“An advantage of such targeted advertising is that only advertisements for goods and services which particular users can afford, are delivered to these users”, the patent explains.

Essentially it sounds like Apple will base these ads on tracking your credit/debit cards and checking your bank balance, so based on your spending habits and how much money you actually have in terms of credit limit and account balance, the system will know what kind of ads might better suit you. The company will soon allow marketers to send messages to customers in Apple Wallet, target by user tastes in the News app and break up songs with commercials in Apple’s subscription music streaming service. The items that the user can now afford, i.e., they have available credit in an amount greater than the purchase price of each item, may be marked with a marker while those the user cannot afford would not be so marked.

Tim Cook is famously outspoken on data privacy, having fired shots at Silicon Valley rival Google only last month about its tendency to monetise on personal information.

Filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) past year, the patent describes a system that targets “advertising of goods and services to users of mobile terminals, based for example on the users’ profile”. The patent would take into account the average income of the region a smartphone is being used in, and then mash that data with the status of a user’s debit and credit cards. And most online advertising follows a similar principle – hashed data tells advertisers that you are only one of thousands of anonymous people who are in a certain age bracket, with certain interests, and a certain history.

That said, the product blueprints don’t necessarily mean that Apple or the participating advertisers would actually have access to the personal financial data it amasses.