 5. Referring again to Figure 7B, in step 710, the remaining funds of the User, and funds of other employees in the file received in step 706, may be forwarded to the bank accounts as directed by the file. As an example, the direct deposits of the employees may be forwarded to their respective bank accounts. Discrepancies and eπors may be communicated to the Employer in step 710.

In step 716, the scheduling/tracking system may be set to expect the Employer to transmit the required User income deductions utilizing the electronic payment systems of the Employer. In step 718, the Employer may set up an electronic payment entry utilizing the Deduction Server 112's account information as well as other information which may be provided on the Income Deduction Authorization Form. As an example, an Employer may enter a direct deposit setup entry for a User. Basic direct deposit systems generally require entry of a bank routing number, a bank account number, an amount, and a transmit date. Additional information may be entered for clarification or authorization purposes. The information entered in step 718 may utilize the bank routing number of the Deduction Server 112 and identifying number(s) for the User as the account number. In step 720, the required funds may be electronically transferred to the Deduction Server 112 after the income payment has been processed by the Employer. In step 722, the Deduction Server 112 may determine if the deduction will be changed or terminated on the next pay period. The Deduction Server 112 may send the Employer a reminder to reinitiate, alter, or terminate the deduction and/or electronic payment for future pay periods. As an example, the Deduction Server 112 may instruct the Employer to discontinue the direct deposit setup.

The Deduction Server 112 may expect the Employer to select a desired funds transfer method in step 701. If the Employer does not select a desired funds transfer method in step 726, the scheduling/tracking system may select a default funds transfer option in step 728. In one embodiment, the default may be to utilize the electronic funds transfer systems of the Employer in step 716.

In step 736, the Employer may elect to have the required User deduction amounts to be drafted electronically from the Employer's bank account. In step 736, the Employer may provide the Deduction Server 112 with the Employer's bank account mformation, and may consent to have the funds withdrawn from the Employer bank account In step 738, the Deduction Server 112 may initiate a funds transfer from the Employer's bank account

The Employer may initiate a paper or electronic payment to the Deduction Server 112 for the required mcome deductions m step 742 Examples of this method may mclude a bank check, a bank wire, an Employer- initiated Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer or any other means useable to convey funds to the Deduction Server 112

Other methods of conveying funds from the Employer to the Deduction Server 112 may be implemented, mcludmg but not limited to merchant accounts, Wallet Technology, Smart card, and virtual accounts

Figure 8 A Budgetmg Service usmg Income Deduction

Figure 8 illustrates the budgeting service 204 available to the User through income deduction This system may enable the User to forward a portion or all of the User's net pay to a Budgeting Service provider

In step 502, the User may subscribe to the Budgetmg service 204 and may fill out vanous authorization forms and or User agreements These forms and or agreements may be completed usmg an Internet-based GUI

In step 504, the User may set up a pre-determined budget m various categories, mcludmg, but not limited to savmgs and investments, recurring and installment purchases, one-time deduction purchases, charitable contributions, bill payment, msurance, credit cards, and debit cards The User may also be able to set up accumulator accounts to save m multiple deduction periods towards target goals For example, the User may use a browser-based GUI (graphical User interface) that may present the User with the above list of categories for use m budgetmg and distributing the net pay amount Net pay is defined as the gross pay received by a User less any prior deductions In one embodiment, the User may create User-specified categoπes In one embodiment, the User may integrate the budgeting system with interfaces provided through personal accounting software (e g Quicken™ or Microsoft Money™) The User may adjust amounts assigned to categories The Budgetmg Service may mclude a tax calculator, comparisons to national or other relevant averages, and expert advice designed to assist the User m decidmg on the amounts to assign to categories

In step 506, the Deduction Server 112 may process the required deduction requests In one embodiment, processmg the required deduction requests may be performed by a method similar to the method illustrated in Figure 5 In step 508, the Deduction Server 112 may determme if the coπect amount has been received In one embodiment, the Deduction Server 112 determming if the coπect amount has been received may be performed by a method similar to the method illustrated in Figure 6

In step 509, a check may be made to see if the payments are to be accumulated over multiple pay periods If it is determined the bill payment requires an accumulation, the process proceeds to step 510 If it is determined the bill payment does not require accumulation, the process proceeds to step 513 In step 510, the accumulated amounts may be examined to determme if the deduction goal has been met If the goal has been met, the process proceeds to step 513 If the goal has not been met, the process proceeds to step 511 In step 511 , the deduction may be added into the accumulation account. A notification may then be sent to the User in step 512, and the process may return to step 506.

In step 513, the deducted funds may be distributed to the budget categories that have been set up by the User in step 504. Examples of the distribution may include forwarding funds to investment accounts, bank accounts, car payments, utility companies (e.g., electric company, gas company, telephone company, etc.), insurance companies, charities, and specialized accumulator accounts. The funds may be transfeπed using various means including, but not limited to: check, and electronic draft. In step 514, the Deduction Server 112 may send any relevant completion notices and or statements to the User. In step 515, the payees that have received funds on behalf of the User may also send any relevant completion notices and/or statements to the User.

Figure 9A: A Debit Service using Income Deduction

As illustrated in block 206 of Figure 2, the User may subscribe to a Debit Card service, which may allow the User to assign specific income deduction amounts to one or more Debit Cards. This service may be used on its own, or may be part of the more comprehensive Budgeting service 204. The Debit Card may be used similarly to a standard bank-issued debit card. The Debit Card may be used as ATM (automatic teller machine) cards, retail charge cards, or phone cards. Other example uses for Debit Cards may include cards designated for allowances for children, emergency money, and telephone calling cards.

In step 542, the User may subscribe to the debit card service. The User may be required to fill out various authorization forms and/or User agreements possibly using an Internet-based GUI. In step 544, the User may configure the debit card service to meet the User's requirements. In one embodiment, the User may review and transfer the amounts of existing Debit Cards. In one embodiment, the User may terminate, alter, and/or suspend specific Debit Cards. Examples of items to be configured may include, but are not limited to: the number of cards requested, the name to be printed on each card, the usage rights of each card, and the funding instructions for each card. Upon completion of the Debit Card configuration, physical cards may be sent to the Debit Card Users. Figure 9B illustrates an example setup that a User (John Doe) may enter in creating four Debit Cards.

Refeπing again to Figure 9A, one embodiment may allow the User to integrate the Debit Service system with interfaces provided through personal accounting software (e.g. Quicken™ or Microsoft Money™)

In step 546, the Deduction Server 112 may process the required deduction requests. In one embodiment, processing the required deduction requests may be performed by a method similar to the method illustrated in Figure 5. In step 548, the Deduction Server 112 may determine if the coπect amount has been received. In one embodiment, the Deduction Server 112 determining if the coπect amount has been received may be performed by a method similar to the method illustrated in Figure 6. In step 550, the deducted funds may be electronically distributed to the Debit Cards that have been set up by the User in step 544. The debit card balances may then be available to the Debit cardholders. In step 552, the Deduction Server 112 may send any relevant completion notices and/or statements to the User. Figure 10A: A Bill Payment Service using Income Deduction

As shown in block 210, the User may subscribe to a Bill Payment service, which may allow the User to pay any household bills (e.g., rent, utilities, credit cards) directly from the User's income. In one embodiment, the Bill Payment Service may allow the User to make purchases through income deduction at e-commerce and non-e- commerce businesses that do not accept income deduction as a method of payment. This service may be used on its own, or may be part of the more comprehensive Budgeting Service 204.

In step 602, the User may subscribe to the Bill Payment service. The User may be required to fill out various authorization forms and or User agreements, possibly using an Internet-based GUI.

In step 604, the User may then set up multiple bill payments. In one embodiment, the bill payments may be set up using a Web site GUI. The User may set up various options for each bill payment including the amount (using a flat dollar, percent of income, or more complicated formula), payment date, and payee information (e.g. name, address, phone number, reference number). The User may also set up accumulation requirements, and advanced discrepancy instructions. Figure 10B illustrates example bill payments.

Refeπing again to Figure 10A, one embodiment may allow the User to integrate the bill payment system with interfaces provided through personal accounting software (e.g. Quicken™ or Microsoft Money™)

In step 605, the Deduction Server 112 may process the required deduction requests. In one embodiment, processing the required deduction requests may be performed by a method similar to the method illustrated in Figure 5. In step 606, the Deduction Server 112 may determine if the coπect amount has been received. In one embodiment, the Deduction Server 112 determining if the coπect amount has been received may be performed by a method similar to the method illustrated in Figure 6.

In step 607, it is determined if the payments are to be accumulated over multiple pay periods. Certain large payments, such as rent payments, may be too large to deduct in one pay period. The User may choose to accumulate bill payment amounts over multiple pay periods. The accumulation instructions may be entered as a simple flat amount (e.g. $250 per week) or as a detailed formula (e.g. $500 per week not to exceed 20% of disposable income skipping the fifth week of the month). The accumulation goal may be set to reach a target amount, date, or any other criteria deemed necessary. If it is determined the bill payment requires an accumulation, the process proceeds to step 608. If it is determined the bill payment does not require accumulation, the process proceeds to step 614.

In step 608, the accumulated amounts may be examined to determine if the deduction goal has been met. If the goal has been met, the process proceeds to step 614. If the goal has not been met, the process proceeds to step 610.

In step 610, the deduction may be added into the accumulation account. A notification may then be sent to the User in step 612, and the process may return to step 605.

Once the required deductions and accumulations have been met, the Deduction Server 112 may distribute funds to the various payees in step 614. The date and method of distributing the funds may be determined in part by the instruction provided to the Deduction Server 112 by the User in step 604. In step 615, the Deduction Server 112 may send any relevant completion notices and/or statements to the User In step 616, the payees that have received funds on behalf of the User may send any relevant completion notices and/or statements to the User

Figure 11 Establishing an Income Deduction Payment from a Captive User

As described m Figure 2, the mcome mformation related to a Captive User may already be available to the Deduction Server 112 In one embodiment, the Captive User may be able to access purchase options not available to the Non-Captive User As an example, the Captive User may be offered tailored purchase options or incentives based on the Captive User's demographics, income mformation (e g expected annual income, mcome type, frequency), and purchase profile Although the Captive User may utilize the process mvolved in Figures 3 A and 3B (e g the Captive User may initiate a purchase through an e-commerce server), the Captive User may also be offered various products or services through the Deduction Server 112 or Employer as illustrated m Figure 11

As described in Figure 2, employees or payees of a Captive Employer are defined as Captive Users An Employer may become a Captive Employer by contracting with the Deduction Server 112 m step 642 to establish operational and systematic protocols to facilitate the regular electronic transfer of one or more of income, demographic, and deduction information between the Employer and the Deduction Server 112 In step 644, the mcome information of all individuals paid through the Employer may be sent to the Deduction Server 112 This mformation may be sent prior to the Captive Employer electmg to make a purchase or select any service options such as those illustrated m Figure 2 Referπng to Figure 11, m step 646, the User may log on to the Web site of the Deduction Server 112 The

User may use the Web site of the Deduction Server 112 to review past pay periods, update information with the Employer, use one of the service options such as those illustrated m Figure 2, or access other Deduction Server 112 services The User may review mcome mformation for accuracy

In step 648, the User may review and modify the security and privacy settmgs for the User The User may modify the security and pπvacy settmgs accordmg to the User's preferences Settmgs may mclude limiting the availability of the mcome mformation by third parties, blocking certain mformation transmission between the Employer and the Deduction Server 112, and password changes Security and privacy settmgs review and modification may be available to both Captive Users and Non-Captive Users Thus the Deduction Server 112 may act as an intermediary to the Users In step 650, the User may purchase a product through the Deduction Server 112 site The purchase may be the result of a solicitation by the Deduction Server 112, Employer, and/or e-commerce server, or the purchase may be selected by the User without solicitation The User may or may not make a purchase, and may elect to use another service option, such as one of those illustrated m Figure 2

In step 652, the User may select the mcome deduction option as the method of payment Alternative methods of payment may include credit card, electronic, bank draft, using a pre-created accumulator account, or Wallet Technology Any other allowed method to make payment for purchases may be employed Once the mcome deduction method is selected, the User may continue with step 308 in Figure 3 A Figure 12 A Credit Service usmg Income Deduction

As shown m block 208 of Figure 2, a User may apply for a Credit service that provides the User with a credit lme and or one or more credit card(s) This service may be used on its own, or may be part of the more comprehensive Budgeting service 204 These credit cards may be used in a similar manner to standard credit cards The credit line may be used to advance purchases agamst future mcome The payments for the credit service 208 may be deducted through the Deduction Server 112 as the User is paid One embodiment may allow the User to mtegrate the credit service system with mterfaces provided through personal accountmg software (e g Quicken™ or Microsoft Money™) In step 670, the User may apply for credit service In one embodiment, the application may be done through a Web site GUI The application process may be similar to that of a traditional credit card or line of credit The User may be able to choose a credit card, a lme of credit, or both a credit card and lme of credit The application may mclude various User agreements Applications for a Non-Captive User may require additional information (e g , the Non-Captive Employer written agreement to make deductions from the Non-Captive User's paycheck) Once the application is received, the Deduction Server 112 or an affiliated party may review the application to approve or deny credit service and establish a credit limit m step 672 If the application is rejected, the process may end with a notification to the applicant m step 674 If the application is approved, the process contmues to step 676 The approval guidelines may be similar to the cuπent guidelines used by traditional credit companies The approval process may be partially or entirely electronic, reducing the process and notification time In one embodiment, the application may be approved while the User is still logged on the system

The maximum allowable credit service credit lme may be determmed m part or m whole by the monthly net income the Deduction Server 112 expects to receive from the User This may be one factor among the standard factors evaluated by traditional credit card companies The credit lme and the credit card may operate under one "umbrella" maximum credit limit In step 676, the User receives the credit card and or credit lme documents In step 678, the User uses the credit card and/or credit line The credit card may be used in a similar manner to traditional credit cards The credit line may be used to cover future deduction requests as well as make Internet purchases As shown m step 453 of Figure 6, the credit lme may cover future deduction requests m the event that the coπect deduction is not received by the Deduction Server 112 The credit lme may also serve to advance against future deductions m order to allow the User to receive products or services prior to a complete payment through all the necessary mcome deduction (e g an employee may want to receive the purchase of a new computer before the installment payments have been completed) The usage of the credit service m 678 creates steps 680 as well as 684

In step 680, the usage of the credit service may create a debt from the Deduction Server 112 to a vendor The debt is paid to the vendor m due course m step 682 In step 684, the usage of the credit card service may generate a credit balance for the User Unlike traditional credit cards which generally accumulate the credit balance to a monthly statement, the Credit Service may set up the credit period based upon the pay frequency of the User (e g Monthly, semi-monthly, biweekly, weekly) Any balances accumulated by the User during the credit penod may generate an automatic mcome deduction request form

In step 686, the Deduction Server 112 may process the required deduction requests In one embodiment, processing the required deduction requests may be performed by a method similar to the method illustrated m Figure 5 In step 688, the Deduction Server 112 may determme if the coπect amount has been received In one embodiment, the Deduction Server 112 determining if the coπect amount has been received may be performed by a method similar to the method illustrated in Figure 6 In step 690, the payments may be applied to the credit balance Various statements may be sent to the User as indicated m step 692

Figure 13 A Control Panel service

As shown in block 214, a User may subscribe to a Control Panel Service The Control Panel Service 214 may allow the User to mtegrate service options such as those shown m Figure 2 in one location The Control Panel Service may optionally be used with other service options such as those shown in Figure 2 In one embodiment, the Control Panel Service GUI may be a stand-alone product In another embodiment, some or all of the functions of the Control Panel Service GUI may be merged into the Budget Service 204 The Control Panel Service 214 may allow the User to coordinate, pπoπtize, and set up advanced calculations and reports for all deductions for service options such as those shown in Figure 2 Control Panel Service 214 may allow the User to set up a Privacy Panel which may allow the User to determme the amounts and types of mformation the User chooses to disclose to various parties The Control Panel Service 214 may allow the User to access community-related items including email services, community discussion groups, and bulletin board services

As illustrated m Figure 13, the Control Panel Service may offer the User services m several categories, mcludmg, but not limited to Deduction Coordinator Services 800, Community Services 820, and Privacy Coordmator Services 840 Additional categories of services may be available as needed

In one embodiment, Deduction Coordmator Services 800 may mclude pπoπtizing deductions 802, Advanced Calculations 804, What-if Scenanos 806, Proactive Discrepancy Resolution 808, Specialized Reporting 810, Deduction Status Trackmg 812, Third Party Service Integration 814, and Deduction Combmation 816 The Deduction Coordmator 800 may also mclude any other services necessary to allow the User to better track and control deductions

In one embodiment, the prioritizing deductions service 802 may allow the User to select which deductions are to be taken before other deductions The User may be able to set deductions to be taken m whole before other deductions, m part before other deductions, or m proportionate dollar or percent amounts with other deductions This may be particularly useful if the User does not always expect to receive enough pay to cover each deduction request As an example, a User may choose to set the bill payment deductιon(s) for rent before funding a debit card In one embodiment, Advanced Calculations 804 may allow the User to set up formula- type calculations for some or all deductions The Advanced Calculation Service may also allow the User to set up deductions m various groups or categories to allow certain deductions to be calculated based upon the amounts of other deductions or groups of deductions. Deduction items that may be customized include, but are not limited to: the dollar amount; the percent or multiple of a variable (e.g. gross pay, net pay, taxable income, specific earnings, specific deductions, groupings of earnings and/or deductions, and any combination of the above); a pay period maximum and/or minimum; a specified period (e.g. Monthly, annual, weekly, etc.) maximum and or minimum; a maximum and/or minimum calculated from another variable; deduction frequency (e.g. weekly, every third pay period, four time per month, etc.), and; User requested amounts (i.e. the Deduction Server 112 would request the User to enter a new amount prior to the Deduction Server 112 process). The Advanced Calculation 804 service may provide the User with sample or projected deduction and net pay summaries based upon the deduction calculations set up by the User. As an example, an individual may elect to allocate the greater of $50 per pay check or 25% primary debit card deduction, not to exceed $300 per month or 15% of net pay after rent deduction and car financing deduction.

In one embodiment, What-If Scenarios 806 may allow the User to set up various scenarios to explore the ramifications of the various deduction requests. A User may be able to examine the results of altering the tax characteristics of each deduction, changing the amounts, priorities, formulas, and frequencies. The What-If Scenario 806 service may display summary calculations of the User's expected tax, income, and deduction totals for a User-specified period of time (e.g. a month, a year, or any date range). As an example, the User may be able to run various scenarios to determine the after tax net pay effect of accelerating a mortgage deduction from thirty years to twenty years.

In one embodiment, Proactive Discrepancy Resolution 808 may allow the User to set up instructions in advance of the pay periods to deal with situations in which the coπect deduction amount may not be received by the Deduction Server 112 as described in step 452 of Figure 6. These instructions may supplement any instructions provided by the User in step 455 of Figure 6. Some examples of the instructions a User may provide include, but are not limited to: reducing the deduction request amount to match available funds; selecting alternate forms of payment; requesting to apply the deficit to future deductions; changing or canceling the deduction request; applying deficit to credit service or other source; canceling other deductions to create available funds, and; notifying the User for further instructions.

In one embodiment, Specialized Reporting 810 may allow the User to access standard reports and set up customized reports to review income, purchase, tax, and deduction and service usage activity. The reporting may also include analysis reports like budget reviews, spending comparisons, missed deduction reviews, and other reports the User may find useful in analyzing information available to the Deduction Server 112. The reporting may be available in multiple formats including, but not limited to: HTML output; email, and; spreadsheet file download.

In one embodiment, Deduction Status Tracking 812 may allow the User to track outstanding deduction requests. The User may review the deduction status steps including, but not limited to: the steps that have completed, the steps that have yet to complete, and estimated time or dates of completion of the steps. Some of the information may be available through the scheduling/tracking system.

In one embodiment, Third Party Service Integration 814 may allow the User to integrate service options such as those illustrated in Figure 2 with external software services. The integration may allow service options such as those illustrated m Figure 2 to import from, export to, or mtegrate with third-party products or services The User may be able to access mformation in, or set up instructions in, a service option such as those illustrated in Figure 2 with a third-party product, or visa versa Example third-party products mclude, but are not limited to Microsoft Money™, Intuit Quicken™, Intuit QuickBooks™, and Meca Manage Your Money™ In one embodiment, Deduction Combmation Services 816 may allow the User to combme and accumulate various deductions with other deductions of the User As an example, the User may combme a $50 per week "retirement goal" deduction with a $25 per week "children college tuition savings" deduction towards the same investment account The Deduction Combination Service 816 may allow two or more Users to combme their deductions As an example, a User may elect to combme a $ 150 per week deduction with his wife's deduction of $ 100 per week to pay the monthly rent Another example may mclude a User combmmg a purchase of a computer with another User that is also purchasmg a computer so that they may take advantage of quantity purchase savmgs The Deduction Combination service may mclude technology and GUIs to allow two or more Users to communicate with each other and to set up combined accumulator accounts The Deduction Combmation Service may also provide a service to allow a User to be notified when another User initiates a transaction or purchase that may be of mterest to the User

In one embodiment, Community Services 820 may offer services mcludmg Email Account establishment and review 822, Discussion Groups 824, Support Services 826, Bulletin Board Services 828, and Expert Advice 830 The Community Service 820 may also mclude other services that may allow the User to better utilize the services and share information with other parties In one embodiment, Email Account establishment and review 822 may provide the User and/or the

Employer with email accounts for personal use, as well as for Deduction Server 112 and Employer notifications As an example, the email accounts may act as the primary email systems between an employee and Employer or contractor and subcontractor The User and/or Employer may review email information usmg a Deduction Server 112 GUI and/or may connect to the site with technologies mcludmg, but not limited to POP, IMAP, and SMTP In one embodiment, Discussion Groups 824 may allow the User to share ideas and mformation with other

Users of the system The discussion group systems and technology may act similarly to those cuπently used on the Internet

In one embodiment, Support Services 826 may include such service as technical support, customer support, billing support, customer set-up and customer mformation updates The support service may act m combmation of phone support, GUI Web page support, email support, and any other form of support that may provide quality service and satisfaction for the Users and Employers

In one embodiment, Bulletin Board Services 828 may allow the User to receive messages and mformation from an Employer or any other source

In one embodiment, Expert Advice 830 may allow the User to receive advice on a myriad of issues such as deduction/income maximizing issues, and general issues Deduction Income maximizmg issues may include such areas as taking advantage of tax deductions, tips on maximizmg take-home pay, and warnings about poor deduction and wasteful purchase choices The Expert Advice 830 may review all User mformation mcludmg the budget, bill payment purchases, debit card, credit service, and control panel settings, as well as national or other relevant averages, to make suggestions and comments to the User In addition to the deduction/income maximizmg expert advice, Expert advice may be offered related to general issues such as local restaurants, search engines, and recommended e-commerce sites Expert advice may mclude a set of pre-programmed messages, mteractive GUI calculations and messagmg, and human discussion via telephone or chat technology

In one embodiment, Reminder Service 832 may allow the User and any other relevant party (e g the Employer, associates of the User, etc ) to set up reminders such as birthdays, news and events, stock alerts, tasks, and tax filing dates The User may be able to customize the delivery of notifications sent by the Deduction Server 112 and/or the Employer The reminder service may utilize email, bulleting board, fax notification, text to voice phone notification, or any other available notification technology

In one embodiment, Privacy Coordmator Services 840 may offer the User services includmg Deduction Server 112 Restrictions 842, Multi-level Password Support 844, Wallet Technology 846, Information Distribution Restrictions 848, and Profile Customization 850 The Pπvacy Coordinator Service 840 may also mclude services that allow the User to better guard security and privacy In one embodiment, Deduction Server 112 Restrictions 842 may allow the User to define what types of information the Deduction Server 112 may receive from the Employer, e-commerce server, or third party The Deduction Server 112 may attempt to take m all information available in order best service the User and select products matchmg the User's profile Utilizing this service, the User may set up rules to block vaπous types of mformation Any blocked mformation will not be imported mto the Deduction Server 112 even if the information is sent to the Deduction Server 112 by the Employer, e-commerce server, or a third party As an example, the User may select to block any information pertaining to the User's social security number and mcome amount The User may choose to block the description of certain purchases, and may choose to block any credit information obtamed by a credit bureau The User may be able to review any benefits or consequences to displaying or blockmg vaπous items In one embodiment, Multi-level Password Support 844 may allow the User to set up multiple levels of passwords and create customized security levels for each password Passwords may allow various Users various viewing and editmg capabilities As an example, the User's spouse may be able to review debit card balances, add bill payment requests that may be forwarded to the User for approval, enter adjustment instruction in steps 455 and 808, and utilize the What-If Services 806 In one embodiment, Wallet Technology 846 may allow the User to set up alternative names and numbers for credit card, debit card, bank accounts, and accumulator accounts in order to protect the privacy and security of the funds A usage of the alternative numbers (e g a purchase) may result m a confirmation notification to the User With this method, the User may be able to guard against fraudulent usage of the account mformation In addition to storing the information with the Deduction Server 112, the User may be able to store this information on a computer desktop In some embodiments, mformation stored on the computer desktop may be "dragged" on to any sites on which the User chooses to make a purchase In one embodiment, Information Distribution Restrictions 848 may allow the User to restrict the types of information sent by the Deduction Server 112 to other parties. For example, the User may choose to block the Deduction Server 112 from disclosing social security number or other personal information to any third parties. The User may also choose to block certain purchase information from the Employer (e.g., an employee may not want the Employer to know what the employee is purchasing). The User may be able to review any benefits or consequences of displaying or blocking various items.

In one embodiment, Profile Customization 850 may allow the User to review the User's profile stored by the Deduction Server 112. The profile may be created based on items such as the User's income, income history, demographics, purchase patterns, enrolled services, credit history, accepted/rejected advertisements, etc. The Profile Customization Service 850 may allow the User to review, edit, and block various portions of the created profile. The Profile Customization service may aid in the protection of the User's privacy, as well as better targeting suggestions to the User's needs.

Although the system and method of the present invention has been described in connection with the prefeπed embodiment, it is not intended to be limited to the specific form set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

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Classifications
Classification internationaleG06Q30/00, G06Q40/00
Classification coopérativeG06Q30/06, G06Q40/02
Classification européenneG06Q40/02, G06Q30/06
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