Though the device manufacturer is always surrounded by rumors, this is the very latest making the rounds.

One of the most common questions surrounding both NFC technology and mobile payments alike have to do with when Apple will add its name to the competition and how it will go about doing that.

Nothing sparks the rumors more than the filing of a patent, which the iPhone manufacturer has just done.

This most recent patent application was noticed by Apple Insider and has generated dozens of speculations regarding the plans that the company will have for the technology. The patent, which was filed earlier in 2013 but was only just noticed by the public, is called “Method and System for Managing Credits via a Mobile Device,” which doesn’t leave too much mystery as to what how its technology would be used.

The description could be for the use of NFC technology for a system that it describes for mobile payments.

NFC Technology - AppleThe filing details a system that brings digital currency forward in the form of coupons or tokens that have an assigned monetary value. These could be stored within a mobile payments wallet in the cloud so that it can be used in a number of different possible ways. This includes purchases that are made in brick and mortar shops, at online stores, or to pay for the wireless services for the device.

The description of the system suggests that there would be a way for users to receive these tokens through participation in third party advertisements, which suggests that brands could use the service in order to connect with consumers and then reward them for viewing or interacting with forms of marketing content.

It is not yet entirely clear how Apple intends to use this patented service. It does mention a number of different types of mobile payments methods from NFC technology to peer to peer, and even direct carrier billing. That said, this remains only a patent application, which means that while Apple would hold its rights, it is not in any way obligated to actually use them in a launch that it is planning.