Aussie ISP aims to beat online shopping fears

Internet service provider OzEmail has launched OzEpay, an e-commerce payment service, aimed at overcoming users' credit card security fears by circumventing the need to disclose personal information during online purchasing.

          Internet service provider OzEmail has launched OzEpay, an e-commerce payment service, aimed at overcoming users' credit card security fears by circumventing the need to disclose personal information during online purchasing.

          By using OzEpay, OzEmail customers can make purchases online without the need to transmit their personal details. When an existing OzEmail subscriber makes a purchase from an OzEpay-enabled site, the ISP receives a request for that purchase and, as the user's credit card details are already securely stored, the purchase is automatically charged to the credit card, ensuring the process does not expose credit card details on the internet.

          "Users don't trust sticking their personal details on the internet, point-blank," says Ramin Marzbani, chief executive and principal analyst of internet researcher www.consult. "It is the biggest deterrent to online purchasing."

          The solution is a back-end gateway technology offering businesses a "one-size-fits-all" integration process. The service addresses merchants' reluctance to integrate in to their websites complex e-commerce platforms based on a server or VPN (virtual private network), OzEmail chief executive Justin Milne says.

          "This is a meaty technology that sits on the client side, involving a big, industrial-scale database which was spun off our existing customer billing system. Merchants only need to insert Javascript codes to integrate OzEpay into their site," he says.

          OzEmail has invested $1 million in developing the secure shopping platform for e-tailers and credit card merchants, and merchants can implement the solution within a week, officials say. The system is also designed for compatibility with WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) devices or set-top boxes through its modular architecture.

          The company will draw consumer business for the service squarely from its 500,000-subscriber base, Milne says.

          E-tailers Chaos Music and Roses Only have piloted and deployed OzEpay, and the ISP expects to sign on another 10 local merchants to trial and implement the system - none of which the company was willing to name.

          All merchants are subject to stringent service-level agreements to ensure that their operations adhere to privacy legislation and other privacy criteria, executives say.

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