Abstract: An automated transaction system employs microprocessor-bearing user cards each issued to a respective user for maintaining a history of user account transactions and a user account balance, microprocessor-bearing master cards issued to vendors for maintaining a history of master account transactions and a master account balance, and terminals in which a user card and a master card are inserted for performing account transfer transactions wherein value from the account balance of one card is debited and the account balance of the other card is correspondingly credited. A transaction history recorder is used to produce or record the transaction history stored in the card for the user of the vendor. In the preferred embodiment, each master card is assigned to a respective terminal of a vendor and maintains a history of the transactions executed at that terminal between the master card and user cards presented for transactions at the terminal.
Abstract: An automated transaction system employs portable rate cards having embedded memories for storing rate information corresponding to different services, and a terminal which receives an inserted rate card and operates to calculate the value of an item requested at the terminal by a user using the information stored in the rate card, and to dispense the requested item having the calculated value. In the preferred system, the rate cards are used for different postal carriers or different services of one carrier, and the item dispensed is a printed postmark corresponding to the value calculated and the selected carrier or service. The system also employs portable program cards which store programs for generating waybill forms used by different postal carriers or different postal services. The waybill generating program of a program card inserted in the terminal controls the display of the corresponding waybill form on the terminal display and the input of information to be printed on the resulting waybill.
Abstract: An automated transaction system employs a terminal for printing a value indicia, such as a postmark, on an article. The terminal contains a modular printer unit which has a printhead and a dedicated microprocessor physically permanently bonded together such that the printhead microprocessor cannot be physically tampered with without disabling the printhead. The modular printer unit includes a first supply of visible ink and a second supply of invisible ink, and an internal program for printing the value indicia with visible ink and an authentication code, which uniquely corresponds to the value indicia, with invisible ink. The invisible value indicia can be subsequently verified as authentic by machine reading of said invisible authentication code and comparing the authentication code for correspondence to the value indicia.
Abstract: An automated transaction system employs a card maintaining an account balance and a terminal for dispensing an article of value and debiting the card's balance. The card has a secure, resident microprocessor which executes an interactive handshake recognition procedure with a secure, resident microprocessor in the value dispensing section of the terminal prior to actuating a requested transaction. In the preferred form, the handshake procedure operates by an exchange of encrypted words between the card microprocessor and the dispenser microprocessor using corresponding encryption algorithms and a secret key number, and the card microprocessor providing a command signal to the dispenser microprocessor only upon successful completion of the procedure.The automated transaction system is particularly suitable as a postage metering terminal having a postmark printer as the value dispensing section.