FINANCIAL TRANSACTION SYSTEM
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a financial transaction system, and relates especially to a home banking system.
It is known to provide home banking facilities and insurance services by telephone. Home banking terminals are based either on dedicated equipment, specific to a particular bank, or on personal computers, which are relatively expensive items.
A major practical problem in financial transactions over the telephone network is the risk of theft of valuable customer information as data passes between a financial institution and a customer.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the invention to provide a home banking system, based on easily available equipment and with a low risk of loss of customer data.
According to the invention there is provided a home banking system including visual display means, characterized by a functional unit which includes data processor means and which is connectable to said visual display means and is adapted to perform at least one predetermined function other than a home banking function, and converter means detachably connectable to said functional unit for the purpose of converting said functional unit to operate as a home banking terminal, said converting means including data storage means having a home banking program stored therein, encrypting means, and modem means arranged to connect the functional unit to a public communications network via the encrypting means.
Preferably the functional unit comprises an entertainment console such as the type used to play video games in a home environment. In such a unit, the means to load a home banking program may comprise either a cartridge slot or a compact disc drive or a smart card reader.
The modem means may connect the functional unit either to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) or to a cable television network.
When the console comprises an entertainment console, the display means may comprise a domestic television set.
It is an advantage of the use of an entertainment console that such consoles are widely available and relatively inexpensive.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
Embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 illustrates a first embodiment of a home banking system based on an entertainment console;
FIG. 2 illustrates an alternative embodiment also based on an entertainment console;
FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of a home banking system, showing also a bank terminal;
FIGS. 4a and 4b illustrate two arrangements for, respectively, symmetric and asymmetric encryption;
FIG. 5a illustrates an embodiment based on a smart card reader and FIG. 5b shows the data flow; and
FIG. 6a illustrates an alternative smart card-based arrangement, and FIG. 6b shows the data flow.
In FIG. 1, a home banking user terminal comprises an entertainment console 10 normally used for playing video games in the home. The console has a processor 12 con
5 nected through a display driver 14 to connection means 16 to connect the console 10 to a domestic television set 17. The processor 12 is also connected through a peripheral bus 18 to a peripheral input/output device 20, which may be a joy pad. In known manner a joy pad has a raised surface
10 enabling a user to selectively operate any one of four keys disposed beneath the raised surface. The processor 12 is further connected by an input/output bus 22 to a cartridge slot 26. Such a console is conventional.
In a home banking system according to the invention, an encrypting modem 24 is connected into the cartridge slot 26, and can be regarded as an extension of the address space of the processor 12. The encrypting modem 24 is also provided with connection means 28 to connect the modem to the
2Q PSTN. Alternatively, the modem 24 may be connected to a cable television network.
The encrypting modem 24 is provided with an application cartridge slot 30, and an application cartridge 32 can be loaded into the slot 30; the cartridge 32 may carry a record
25 of all information required for a home banking service. Thus, it will be appreciated that the encrypting modem 24 and the application cartridge together form converting means for converting the console 10 to operate as a home banking terminal.
30 In use, a user purchases an application cartridge 32, for example from the user's bank or authorized supplier, and, for a first use, an appropriate encrypting modem 24 suitable for connection to the architecture of the console. The user loads the cartridge 32 into the slot 30 in the encrypting
35 modem 24, connects the PSTN connection 28 to the encrypting modem 24, and loads the encrypting modem 24 into the slot 26 in the console 10. The user then views the appropriate displays provided on the screen of the television set 17, and enters the required data into the processor 12 through the
40 input/output device 20. Such data will include the user's identification, e.g. PIN (Personal Identification Number), and authorization information, as is required in currently available home banking terminals. The processor 12 then provides instructions so that the requested home banking
45 network is automatically dialed by the modem 24 and the PSTN. A user can for example then request the current status of the user's bank account, which is down-loaded to the console 10. The user may also perform banking transactions, such as paying bills and transferring funds between
50 accounts, the user instructing action by the home banking network via the modem 24. All data passing through the PSTN is encrypted.
It is an advantage of such an arrangement that the home banking service can be provided over the PSTN using a
55 widely-available and reasonably priced item of hardware, i.e., the entertainment console 10, rather than by the provision of a dedicated terminal in the user's home. All the required information can be provided in the application cartridge.
60 In the alternative arrangement of FIG. 2, parts of the equipment identical to those in FIG. 1 are given identical reference numerals. The console 10 is provided with a CD drive 34 into which a CD 36 may be loaded. The encrypting modem 24 is inserted into the cartridge slot 40 which is
65 made available on a CD-based entertainment console for the provision of hardware extensions, back up memory systems etc. The modem 24 may optionally still be provided with a