Snapchat have registered two payment-related patents this week, which signals that they are getting ready to deal with mobile payments. However, the patents registered offer no clue to what Snapchat will be using the payment system for, as they are incredibly broad.
The mobile payment trademarks, which were found by TechCrunch, are:
"Computer application software for processing electronic payments to and from others that may be downloaded from a global computer network" -Trademark Serial # 86335306
"Electronic transfer of money for others; providing electronic processing of electronic funds transfer, ACH, credit card, debit card, electronic check and electronic, mobile and online payments" - Trademark Serial # 86335307
Read More: Snapchat: mobile app of the day
Note that "Electronic transfer of money for others" is an incredibly all-encompassing term and could mean almost anything, but there has been speculation that Snapchat may be setting up a peer-to-peer payment service similar to Venmo or Paypal, possibly with a small commission fee to generate revenue.
It could also mean that Snapchat will be delving into the 'paid extras' app market, where users can purchase goods advertised in the app, or pay extra for premium services within the app. Because of its huge popularity, it makes sense for Snapchat to start looking into ways to generate revenue from its userbase, though paid-for extras may turn many away from the free app.
The situation is vague at the moment, though, with the registered trademarks simply preventing others from using Snapchat's name for money transfer operations.