web analytics

U.S. Patent 7,587,349

I am thrilled to report that U.S. Patent 7,587,349 was granted on September 8, 2009, and I am named as a co-inventor!

This has been more than 4 years in the making. My first job out of grad school in January 2005 was at Digitas as a Senior Interaction Designer, and one of my first projects was to devise a way to display all of American Express‘ charge and credit cards across a network of bank issuers. What we dubbed the Card Finder or Card Selector was part of the My Life, My Card campaign, and a very high profile project within the organization. The site went live on July 1, 2006.

An excerpt about the project in my portfolio:

The “My Life, My Card” Card Finder is the groundbreaking Flash app that allows users to browse through credit and charge cards across all issuers of American Express-branded cards.

I played an integral role in developing the user flow, information design and usability testing throughout the 15-month span from concept to launch. The user research that I advocated for and helped to plan with an independent researcher confirmed our hypothesis that customers look for cards based on financial features (no annual fee, low APR) and rewards offerings (airline miles, cash back).

The team had the great opportunity to present our work to the highest executives at American Express, including CEO Ken Chenault (to whom I presented our wireframes and Flash prototype). The site is considered so innovative that American Express has pursued a patent on it, and I have been named one of the inventors.

It’s wonderful that American Express has finally been granted the patent, and I am incredibly proud of the work that I did to lead to the development of this innovative system. While it is no longer accessible online, feel free to peruse the gallery of images in my portfolio.

May this be just my first patent in what I hope to be a long career of designing groundbreaking products to improve people’s lives!

U.S. Patent 7,587,349

Inventor: Gottlieb, et al.
Date Issued: September 8, 2009
Application: 11/673,385
Filed: February 9, 2007
Inventors:

  • Gottlieb; Jill E. (Lawrenceville, NJ)
  • Villegas; Rene Jesus (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Bjorkman; Lincoln T. (Westport, CT)
  • Chase; Eunice E. (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Chung; Min S. (New York, NY)
  • Gallagher; Brendan M. (Narberth, PA)
  • Hess; Whitney G. (New York, NY)
  • Kaiser; Nori S. (New York, NY)
  • Kierstead; Nicholas E. (New York, NY)
  • LaFauci; Richard (New York, NY)
  • Laughren; Judith (New York, NY)
  • Perez; Grace Cham (Edgewater, NJ)
  • Young; John A. (West Chester, PA)

Assignee: American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. (New York, NY)

Abstract

A financial transaction instrument selector tool to help customers find a financial transaction instrument that is tailored to that customer’s preferences. Preferences are input to a computer. Financial transaction instruments are selected to match the input preferences. The selected financial transaction instruments are then displayed for viewing. The preferences can be altered continuously. The effect of a change in at least one preference on the financial transaction instruments selected and displayed is updated in real-time. A double random sort technique may be used to determine the display order of financial transaction instruments that are selected.

Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A computer-implemented method for displaying a qualified set of financial transaction instruments, said method being executed by a computer system and comprising:electrically comparing, using the computer system, a customer preference with an attribute of a first set of financial transaction instruments to determine a qualified set of financial transaction instruments; electrically determining, using the computer system, a number of priority display positions by calculating a number of unique financial transaction instrument issuers having financial transaction instruments in the qualified set of financial transaction instruments; electrically randomly selecting and displaying in one of the priority display positions, a qualified financial transaction instrument from each unique financial transaction instrument issuer, wherein the qualified financial transaction instrument is in the qualified set of financial transaction instruments; and electrically randomly selecting and displaying in a secondary display position all financial transaction instruments in the qualified set of financial transaction instruments except those qualified financial transaction instruments displayed in a priority display position.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising: listing an item-by-item comparison of the attributes of multiple financial transaction instruments from the set of qualified transaction instruments displayed, wherein the attributes are selected by a customer; displaying detailed attributes of a customer-selected financial transaction instrument from the set of qualified transaction instruments; and displaying enrollment and verification forms for the customer-selected financial transaction instrument from the set of qualified transaction instruments.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the customer preference is at least one of: a preference to carry a balance; a preference to have an annual fee of zero dollars; a preference to have no preset spending limit; a preference to obtain airline rewards; a preference to obtain cash back rewards; a preference to obtain shopping rewards; a preference to obtain entertainment rewards; a preference to obtain dining rewards; a preference to obtain gas and automotive rewards; a preference to obtain hotel rewards; or a preference to obtain a financial transaction instrument that is affiliated with a third party organization.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the customer preference is at least one of: a preference for an extended warranty; a preference for high-priority dispute resolution; a preference for purchase insurance; a preference for hotel burglary insurance; a preference for rental car insurance coverage; a preference for travel assistance insurance; a preference for trip cancellation insurance; a preference for concierge service; a preference for accidental death and dismemberment insurance; a preference for identity theft insurance; a preference to capture extensive data about purchases at the point of sale; a preference to consolidate expenditures within a single payment program; a preference to retrieve detailed, industry standard information; a preference to assign cards to individuals or departments with variable controls; a preference to enable a user to retrieve purchasing information daily, weekly, or monthly; a preference to enable a user to create reports to manage an organization and control expenses; a preference to set variable spending controls on one or more of purchase amount, number of transactions, and types of suppliers; a preference to change purchasing authorization and spending criteria across an entire business platform; a preference to manage information with one central data repository; or a preference to customize reporting for spending and planning practices.

5. The method of claim 1, further comprising: processing, ranking, and storing selections of customers.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein processing, ranking, and storing selections of customers comprises: ranking attribute preferences by number of times displayed following selection by customer.

7. The method of claim 5, wherein processing, ranking, and storing selections of customers comprises: ranking financial transaction instruments by number of times displayed following random selection and display of qualified financial transaction instruments.

8. The method of claim 5, wherein processing, ranking, and storing selections of customers comprises: ranking financial transaction instruments by number of times displayed following selection from the set of qualified financial transaction instruments for an item-by-item attribute comparison with at least one other financial transaction instrument from the set of qualified financial transaction instruments.

9. The method of claim 5, wherein processing, ranking, and storing selections of customers comprises: ranking financial transaction instruments by number of times displayed following selection for detailed attributes from the set of qualified financial transaction instruments.

10. The method of claim 5, wherein processing, ranking, and storing selections of customers comprises: ranking financial transaction instruments by number of times displayed following selection for enrollment and verification forms from the set of qualified transaction instruments.

11. A system for processing rewards for a customer using a transaction account, comprising: a processor; and a memory in communication with the processor, the memory for storing a plurality of processing instructions for directing the processor to: compare a customer preference with an attribute of a first set of financial transaction instruments to determine a qualified set of financial transaction instruments; determine a number of priority display positions by calculating a number of unique financial transaction instrument issuers having financial transaction instruments in the qualified set of financial transaction instruments; randomly select and display in one of the priority display positions, a qualified financial transaction instrument from each unique financial transaction instrument issuer, wherein the qualified financial transaction instrument is in the qualified set of financial transaction instruments; and randomly select and display in a secondary display position all financial transaction instruments in the qualified set of financial transaction instruments except those qualified financial transaction instruments displayed in a priority display position.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the plurality of processing instructions further comprises instructions for directing the processor to: list an item-by-item comparison of the attributes of multiple financial transaction instruments from the set of qualified transaction instruments displayed, wherein the attributes are selected by a customer; display detailed attributes of a customer-selected financial transaction instrument from the set of qualified transaction instruments; and display enrollment and verification forms for the customer-selected financial transaction instrument from the set of qualified transaction instruments.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the plurality of processing instructions further comprises instructions for directing the processor to: process, rank, and store customer preferences.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein the instructions for directing the processor to process, rank, and store comprise instructions for directing the processor to: process, rank, and store attribute preferences of customers.

15. The system of claim 13, wherein the instructions for directing the processor to process, rank, and store comprise instructions for directing the processor to: process, rank, and store financial transaction instruments, wherein the financial transaction instruments are ranked by number of times displayed following random selection and display of qualified transaction instruments.

16. The system of claim 13, wherein the instructions for directing the processor to process, rank, and store comprise instructions for directing the processor to: process, rank, and store financial transaction instruments, wherein the financial transaction instruments are ranked by number of times displayed following selection from the set of qualified transaction instruments for an item-by-item attribute comparison with at least one other financial transaction instrument from the set of qualified transaction instruments.

17. The system of claim 13, wherein the instructions for directing the processor to process, rank, and store comprise instructions for directing the processor to: process, rank, and store financial transaction instruments, wherein the financial transaction instruments are ranked by number of times displayed following selection for detailed attributes from the set of qualified transaction instruments.

18. The system of claim 13, wherein the instructions for directing the processor to process, rank, and store comprise instructions for directing the processor to: process, rank, and store financial transaction instruments, wherein the financial transaction instruments are ranked by number of times displayed following selection for enrollment and verification forms from the set of qualified transaction instruments.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to marketing and more particularly toward tailoring the offering of a financial transaction instrument to meet a specific customer’s requirements.

2. Background Art

Currently, the marketing of financial transaction instruments via the internet is a hit or miss proposition when it comes to providing a customer with a financial transaction instrument that accurately suits the customer’s needs. Current internet-based financial transaction instrument selector tools ask prospective customers a list of questions in a questionnaire form to determine the customer’s preferences. A decision is made as to which cards to present to the prospective customer based on the customer’s preferences. The results of the decision, that is, selected financial transaction instruments, are then displayed to the customer. If the customer desires to change their preferences, the customer must complete an entirely new questionnaire. This can be time-consuming and frustrating to the customers. Often, the financial transaction instruments displayed do not accurately meet the customer’s preferences because the customer cannot easily adjust the preferences input to the questionnaire.

In addition, when cards meeting the customer’s preferences are displayed, the financial transaction instruments are typically displayed in the order determined by the name of the issuers. Thus, the financial transaction instruments of some issuers are always displayed prior to the display of financial transaction instruments by other issuers. This results in a missed advertising and sales opportunity by the issuers whose cards are not displayed earlier and issuers who only offer a limited number of cards.

Thus, what is needed is a method and system that overcomes the shortcomings listed above.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A dynamic financial transaction instrument selector tool can help customers find a financial transaction instrument that is tailored to that customer’s preferences. Preferences are input to a computer via a web page. Financial transaction instruments are selected to accurately match the preferences. The selected financial transaction instruments are then displayed. The preferences can be altered continuously and the effect of a change in at least one preference on the financial transaction instruments selected and displayed is updated in real-time. A double random sort technique may be used to determine the display order of financial transaction instruments that are selected to accurately meet a specific group of preferences.

Further embodiments, features, and advantages of the present invention, as well as the structure and operation of the various embodiments of the present invention, are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS/FIGURES

See the included illustrations on U.S. Patent 7587349

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and form a part of the specification, illustrate the present invention and, together with the description, further serve to explain the principles of the invention and to enable a person skilled in the pertinent art to make and use the invention.

FIG. 1 is an exemplary window or screen shot generated by a graphical user interface of the tool showing an initial input screen for selecting customer preferences.

FIG. 2 is an exemplary window or screen shot generated by the graphical user interface of the tool showing a display of examples of qualified cards based on selection of a single preference.

FIG. 3 is an exemplary window or screen shot generated by the graphical user interface of the tool showing a definition of a customer preference.

FIG. 4 is an exemplary window or screen shot generated by the graphical user interface of the tool showing a display of examples of qualified cards based on selection of multiple preferences.

FIG. 5 is an exemplary window or screen shot generated by the graphical user interface of the tool showing a display of examples of qualified cards based on de-selection of multiple preferences.

FIG. 6 is an exemplary window or screen shot generated by the graphical user interface of the tool showing a display of a drop-down box to provide a means to further narrow preferences.

FIG. 7 is an exemplary window or screen shot generated by the graphical user interface of the tool showing a display of detailed information about one of the examples of qualified cards.

FIG. 8 is an exemplary window or screen shot generated by the graphical user interface of the tool showing a display of cards that have been identified as saved.

FIG. 9 is a block diagram of an exemplary computer system useful for implementing the present invention.

FIG. 10 is an exemplary flowchart showing double random sorting.

The present invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings. The drawing in which an element first appears is typically indicated by the leftmost digit(s) in the corresponding reference number.

Sources: US Patent and Trademark Office; PatentGenius.

Related Posts:

Stay in Touch

Be the first to get my regular updates on user experience and compassion in business.

  • http://nwcny.com nwc

    Sweet! Whitney is now officially an inventor. Congrats!

  • http://www.elisabethhubert.com/ Lis Hubert

    This is awesome! Congratulations!!

  • http://www.thisisaaronslife.com/ Aaron Irizarry

    Wow… soo cool… congrats…what an awesome feeling it must have been to see all of your efforts pay off in such a cool way.

    ~ Aaron I

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog Whitney Hess

      Thanks so much, Aaron, Lis and Tony. It feels great to finally have the patent granted. It's a long process!

  • AjithM

    Congrats Whitney. Gr8 work !!

  • http://mdaniels.com Matt Daniels

    I actually worked in the group of AmEx that launched this site with DTAS.

    It's sad that “card selector” was pulled from the Internet after a very short stint for bureaucratic reasons. Even sadder is that it never found a home on Americanexpress.com or with another Issuer.

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog Whitney Hess

      Really?! Did we know each other? I was the longest-running DTAS resource on the project (from conception to launch – 18 months) since there was a lot of turnover going on at the time.

      Agreed it's too bad it didn't have a longer lifespan given all the hard work that went into designing and developing it.

      • http://mdaniels.com Matt Daniels

        No–I joined the company in late 2007–but I had heard about the controversy of the card selector and the legal reasons that it had to be pulled. But that's the story of working in any big corporation–the lawyers ruining it for everyone.

  • http://brian.shaler.name/ Brian

    Very cool, congrats! Bummed I missed you when I was in NYC. I'll try to make it back out that way soon!

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog Whitney Hess

      Thanks so much! Hope we get a chance to hang out soon.

  • Pingback: This makes me look wicked smaht. « oonie chase

  • Pingback: My 2nd Indie Anniversary | Whitney Hess, UX Coach