Visa, Sun, Cisco unveil the big payment machine

Visa USA , Sun Microsystems and Cisco have unveied what they say will be the largest private financial payment network in the world with access to Internet technologies.

          Visa USA , in partnership with Sun Microsystems and Cisco Systems have unveiled a new payment processing system -- Visa DirectExchange.

          Visa claims the system will be the largest private financial payment network in the world with access to Internet technologies.

          The network will facilitate universal commerce or "u-commerce," according to Visa, enabling the company to handle a whole range of payment, not just credit-card processing.

          Using Sun's computers and Cisco's routing technology, DirectExchange will be able to process all Visa credit and debit cards issued in the US, as well as other electronic payments such as payment via mobile phones, PDAs (personal digital assistants) and smart cards, Visa said in a statement issued Wednesday.

          The network will be able to process US$60 million payments per hour, equivalent to more than $1 trillion per year, Visa said. DirectExchange will be able to deal with more than 100 billion transactions per year, more than twice the volume handled currently.

          Together with its 14,000 U.S. member financial institutions, Visa USA has more than 330 million Visa credit, commercial and check cards in circulation, generating more than $720 billion in yearly transactions.

          Visa and its partners have been working on DirectExchange for almost two years. The network builds upon, expands and opens up the company's current proprietary VisaNet system to take account of Internet technologies, Visa said. The new network will use VisaNet's payment processing engine.

          DirectExchange draws heavily on Sun technology including the company's Enterprise servers, its StorEdge arrays, its Solaris Unix operating system and its Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) platform. Inovant, Visa International Inc.'s IT and processing services subsidiary, will manage and operate DirectExchange -- the unit currently runs VisaNet.

          Visa USA does have plans to implement DirectExchange outside the US dependent on both the needs of the consumers and the individual markets, the company said in the statement.

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