At a time when it seems like every space that could support an ATM already has one, Apple has filed a patent application for a network which it calls an “Ad-Hoc Cash Dispensing Network” which would compete with ATMs by providing cash to people distant from an ATM.
The July 2011 application only came to light on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website on Wednesday.
The patent envisions Apple acting, in effect, as a deposit taker, something it already does since it allows consumers to keep money in their consumer accounts to purchase music on iTunes and make other purchases.
Using an app that the consumer would download for their iPhone or iPad, consumers would let others know they have a cash need through request providing details of how much they want to borrow and their location, via GPS.
The request is delivered to anyone in the same location who is signed up to the service and if a willing lender is found, a time and place to meet and hand over the cash is arranged.
Following the transfer of cash, the requesting user's account with Apple is charged for the service while the provider's is credited. The application acknowledges the move toward cash-less payments but points out that cash is sometimes still required and might not be available.
The application does not definitely identify any way there might be a fee for the service or how much it might be, though it alludes to the possibility that Apple and the funds provider might split a fee.