Auckland firm claims online payment answer

The software behind one of New Zealand's largest multi-store e-commerce sites is to be unbundled and sold as a standalone product.

The software behind one of New Zealand’s largest multi-store e-commerce sites is to be unbundled and sold as a standalone product.

Netfusion, in development since early 2000 by Arion Holdings managing director Kerry Gordon, is intended to minimise the dangers of giving out credit-card details online. The software, based on Unicard software from local payment systems specialists GFG Group, is used extensively in Arion’s retail website and is also found at its budget ISP, Value Net, run by former ICONZ boss Hugh McKellar.

Gordon says his company is in talks with credit-card giant Visa and more than one local bank about selling them the software.

At press time Visa Australia and New Zealand spokesman Peter Vicary could not confirm the interest in Arion’s product but says Visa is committed to innovative e-commerce technologies and acknowledged that in March Visa launched a secure e-commerce initiative of its own.

Gordon, also the founder of Bartercard, says his company’s biggest problem is market credibility. “Not everyone is able to believe that little old New Zealand created this product,” he says.

However, Gordon believes Netfusion’s image is enhanced by the widespread endorsement of Unicard — 47 banks worldwide use the system — and the worldwide search for alternatives to credit-card payments.

Netfusion tracks purchases by registered users across numerous participating retailers at Go Shopping, giving customers just one bill. It facilitates the equivalent of a “multi-merchant online shopping cart”, says Gordon.

“Most shopping sites are glorified links to other retail sites. Shoppers have to buy at each store they visit, which is time consuming and a hassle,” Gordon says.

Earlier this month Go Shopping announced its 100th participating retailer— Hill and Stewart. Retailers can join the site for a fee of around $800, but Arion requires “aggressive” discounts on pricing.

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